The Farmers

Young professionals working in healthcare and living in Portland, Lee and Kathy Miller had an ambition to return to the rural experience of Kathy’s upbringing in Northern California where her father farmed olives and prunes. Inspired by the wines they were drinking, and the stories they were hearing of a burgeoning wine grape growing and winemaking industry in Oregon, they decided to pursue buying land. Lee called David Lett for advice, and was introduced to Joel Meyers, Lett’s vineyard manager, who connected the couple with local realtor, Arno Fidel. After much searching both in vehicle and soul, things fell into place, and they purchased 46 acres of a “century farm” in the Dundee Hills in November 1987.

Lee & Kathy prepping their cuttings.

The land was planted in peach and walnut trees, so the young farmers set about clearing it with the help of Lee’s brother, Lane. Their neighbors, Bernard and Jo Trunk, lent them a trailer to haul away the wood and downed tree prunings. When it came time to trim the bare roots of their first vines, the Trunks offered space in their barn. With the collective support of family and friends, Lee and Kathy saw their first vineyard block planted on April 1, 1990.

From the first vineyard block has grown a family farm. Daughters Hannah and Anneka each found themselves returning to the vineyard and the winery after pursuing other interests. Lee and Kathy continue to farm their vines, while Anneka has taken up the mantel of winemaker and Hannah dances between the cellar and wine sales. What started as the pursuit of two has become the pursuit of four.