Portland's urban wineries seem unstoppable. Just after SE Division Wine Collective expanded its dining room to meet demand, Urban Crush announces that it will open its custom crush facility, tasting room, and lounge in inner Southeast on July 18. Urban Crush takes over the space formerly occupied by the House Spirits Distillery tasting room, which exited the building last fall. Renowned for its Aviation American Gin, House Spirits moved to a 14,000-square-foot facility, also in Southeast.
When Urban Crush opens in the coming weeks, it'll house Angel Vine, D'Anu Wines, Willful Wines, and Cinzia. Pinot noir will be involved, of course, but there will also be less-expected wines like zinfandel and Amarone. But perhaps the most exciting thing at Urban Crush will be its upstairs lounge. Prepare to drink local wine along with charcuterie platters and a bird's-eye view of the winemaking process.
Owners Ed Fus and Laureen O'Brien also own a three-acre vineyard in Amity and the Angel Vine winery, founded in 2007. To overhaul the former House Spirits Distillery for food and drink service, they replaced the old tasting room's dark-brown colors with a warm, sandy beige. You can still visit the bar for tastings, and now you can grab a seat at barrel-themed, cafe-style table, too.
Due to licensing requirements, Urban Crush cannot serve food or full glasses of wine in its tasting room, but you can get them in the lounge area of the winery. Accessible by stairway and with an open format overlooking the winemaking facility, the lounge is capable of seating 12 to 18 guests and accommodating large groups for tastings. Guests will be able to watch winemaking in action from their seats, and the food menu will focus on local charcuterie, cheeses, breads, dried fruits, and chocolates. "Everything on our menu will definitely be made in Oregon," says Fus, "and most of it in Portland." Specific producers have not been named, but Fus aims to work with Portland-based creameries and cured-meat makers.