Springhill Cellars Winery
Springhill Cellars winery was founded in 1988 by Mike and Karen McLain and Karen’s father, Merv Anthony. We draw our fruit primarily from the estate vineyard planted from 1978 to 1990 and from the McLain Vineyard, our second 12 acres, planted from 1997-2000, in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
Mike is also the founder of McLain & Associates Vineyard Properties, the oldest brokerage firm specializing exclusively in vineyard and winery property in the Willamette Valley.
We believe that great wines are grown, not made. That philosophy guides winemaking at Springhill Cellars. Our greatest efforts go into producing fruit of the highest quality and concentration and then interfering as little as possible in the process of coaxing it into the bottle. We produce 1,000-1,200 cases of wine each year, weather permitting.
Our Pinot Noir yields are kept low, usually below two tons per acre. The Pinot is neither fined nor filtered; racking and pumping is kept to a minimum. It’s aged a year in a variety of oak barrels to concentrate the fruit and balance it with rich oak tannins. The Gris is made in a rich, fruity style with some oak contact.
We also occasionally make a crisp, light and fruity Pinot Noir Rose’, which we call ” Sagnee’ ”
Springhill Cellars Vineyards
Springhill Cellars estate vineyard and winery are located on the west slope of Springhill, a small hill on the banks of the Willamette River west of Albany, Oregon (Benton County) and about six miles north of Corvallis.
The vineyards and winery look west to the McDonald Forest, which forms the beginning of the Coast Range. The vines grow at an elevation of 420′-300′ in Willakenzie soil, which is a sedimentary soil type that is described as a yellowish, silty-clay loam 3′ deep over siltstone and sandstone. The vineyard is not irrigated.
McLain Vineyard is a 12-acre vineyard parcel on 52 acres on the eastern slopes of Walnut Hill, about five miles east of Amity in the newly-formed Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and just north of Walnut Hill Road. It was planted in stages from 1997-2000.
The elevation is 280-400′ on a slight north eastern slope. The soil types are Nekia and Yamhill, both volcanic soils described, respectively, as a reddish, silty-clay loam 3-5’ over weathered and broken basalt and reddish silty-clay loam with basalt rocks at 3-5′. Both types are over solid volcanic basalt. Its location on the lee side of the Eola-Amity Hills keeps the site very warm.
The vineyard breakdown is 5.4 acres of 115 clone of Pinot Noir, 5.1 acres of Pommard clone and 1.5 acres of Pinot Gris. Spacing is an 8 x 5 single vertical curtain with double catch wire trellis. The vineyard is not irrigated.
The Pinot Noir (Pommard clone) vines were planted in 1990 on their “own roots” (not grafted to phylloxera resistant rootstock). The vine spacing is 9′ x 3′ (it’s a long story) which equals 1,613 vines per acre.
The Pinot crop is routinely dropped to one cluster per shoot, which produces just under 2 tons per acre in an average year.
Our seven-acre vineyard south of the winery was on land we leased in 1989 for 20 years. We couldn’t strike a deal to buy the land, which is zoned for houses, so we pulled the vineyard in 2010. We now have about 2/3 of an acre of own-rooted Pinot noir Pommard clone left on the “home/winery” parcel. We made our first Port from those vines in 2009 and will dedicate future fruit to port production as well.