We met Joel Kiff in the autumn of 2008, when he was the coach of our son Devon’s soccer team. We learned that he owned a small vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA (American Viticultural Area) just northwest of McMinnville, and was looking to understand his vineyard’s potential. After evaluating the combination of aspect, clonal selections, and soil type, it was an easy decision to use his Kiff Vineyard fruit for Denison Cellars wines.
Nestled in the foothills of the coast range and situated between 480 and 620 feet on a southwest facing slope, Kiff Vineyard is planted with eight acres of 667, 777, and pommard clones. The vineyard is sheltered from the cooling effect of the Van Duzer corridor by Fox Ridge to the south, and because it is located in the rain shadow of the coast range, the vines ripen slightly earlier and in drier conditions than many Willamette Valley locations. The volcanic soil was created from basaltic intrusions during the Eocene epoch approximately 45 million years ago; the resulting wines are rich in black fruit flavors, with notes of Bing cherry, raspberry, rose petal and chocolate, and display supple tannins with velvety mouth-feel.
Joel is committed to sustainable agriculture and is attentive to every detail in the vineyard. He manages every aspect himself, from pruning the vines in the winter to leaf-pulling, hedging, and thinning clusters in the summer. His keen awareness and focus on balanced vines ensures that fruit quality is optimal. The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is home to some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley, and Kiff Vineyard is no exception. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to make wine with Kiff Vineyard fruit!