On Saturday, September 12th, Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant at the Southeast Wine Collective goes on an indefinite hiatus.
PORTLAND, Ore. (August 31, 2020) – After dinner service on Saturday, September 12th the SE Wine Collective urban winery will be placing its wine bar and restaurant operations at Oui! on hiatus until further notice. The Eater 38 listed and widely acclaimed Southeast Portland restaurant and wine bar, featuring an extensive wine list and the creative food of Chef Althea Grey Potter, reopened in June under Phase 1 guidelines with reduced seating, an expanded patio and a limited team serving a more concise menu. Now faced with the numerous operational and financial challenges that the fall and winter seasons will bring, a pause in restaurant service is necessitated. Co-owner Thomas Monroe shares that, “the ongoing pandemic has made convivial elbow to elbow seating and sharing in an intimate and boisterous environment not only irresponsible but impossible for our small indoor restaurant and wine bar space beyond the warm and dry summer months and patio season here in the Pacific Northwest.”The adjoined SE Wine Collective winery production space will transition in the coming weeks from the summer months to the winery’s busiest operational time of year – the annual fall grape harvest – with much of the indoor and outdoor space at the winery used in the winemaking process. The management team explored options for continuing service indoors at Oui! as the weather inevitably turns wetter. Alas, based on current space and capacity rules, the dining room at the restaurant is restricted to three socially distanced dining tables (seating up to eight guests total maximum per seating) during the ongoing Phase 1 in Multnomah County – a set up that is simply not financially feasible to operate under as a dine-in restaurant providing the experience and affordable pricing guests have come to know, expect and love.During this fall season, the restaurant and wine bar space will transition into a place for guests to book exclusive “Harvest Experience” tastings. Small connected groups of 2 up to 10 people will be able to reserve the whole space privately for 60-90 minute experiences that feature tastes from a full range of wines made by founding winery Division Winemaking Co. and the SE Wine Collective member wineries, as well as wines from friends around the world. The tastings will be accompanied by artisan cheeses and accouterments, plus a guided look into the harvest activities happening that day in the winery, with options for tours and winemaker discussion depending on how in-depth guests would like to get. Co-Owner Kate Norris sees the private bookings “as a great option that will allow guests a private area to gather or celebrate safely indoors with only those in their quarantine bubbles as we head into fall.” Bookings will be available at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm Wednesday through Saturday starting September 30th, and the experience starts at $36 per person ($30 for Wine Clubs members) with optional add-ons and enhancements.Plans for restaurant service beyond the harvest period are undetermined at this time and will greatly be influenced by the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this hiatus, Chef Potter will be focusing on her subscription-based salad dressings and accoutrements company, Dress Up Salads.The SE Wine Collective will also continue to offer daily retail wine bottle sales wines made in house and from afar, online wine sales, local wine deliveries and their popular Wine Club selections without any foreseeable changes.