Friday, May 27, 2011

Enso Winery Grand Opening

"Coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dreams of champions." -Mike Ditka

No other quote has penetrated my existence the same way as this gem has. Not only does it make light of my chemical dependence on caffeine, but few men know what it takes to be a champion more than Coach Ditka. Why the hell am I talking about drinking coffee and Mike Ditka when the title of this article clearly states that I'm going to talk about the grand opening of Enso Winery? I'm getting there.

Those of you who have been keeping up with WestToast know that I've been really excited about the grand opening of Enso Winery this coming weekend. Particularly, my excitement stems from the fact that Enso is the embodiment of WestToast. They source grapes from up and down the entire west coast in order to make delicious, food-friendly wines that are accessible for those both seasoned and new to wine. While that may not be new, what is a first for me is the industry that inspired them to start making wine; coffee. Seriously!

Cheers, Poindexter. The days of wine being an ambiguous experience, wrought with feigned protocol and aloof adjectives are over. A new winery aims to do to wine what many coffee roasters in Portland have already done to coffee: Inform the drinker of the complexities of a good cup or glass, while making it more accessible and natural. Prefer your coffee with just the right boldness, with beans from only that one hillside on that one island with hints of that one spice? There’s probably a wine for that, and odds are, you can explore it locally in Portland at ENSO Winery and Tasting Lounge, opening on Memorial Day weekend.

“Some coffee roasters in town have taken coffee geekery to a whole new level and a lot of folks seem excited about it,” says Ryan Sharp, co-founder of ENSO Winery. “People in Portland really enjoy learning about the process of how something like wine, coffee, or beer is made, so we're helping to make wine and the winemaking process more understandable with our sort of educational bent.”

Co-founder Chris Wishart launched the winery with Sharp in 2010, beginning with a 300 square-foot garage as their barreling space. The aim was simple: Make quality NorthWest wines here in town that are “foodie-friendly” and unique. What has transpired is the new winery and tasting lounge in a retail strip in the Buckman neighborhood, which provides a casual setting to sample the wines at your own pace or engage with the winemakers themselves.

The public is invited to visit the opening of ENSO Winery and Tasting Lounge at 1416 SE Stark Street in Portland, to sample flights of their wines and other local wines, in addition to local beer, cheese, meat, and live music. Additional information can be found at

I told you it'd make sense! If you're around the Portland area for Memorial Day weekend, you owe it to yourself to stop by and check out Enso. Their relaxed atmosphere, great wines, and friendly personalities are a perfect combination for success. Don't believe me? Ask Mike Ditka.

I'll be there on Saturday as well, so come say hi!


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