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Portland Second Most Expensive City to Buy Beer and Wine

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Portland is the second most expensive city to buy wine and beer in, according to an analysis by WalletHub which compared the average prices of wine and beer in the 150 most populated U.S. cities.The area’s high number of local wineries and breweries may have something to do with it, but most of the industry is surprised by the information. 

“It’s surprising,” said Michelle Mulberght, the privilege tax auditor of wine and beer for the Oregon Liquor Commission. “A lot wine in Oregon is not taxed because of the small-winery exemption, and we have one of the lowest beer taxes in the country.” 

According to Numbeo, a global database of prices, Portland's average price for a mid-range bottle of wine is 10 dollars, a 0.5 liter bottle of domestic beer is $2.41 and a 1.33 liter bottle of imported beer is $4.14. Portland's ranking is mostly due to the high prices of wine. 

Camille Gonzales, the owner of wine bar WineUp on Williams found that statistic interesting. However, she did say it is hard to make a large margin off of wine sales, especially local Oregon wines. 

“If you try to focus on Oregon wine, it can be very expensive," Gonzales said. "A good Pinot Noir is 35 dollars a bottle, so by glass it’s easily 18 dollars if you want to make money and pay the bartender.” 

Gonzales explained Oregon wines tend to be more expensive because of the type produced. Oregon mostly produces Pinot Noir wine - an acre of grapes can produce about 2.5 tons of wine. However, other types of wine, like a cabernet, can produce six tons of wine an acre for the same labor costs, Gonzales explained. 

The trend of buying local products has help create a demand for these local, expensive wines Gonzales has noticed.  

To get the most bang for your buck when it comes to buying wine, Gonzales suggested going to wine tastings or classes at local restaurants and bars to learn more about wine and what you like. She said it’s important to do your research when it comes to buying wine so you know what you’re getting. 

“Treat yourself to an expensive bottle, but educate yourself,” Gonzales said. “Enjoy your wine buying experience and be adventurous.” 


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