2019 UPDATE –
On April 18 of 2019, we cut the tops off of all 500 of our pinot gris vines and grafted on chardonnay. We used wood collected from our friends David and Jeanne Beck (Crawford-Beck Vineyard) and from Jessica Cortell (Vitis Terra Vineyard Services). There were 150 vines grafted with both the 76 clone and the Mount Eden Clone. 110 vines were grafted with the 96 clone and 60 vines with Mendosa and 30 vines with Sterling. All but one vine grafted successfully. It is our plan to harvest the fruit that comes from this new planting and make a 2019 vintage Calamity Hill Chardonnay. Stay tuned for more information or fill out the form on our Events Page to be on the email list as we will let our list members know first what is happening.
The bad news, of course, is that we will no longer have pinot gris. 2018 was our last vintage, but, it is going out in style. Our 2018 Starlight White Pinot Gris was entered in only one competition….and it won. We were selected as the Oregon Wine Press Cellar Select Pinot Gris (one of 8 chosen from about 300 entries). It, along with the 2016 and 2017 vintages are still available and should be throughout this year and likely 2020 as well.
Calamity Hill Vineyard and Farm is located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Northwestern Oregon.
Our small vineyard and olive planting is at an elevation of 480 to 530 feet. We enjoy a view of the Willamette Valley with the Cascades and Mount Hood in the distance.
Our climate is mild due to our proximity to the Pacific Ocean (only 50 miles away by road). In summer we enjoy a perfect combination of warm days and cool nights which allows our area to grow/produce some of the very finest Pinot Noir wines in the world.
Calamity Hill is among the smallest vineyards producing wine for sale in Oregon. We are so small we don’t talk about acreage planted. Instead, we focus on each grapevine – 1910 in total. Our vineyard was planted in May of 2005, and covers about 1.75 acres of land.
Our original planting of Pinot Gris was 390 vines. In the Fall of 2008, we added an additional 110 vines. All are the 152 clone on 3309 rootstock. Our Pinot Noir, totaling 1410 vines, consists of five combinations of clone and rootstock. Pommard and 777 clones were grafted onto 3309 and 101-14 rootstocks, and the 115 clone is on Riparia Gliore rootstock.
We now have a total of 1410 Pinot Noir and 500 Pinot Gris vines (see above). Pending growing conditions, each vintage, we expect to produce about 45 cases of Pinot Noir, 45 cases of Pinot Gris and about 20 cases of Rosé of Pinot Noir. In spectacular years, we will consider making a reserve wine, if the vintage deserves that additional cost of new oak and a year or two more aging time before release. To date, we have produced a Black Label Reserve Pinot Noir from the 2012 and 2014 crops. Starting with the 2015 vintage we will only make our pinot in the way we have made our 2012 and 2014 Black Label Reserve, i.e. we will make the very best wine possible from our harvest whether that means more or less oak, more or less time in barrel or bottle, we will do it. We are releasing our 2015 Garden Shed Red Pinot Noir over Memorial Day Weekend, 2018 after aging for about 16 months in French Oak and another 14 months in bottle.
Our rows are planted north-south. The property slopes gently to the North-North East. You will find very few vineyards that slope North in the Willamette Valley. The downside is that we have to work harder and let the fruit hang longer to get enough maturity and sugars in cool years. The upside is that our cool site produces better acids which are quite noticeable, especially in our Pinot Gris. The farm is made up entirely of deep Jory soils, ideal for farming pinot noir and pinot gris grapes. Our vines have been dry farmed since they were five years in the ground.
We baby our vines and allow them carry less fruit than they are capable of carrying. But, by dropping much of the fruit, what remains stands a better chance of fully maturing and developing the great flavors we want.