The way Laureen O’Brien sees it, her new Urban Crush winery (www.urbancrushwine.net) in Southeast Portland’s next hot neighborhood, Hosford-Abernethy, conjures visions of “adults at play”— meaning that while winemakers are busy producing wine on-site, Urban Crush’s tasting room and wine lounge at SE 7th Ave. and Lincoln will be a destination that compels PDX’s wine lovers to revel in tastes of the wine made on the premises.
O’Brien and her husband, Ed Fus, owners of Angel Vine, have been focusing on producing Zinfandel sourced from premier Washington vineyards since 2007. Angel Vine, which also makes Pinot Noir grown on its estate vineyard in the Willamette Valley, will host several notable brands in producing wine in the heart of the city. “We want to make our wine where we live and become a part of the fabric of our community,” explains O’Brien.
Fus, the winemaker, lives with O’Brien in Portland. The couple travels frequently to the Willamette Valley to tend to their 5-acre Pinot vineyard as well as to their source vineyards in Washington, a three-to-five-hour journey.
Now, says Fus, “Travel is shortened, since the Willamette Valley is in the opposite direction of our Zinfandel vineyards. Being a custom crush customer myself, I wanted to create something in Portland that was more focused on the winemakers. That’s what made it compelling to seek a place in PDX where we could become a foundational player and have a fun place to follow our passion.”
Urban Crush, located at 2025 SE 7th Ave., will be home to Angel Vine (www.angelvine.net) as well as D’Anu Wines (www.danuwines.org), Willful Wines (www.willfulwine.com), and Cinzia, all of which will offer Pinot Noir as well as unusual-to-Oregon varieties such as Zinfandel (and its Italian cousin, Primitivo), Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese Viognier, and an Amarone-style wine made using modern appassimento methods. Tours and tastings will be enhanced by meet-and-greets with the winemakers who work there.
Urban Crush is situated in the former home of House Spirits Distillery (one of the founding spirits producers on Distillery Row) in a Southeast district now in the early stages of highly-anticipated growth. This urban industrial area has been a hotbed of adult beverage production—micro-breweries, cideries and distilleries—and is home to many trendy new restaurants. This is also where the City of Portland will open its first new bridge since 1973, bringing an influx of pedestrians, cyclists and mass-transit commuters to this walkable neighborhood. Urban Crush will enter the mix as an integral addition to wine activity in PDX.