Ripe time for urban vintners

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2013
Monday, April 01, 2013

BY KARLA STARR

0413 FOB Dispatches DrinkCity 01
Winemakers Kevin Ross and Bob Switzer of Seven Bridges Winery prepare for a tasting at the shop's North Portland location.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

Portland Wineries

  • Alchemy Wine Productions
  • Boedecker Cellars
  • Bow & Arrow Wines
  • Clay Pigeon Winery
  • Division Winemaking Co.
  • Enso Winery
  • Fausse Piste
  • Grochau Cellars
  • Helioterra Wines
  • Hip Chicks Do Wine
  • Jan-Marc Wine Cellars
  • Seven Bridges Winery
  • Vincent Wine Company

After shelling out for acreage, machinery, landscaping, labor costs, bottling and marketing, budding vintners would be lucky to start a standard winery in the Willamette Valley for anything less than several hundred thousand dollars.

But in Portland, another business model for wineries is sprouting that’s more like founding Facebook than starting a farm. “We have a standard startup story,” says Bob Switzer, co-owner of Seven Bridges Winery in North Portland. “We started in a garage.”

Call it a natural expansion of Oregon’s fertile wine regions and Portland’s rich microbrewery scene. Today Portland boasts at least 13 commercial wineries within city limits, most of which have opened in the past three years. With such low startup costs (a few thousand dollars of credit card debt seems the norm) and little need for physical space (an empty garage or basement will do), it’s almost surprising that the trend took so long to catch on in the foodie, DIY enclave of Portland.

Urban wineries function like any other winemaking venture, save for one factor: Rather than owning acreage and harvesting their own grapes, they rely on buying grapes from outside vineyards.

“It doesn’t mean that we won’t get screwed in a year if we don’t get all the grapes we want,” says Laurie Lewis, co-founder of Hip Chicks Do Wine in Southeast Portland, one of the oldest vintners in Portland. “But with the lower overhead, it’s a little easier to manage than a traditional winery.”

 



 

More Articles

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS