Amity Vineyard sits 500 feet above the town of Amity where its south-facing slope gets warmth from the sun and cooler air blowing in from the Pacific Ocean 50 miles to the west via the Van Duzer corridor. The warmth brings ripeness while the cool evening temperatures allow the grape to maintain its acidity. The basaltic and marine sediment soils and low yields produce wines with a sense of place and purpose.
What makes Amity so unique are the nearly 50-year-old own-rooted vines. They’ve had decades to work through the thin topsoil to dig deep into the ground and access these ancient nutrient-deprived soils. The combination of the vine's age, the absence of artificial inputs, and dry farming practices mean they are naturally low yielding. When vines have a lower crop load they can devote more resources to the grapes which leads to a better concentration of flavor. In conjunction with the naturally occurring age elements, we farm the vineyards sustainably so we have minimal input into the land which allows the truly unique character of the site to shine through.
Finally, the Van Duzer effect is real. We get warm days that allow the grapes to mature, but as the warm air rises in the afternoon, it draws in the cool air from the Pacific Ocean. This leads to drastic diurnal shifts so cold nighttime temperatures help the grapes to recover from the warm days and retain beautiful natural acidity. The wind also has a mechanical effect on the grapes, meaning that the skin is thicker on Amity Vineyards and other sites in the Eola-Amity Hills and McMinnville sub-AVA’s as compared to other regions as the grape is trying to protect the seed from damaging winds. This thicker skin equates to more color and tannin in the wine and builds upon the history of our vineyard that you taste when you share a bottle.
To continue building upon our modern approach to winemaking, Amity brought in Mandy Caldcleugh, a full-time Vegetable Farmer in 2017 in an effort to cultivate more richness and biodiversity to the vineyard. Mandy’s farming and landscaping efforts sustain the land by bringing in beneficial insects and pollinators, creating a diverse ecosystem that keeps disease pressure down and facilitates a more holistic environment. Additionally, Mandy focuses on growing vegetables, flowers, and plants that go to our families and friends, and will eventually sustain our hospitality program in our tasting room.
A selection of plants you can typically find in the gardens at Amity right now: Butternut and Buttercup squash, Kale, Chard, Potatoes, Celery, Celeriac, Pineapple Sage, and dried Scarlet Runner Beans!