FAQs About the Eola-Amity Hills (EAH) Winegrowing Region
What are the most unique features of this terroir?
The features of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA that set it apart from the other Willamette Valley AVAs and deeply influence the grapes, and thus the wines, that come from its slopes are the climate, influenced by the Van Duzer breezes, and the soils laid down by various forces.
The steady, predictable afternoon marine breezes that come into the Willamette Valley from the Pacific Ocean through the Van Duzer Pass, a low point in Oregon's Coast Range, flow directly toward the EAH. Whether a vineyard site is on the exposed western aspect of the hills or on the more protected easterly slopes, the fruit will be cooled quickly from the day's heat. This results in preservation of the grape's natural acidity and produces a brighter, fresher wine.
The soils of the Eola-Amity AVA are generally shallower than those of some other AVAs. In the upper hills, these are predominantly basaltic clay/loams called Jory, Nekia, and Gelderman, among others, while lower elevations contain sedimentary Steiwer, Chehulpum, and Helmick types. It is not unusual for a single vineyard to have multiple soil types, depending on its altitude, and thus create from a single Pinot noir clone interestingly different wine grapes.
The potential for variations in wine grapes to arise from variations in soil, sun, and water is tested in the laboratory of the vineyard each year, and it makes the wines of Eola-Amity Hills vineyards endlessly interesting.