Each step of Ryan Sharp’s winemaking process embodies the small-batch ethos. Within the Eastside headquarters of ENSO Winery—Wine Press Northwest’s 2013 Oregon Winery to Watch—he mixes several winemaking techniques, yielding complex flavors inside miniature fermentation bins. He mashes grapes in miniature crush equipment and ferments whites and rosés in steel-jacketed tanks no larger than a fully grown mannequin. He sources grapes only from the West Coast, giving himself a framework for his experiments with varietals such as pinot gris, pinot noir, zinfandel, and counoise. As part of his craft-oriented operation, he never makes more than 100 cases at a time of the wines from his ever-evolving roster.
At ENSO's Urban Winery & Tasting Lounge, rustic wooden chairs gather under bare light bulbs and tin lampshades, surrounding a tasting bar crafted from old wooden timbers. Guides stationed at the bar pour tastes of ENSO- and Resonate-label wines, explaining how to decipher each wine's flavor notes. These wines—along with two rotating draft beers and libations crafted by 10 other local urban wineries—complement plates of marbled artisan salamis cured by Olympic Provisions, blocks of raw and aged cheeses from Steve’s Cheese Bar, and sweet and savory pies from Pacific Pie Co.
Wayne Oppenheimer, the man behind WineUpTV.com—a website dedicated to educating others about wine—has made the transition from the web to the world with WineUp on Williams. His wine bar and shop has taken over the building that once housed the famed Cleo-Lillian Social Club, a staple in the black community for decades.
Inside the cozy 30-seat space, visitors sip wines and beers from across the globe, including many that change weekly, while noshing on paninis, cheeses, and other small bites. WineUp even has a chilled cellar with 80 wine lockers where customers can store and age their own wines, instead of simply burying bottles in the backyard.