With its permanent residence in a former garage?complete with a vintage sign detailing overnight auto storage rates of just 35 cents?lived-in couches, and playfully mismatched furniture, it's clear that ENSO Winery is more laid-back than traditional wine bars. In fact, this lack of pretension is a large part of the reason Willamette Weekly named ENSO its 2014 Bar of the Year. The publication also raved about the quality of ENSO's wine, as did Wine Press Northwest, which put the winery on its 2013 Oregon Winery to Watch list.
Owner and winemaker Ryan Sharp takes care to create his vintages on as small a scale as possible, using miniature fermentation bins to yield complex flavors and stainless-steel tanks no larger than a fully grown mannequin. By creating wine this way, Sharp can keep an eye on the quality, as well as experiment more easily. He also only uses grapes sourced from vineyards on the West Coast, including several in Oregon.
In addition to its own wines, ENSO boasts a rotating tap of other Portland-made wines and local beers. Since it was founded in 2010, it has won numerous awards and received many press mentions.