It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Planet Wine post, and I thought it was high time! This charming little winery with its vines peeking between the spring-red trees is Keeler Estate Vineyard, located in Amity, a small town in rural Oregon at the heart of that state’s vibrant wine culture. I live in Oregon and have been to Amity many times but somehow have managed to miss this one–an oversight that will have to be corrected soon. Keeler does mostly whites, with Chardonnay and Pinot Gris in their estate catalog, but they also do Pinot Noir which is the specialty of many wineries in Oregon. Also like many wineries in Oregon, Keeler is a biodynamic winery, using smart, sustainable and eco-friendly practices that not only make good ecological and business sense, but also make better wine. Wine is a product extremely dependent upon its environment and the more a winery can be operated in tandem and cooperation with the ecosystems that surround it, the better its wine will be. Vintners in Oregon learned this lesson a long time ago–the rest of the world is just starting to grasp it.
Keeler Estate Vineyard began in 1990 after Craig and Gabrielle Keeler fell in love with the property which was then a ruin of wild blackberry bushes and rickety old structures. This period was an embryonic one for the Oregon wine industry, with various other winemakers–now many of them well-established–setting up shop about the same time. During the 1990s and particularly since the turn of the century the Oregon countrysides have grown lush with grape vines, and many of them have spectacular views as Keeler Estate does. I’ve spent many an afternoon at a winery looking over the beauty of the landscape and enjoying a glass of wine. I look forward to doing that here sometime soon.