ENSO is an urban winery that hand crafts authentic old-world style wines that express both the moment they were created…as well as the moment they're enjoyed.
Many great ventures begin in garages...ours certainly did! But they seldom stay there forever. In our case, our big “garage” in the Buckman neighborhood is our forever home. Welcome to ENSO winery located at 1416 SE Stark Street. We opened our doors Memorial Day weekend of 2011 and now we’re open seven days a week!
When we began this venture called ENSO, we decided that it made the most sense to keep things small, efficient and manageable. That way, we could create fantastic wines at lower costs and give more attention to each small lot. Even as we grow, we keep our vision in mind. We keep things as small-scale as possible: Human-sized stainless steel tanks, small fermentation bins, and no-bigger-than-we-need crush equipment. This allows us to experiment, to care for each batch separately, and to create complexity in our small space.
We have chosen to source grapes from the finest vineyards up and down the west coast. Three states. All states that we have lived in. And all states that we love. Our grapes come from Washington, California, and Oregon – and we absolutely love each vineyard that we work with.
At ENSO, in addition to our wines, we keep a rotating tap of other Portland-made wines and local beers. There is plenty to taste and try in our Tasting Lounge. We have Aperitivo (aka Happy Hour) from 4-6 pm Monday-Friday where we offer all of our drinks and combo boards at a dollar off. So enjoy.
We have chosen to source grapes from the finest vineyards up and down the west coast. Three states. All states that we have lived in. And all states that we love. Our grapes come from Washington, California and Oregon – and we absolutely love each vineyard that we work with.
This is where we get most of our red grapes from. These 15-year-old vines are just bursting with life! Located on the Columbia River, on the Southern border of Washington state, Alder Ridge has been regarded as one of the finest vineyard sites in the entire state.
Natural wind and air drainage protects the vines from the harsh weather conditions, both in the summer and winter. Reminiscent of the Rhone slopes, the vineyard grows some of our favorite varietals.
We pick Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Counoise, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Grenache from this vineyard. Rich earth producing world-class fruit.
Mourvèdre is our flagship grape. And we get old-vine stuff. The vines are still quite full of life, but they're pumping with wisdom of years passed.
This grape (which is commonly blended with Syrah and Grenache) makes a meaty, gamey wine. Dark fruit and musky spiciness make for an exquisite gastronomic experience when paired with worldly meats and cheeses.
For us though, we like to keep our Mourvèdre generally unblended.
And this vineyard is a perfect site for a varietal like Mourvèdre. At 1200 ft, good slopes and warm summers seem to bring about an almost Bandol-like wine...which is what we were going for!
Our old backyard, we get Pinot Gris, Riesling and sometimes Pinot Noir from the vineyard attached to Arcane Cellars. Situated along the banks of the Willamette River, this macro-climate delivers the perfect amount of sun and warmth to get these varieties to ripen.
No more, no less. Which makes for remarkable wines.
We make a very special wine from fruit from this vineyard. It's called The Prince and it's a co-fermentation of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay. Unlike anything you've ever tried!
While we don't currently source from this vineyard, the fruit is exceptional and you can find their own brand of wine at FOSSIL & FAWN.
ENSO Winery began as a collaborative effort between passionate winemakers and grew into Ryan Sharp's urban winery. Ryan began as a winery grunt at Arcane Cellars on the banks of the Willamette River.
While Ryan fell more in love with winemaking, he also dreamed of leaving the valley to make wine in Portland, where he has resided since 2008.
After assisting John Grochau a few times, he fell in love with the idea of an urban winery. A place in the city, in a neighborhood, a local watering hole, a place to meet friends, and a place to produce world-class wine.
After moving to Portland from San Francisco, he transferred from UC Davis to Chemeketa to get a more focused education...one dealing more specifically with NorthWest climates and grapes. He started home winemaking several years back.
When not stirring up fermenting wine vats or bottling the latest vintages, you'll find him hunting down exotic wines from Bandol.
Here are a few articles, interviews, and mentions…
Elegantly Eva: An Afternoon at ENSO Urban Winery - July 2015
NY Post: Buzziest City - February 2015
NW Travel Mag: Wine Tasting Has Never Been Easier - September 2014
Delta Optimist: Portland, A Boozy Paradise - July 2014
Colleen's Kitchen: RESONATE Rosé Review - May 2014
Colleen's Kitchen: RESONATE Red Review - April 2014
Willamette Week: ENSO named 2014 Bar of the Year – April 2014
Lady LUX: 5 Urban Wineries – October 2013
Willamette Week: A Tour of Portland’s Urban Wineries – October 2013
Yahoo: Urban Wineries Slideshow – October 2013
New York Times: Bringing the Wine to Portland, Ore. – September 2013
Jaunted Write-up – August 2013
Portland Monthly: Portland Sangria Review - June 2013
EYES & EDGE: Portland Sangria! – June 2013
Oregon Business: Ripe Time for Urban Vintners – April 2013
MIX Magazine: Wine Tasting of our Mourvèdre – March 2013
Willamette Week: 2012 Holiday Gift Guide – December 2012
NW Wine Anthem: Zen and the Art of Winemaking – December 2012
The Oregonian: Off the Beaten Path and Into the City – November 2012
PortlandBeer.org – Rise of the Urban Winery – November 2012
Oregon Wine Class: Production as Performance – October 2012
Neighborhood Notes: Wine County PDX – September 2012
NW Wine Anthem: Review of our RESONATE White #4 – September 2012
WinePress NW: ENSO Riesling Gets Top Rating – Summer 2012
Vinography: Review of our 2011 Riesling – August 2012
Oregonian – Diner 2012: Wine Bars – June 2012
OPB – Winemakers Put Down Urban Roots – June 2012
Examiner: One-Year Anniversary – April 2012
American Winery Guide: Review of ENSO – March 2012
Gal Time – Portland’s Urban Wine Trail – February 2012
Portland Tribune – Wine Bars Serve Glamor on the Side – January 2012
Food Republic – Top 10 Urban Wineries in America – January 2012
Willamette Week – Bar Review – December 2011
Portland Monthly – 50 Ways to Spoil Yourself This Season – December 2011
Blush Naked – Review of Mourvédre – November 2011
Foodie Underground – ECO Salon – October 2011
Top 5 Wine Bars to Check Out – MIX Magazine – October 2011
Garage Winemaking – Imbibe Magazine – September 2011
The Next Small Thing – Imbibe Magazine – September 2011
Travel Tips – USA Today – July 2011
Wine in the City – PDXploration – June 2011
PR 3.0 at ENSO – June 2011
Geek Out at ENSO – Oregon Wine Press – June 2011
Mention in Willamette Week – May 2011
Shout out on West Toast – May 2011
Shout out on Elevage – May 2011
Shout out on Thrillist – May 2011
Expressions of the Moment – Northwest Whites – May 2011