Grochau Cellars Celebrates 20th Anniversary With New North Portland Tasting Room
The new Grochau Cellars wine tasting room on North Williams is the next best thing down a lane from Long Tall Sally. Those looking for a wine oasis should mark the spot with a huge “X” on their urban wine maps.
Since its inception in 2002, John Grochau has dazzled palates with beautifully crafted, well-priced wines. Oregon wine lovers these days may know him best for his “Commuter Cuvée” Pinot Noir, which is a $20 Willamette Valley “best buy.”
The bike on the “Commuter Cuvée” label is a helmet tip for Grochau’s decades of racing routes, from France’s Loire Valley to Tuesday nights at Portland International Raceway. For training purposes, unfortunately, Grochau’s new tasting room is only an 8-minute bike ride from his North Portland home.
The Grochau Cellars Tasting Room is a 600 square foot suite in The Alley, an open-air corridor of storefronts located behind The Canyons apartment complex at 3450 N. Williams Ave. Grochau will open the doors to its airy and well-lit Suite 7 space the third week of April.
The tasting room will be open on weekends, with operations possibly extending to five days a week. In addition to being able to purchase bottles of Grochau Cellars wines made with everything from pinot noir to melon de Bourgogne, tasting flights and wines by the glass will be available at the bar.
Although he doesn’t have any food plans at this time, Grochau said he’s happy for guests to bring their own appetizers and small plates. Hamono Sushi opens a few doors down from The Alley, so customers won’t have to walk very far to find treats to pair with Grochau wines.
Grochau is also eager to share its space with smaller wineries that don’t have a tasting room or want to host special “pop-up” events in Portland.
“I’ll have glassware and anything else you need to host tastings or special events. All the winemaker has to do is bring wine and sell bottles,” Grochau said. strongly that it will be a good place to hang out this summer.
Visitors to the Grochau Tasting Room will find The Alley to be like a cross between a Zurich side street and a small Kyoto night market. It already houses a hair salon, a plant store, a “bike-up” bank storefront, art galleries and clothing stores. The space selling erotic books Whit Slorp is particularly intriguing.
Grochau makes wine in Amity, and its tasting room in the hills of Eola-Amity has been around for years. So why add a location in Portland? Grochau said we can thank The Canyons developer Ben Kaiser for the new tasting room.
Early in his career, Grochau made wine in the former home of Sulzer Pumps in northwest Portland. Kaiser was the owner of Grochau. With The Canyons coming online and spaces still available in The Alley, Kaiser reached out to his former tenant to see if he was interested.
“I wasn’t looking to open another tasting room, but the numbers made sense, so I thought, ‘why not?'” Grochau said.
While waiting for the wine festivals at The Alley, head up Eola Springs Road to visit Grochau Cellars’ other tasting room. While you’re at it, be sure to pick up bottles of the “Commuter Cuvée” or Grochau’s side project 2021 Etheric Pinot Noir, another fantastic $20 bottle.
www.grochaucellars.com or 503-835-0208.
— Michael Alberty writes about wine for The Oregonian/OregonLive. He can be reached at [email protected]. To learn more about its coverage, go to oregonlive.com/wine.