Eola-Amity Hills AVA

Bethel Heights Vineyard is located in the
Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Photo by Andrea Johnson.

History: Salem’s Honeywood Winery, just south of the AVA boundary, is the oldest continuously operating winery in the state, bonded in 1933. The AVA’s first planting of Vitis vinifera was in 1971 by Jerry and Anne Preston, who sold Amity Vineyards to Myron Redford in 1974.

Location: About a 35-minute drive south of Portland, the Eola-Amity Hills stretches from Amity in the north to Salem in the south. It encompasses 37,900 acres.

Climate: The region enjoys a temperate climate of warm summers and mild winters, and 40 inches of annual rain, most of which falls outside the growing season. The climate is greatly influenced by its position due east of the Van Duzer Corridor.

Soils: The soils mainly contain volcanic basalt from ancient lava flows as well as marine sedimentary rocks and alluvial deposits at lower elevations.

Topography: Eola Hills, and its northern extension, Amity Hills, developed from intense volcanic activity and the collision of the Pacific and North American plates. The majority of the region’s vineyard sites exist at 250 to 700 feet.


Focus? Our main focus is the collaboration and education to support our members on issues that impact our winegrowing region and wine quality. The marketing and promotion of our area and its wineries is our second objective.

Identity? Our AVA identity is established by talented people passionate about managing their vineyards and creating highly rated, world-class wines. One of the main differences of our AVA is that it’s one of the largest in Oregon and a large number of vineyards. Of the AVA’s 38,000 acres, more than 1,500 acres are planted in the Eola-Amity Hills in more than 100 vineyards.

Varieties? The Eola-Amity Hills AVA has an ideal climate and is well known for Pinot Noir. We also have significant plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling with a small amount of Grüner Veltliner, which is rapidly gaining popularity.

Collaboration? One example is the story of Brooks Winery and the people who pitched in to make the wine after the loss of Jimi Brooks at harvest time. This is typical of the way this AVA — and the Oregon wine industry as a whole — works together.

Challenges? A challenge for our AVA is getting the public to drive a little farther than the typical wine tasting stops and experience the charm and great wines of our picturesque grapegrowing region.

Marketing? The word is not only spreading organically through our growing number of fans, but we have a strong website presence, as well. We host fun, quality events throughout the year and keep up with current trends like social networking, Facebook and Twitter. We spend much time reaching out to wine shops and restaurants handing out maps and have been fortunate to be recognized numerous times by the press and wine critics.


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