Amity Vineyards, one of the first pioneering Oregon wineries, was founded in 1974 by winemaker Myron Redford, who moved to Oregon with a dream to make world class Pinot Noir. He became known for his attention to detail and experimentation in the winemaking process, and as a result he was the first to produce organically grown sulfite-free wines. The first vineyards were planted in 1971, with a total of 15 acres planted of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Pinot Blanc.
Inspired by the rich heritage and unique growing conditions that are a part of these hills, Ryan Harms from Union Wine Company& his brother, Eric Harms, purchased the winery in 2014 with the goal to bring new energy to this founding winery. Ryan, a modern wine innovator, became interested in reinvigorating the uniqueness of Amity's past for a modern context and bringing this integral Oregon winery and its beauty to more people.
Ryan and Eric share a penchant for Eola-Amity Hills wines. The area has a remarkable sense of place that showcases the fruit's beauty and transparency. Embracing the unique soils and influence from the Pacific Ocean that are found on site, they work together to bring a purposeful approach to our winemaking style that enhances the individual properties and defines the next journey of Amity’s wines.
One of Pinot Noir's most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a continental climate moderated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture and the production of elegant wines.
Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation vineyard sites.
The valley's three prominent soil types (volcanic, sedimentary and silty, loess) make it unique and create significant differences in wine styles among its vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based, Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. In the most southern stretch of the Willamette, the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA soils are mixed, shallow and well-drained. The Hills' close proximity to the Van Duzer Corridor (which became its own appellation as of 2019) also creates grapes with great concentration and firm acidity, leading to wines that perfectly express both power and grace.
Though Pinot noir enjoys the limelight here, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay also thrive in the Willamette. Increasing curiosity has risen recently in the potential of others like Grüner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc and Gamay.
Approachable, aromatic and pleasantly plush on the palate, Pinot Blanc is a white grape variety most associated with the Alsace region of France. Although its heritage is Burgundian, today it is rarely found there and instead thrives throughout central Europe, namely Germany and Austria, where it is known as Weissburgunder and Alto Adige where it is called Pinot Bianco. Interestingly, Pinot Blanc was born out of a mutation of the pink-skinned Pinot Gris. Somm Secret—Chardonnay fans looking to try something new would benefit from giving Pinot Blanc a try.