Tucked far away from the sights
and sounds of the city, Cherry Hill Winery and Vineyards dominate
150 acres of Oregon's Willamette Valley within the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, arguably one of the best pinot noir-growing sub region
of the Willamette Valley.
A short stretch of meandering
gravel road and bucolic vistas provoke a sense of adventure as you
make the last turn of your final approach to Cherry Hill's historic
location. Something closer to awe sets in as you drive into a
land form that seems to tip toward you - like a tilted, shallow
Eighty thousand pinot noir
vines grow in neat rows over the 90 acres of this stunningly sloped
land; the Cherry Hill vineyards all but surround the estate's
lowland area where seven-acre Lake Janet and a small, abandoned
cherry orchard harkens back to a bygone era, the source of the winery's
Cherry Hill's winery and tasting
room are housed in a 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art winery
building that comes into view on the far ridge of the estate
vineyards. Thousands of cases of pinot noir, dry pinot noir
blanc de pinot noir
are produced here each year... all from Cherry Hill's estate vineyards.
In the Beginning...
One of Napa
Valley's early visionaries - William Hill - known for his "nose for slopes"
came to the Eola Hills of Oregon in the early 1990s where he found
all the right ingredients for world-class pinot noir: the
right cool climate, southwestern-facing slopes, elevations between 250-400
feet, and rich, well-drained Jory soils. His special facility
to find hillside sites made him famous with the development of Atlas
Peak, Diamond Mountain Ranch, Mount Veeder and other distinctive
appellations in the Napa region. That same "nose for slopes"
led him to the undeveloped rural district of the Eola Hills.
Hill acquired a large tract of
land in the Eola Hills in the early 1990s and divided it into three
separate parcels. Cherry Hill Vineyards owners Jan and Mike
Sweeney purchased one of the parcels in 1998 - seeing not what was,
but what could be - and
planted 80,000 pinot noir vines to an estate of 90 acres.
Their vision of what could be
is today a reality, providing an unparalleled viticultural experience
for wine country travelers and wine enthusiasts with a passion for
Visiting Cherry Hill
Just an hour’s drive from
Portland in the north, or a short (15-minute) westward drive from
the state capitol of Salem, Cherry Hill Winery lies in the
Eola-Amity Hills AVA in the middle of Oregon's Willamette Valley
appellation. The lay of the land and the gravel road access
bring a sense of isolation to this extraordinary location. Be
sure to build in some extra time for your visit so you can stroll
through the vineyard or relax on the deck with a picnic while enjoying a glass of Cherry Hill
wine. It's a great way to spend an afternoon.
Winemaker Ken Cook manages
Cherry Hill's winemaking program, crafting his premium wines
from grapes grown in Cherry Hill's estate vineyards.
The estate vineyard's cool
climate and rich soil combine to create pinot noir fruit of deep
color, complex aromas and distinctively concentrated flavors.
A variety of soils, facings and elevations allow Ken to
‘paint’ with a varied palette to produce Cherry Hill's premium
Ken holds a degree in both
winemaking and vineyard management and joined the team at Cherry
Hill Winery in 2005, bringing with him his knowledge of cutting-edge
techniques and practices. Ken's goal at Cherry Hill is to
sustainably grow ripe and balanced fruit to produce pinot noir that
reflects the terroir of the Cherry Hill vineyard, using a
production style based on minimal intervention.
Hill Winery lies directly on top of the 45th parallel - halfway
between the equator and the North Pole, the same pinot-friendly
latitude as Burgundy. Its 90-acre vineyard is planted to
Pommard and Dijon clones of pinot noir, and all pruning, thinning
and leaf pulling is done by hand, as is the grape harvest
vines are planted on the south- and southwest-facing slopes of the
property at elevations between 250 and 450 feet, guaranteeing
maximum "degree days" for fruit ripening in this AVA. The
vines are set on
phylloxera-resistant rootstock and were planted with 6’ x 8’
spacing, using a vertical trellising system. Irrigation comes
from Cherry Hill's seven-acre, spring-fed trout reservoir, Lake
Janet. Grapes are cropped to
two tons per acre and harvested at 23 brix.