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Amaterra’s estate building is two stories, looking out over the vineyard and Portland hills.
Amaterra, the Southwest Portland winery, vineyard, and restaurant.
BD Aerial

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Inside Amaterra, the Sprawling Winery and Restaurant Perched in the West Haven-Sylvan Hills

Amaterra opened on Wednesday with a menu of Pacific seafood, Swedish meatballs, and estate-grown pinot noir

Amaterra — a winery, 12-acre vineyard, restaurant, and tasting room perched in the hills of West Haven-Sylvan — sits on the end of Swede Hill Drive, an area once populated by Scandinavian farmers and immigrants in the late 1800s. It was something Jami Flatt, the chef at Amaterra’s restaurant, wanted to capture on the menu, one facet of the restaurant’s overarching ethos, literally rooted in the Pacific Northwest. So, while the restaurant was under construction, he and his 4-year-old son made meatballs in his home kitchen, using an amalgamation of guidance from chefs and friends he’s worked with over the years.

Now that Amaterra’s opulent, immense headquarters are now open to the public, Flatt makes his Swedish meatballs every night, accompanied by white-wine-leek cream and red currant jam, topped with crispy Oregon sunchokes. “As I’m seeing it evolve over time, I want it to be a signature dish at Amaterra — you could always come to Amaterra and get the Swede Hill meatballs, and they will reflect the season,” he says. “To have a dish that was so good even before we had a kitchen that was open, to know that it has a sense of place, to be able to involve my family, it feels really good.”

Amaterra’s physical space supports and provides the inspiration for every facet of the estate. The grapes growing around the property become the wine served in the tasting room, which the kitchen uses as a jumping-off point for the menu. By the summer, a garden among the vines will provide herbs and produce for the restaurant. Its colossal, multi-story building is encircled by a patio and veranda, where people can drink wine with views of the estate. And its proximity to downtown — 10 to 15 minutes, driving — make it unlike any other urban winery in the area, a true Portland vineyard. “We’re trying to do something here that we haven’t seen done really anywhere,” says CEO Marcus Breuer. “It’s accessible in a way that no other serious vineyard is, but also we have access to awesome culinary talent... You can come there and expect to see friends and people you know, which gives it a sense of community.”

An aerial view of Amaterra at dusk, showcasing its scale, lawn, and rock wall
Amaterra at sunset
BD Aerial
A walkway on Amaterra’s estate serves as a bridge over a small creek Amaterra [Official]
The outdoor fireplace at Amaterra on a rainy day, surrounded by mid-century-looking chairs Amaterra [Official]

Amaterra encompasses a 45,000 square foot space, with a gravity-flow winery producing about 10,000 cases each vintage, a wedding venue, a lawn for events, a restaurant, a bar, and tasting room. It’s also one of the only private wineries in the area; that’s less of a country-club, apply-to-be-considered situation, and more of a one-time, $25 fee made with your first dinner or tasting room reservation.

Robbie Wilson, the owner of the now-closed Botanist, heads up the cocktail program with drinks like Hemingway daiquiris and Grey Goose martinis, but Amaterra is a winery first — a message echoed in the kitchen, as well.

“Our food needs to be an ally to the wine,” Flatt says. Lucky for him, the winery is home to two wine labels — Amaterra, which uses estate and contracted grapes for its Northern Willamette Valley pinot noir and cold-weather chardonnay, and 51Weeks, winemaker Matt Vuylsteke’s personal label featuring larger Italian and French varietals from Oregon and Washington vineyards. Each dish on the menu is paired with a specific wine from the cellar; for example, smoked pork osso bucco with crispy sweet potatoes should work well with Amaterra’s 2017 Swede Hill pinot noir, while the New York steak frites in a green peppercorn-cognac cream sauce is well-suited to 51Weeks’ 2016 Super Cascadian, a blend of Columbia Valley petit verdot and Willamette Valley pinot noir.

“He’s an amazing person and an amazing winemaker,” Flatt says of Vuylsteke. “He makes you realize that wine tasting is very personal; when you talk about how a wine may or may not taste, the words that you choose, the memories you evoke in those flavors, is a reflection of who you are in those experiences. Food is very similar.”

Flatt’s approach to the food is built on his past experiences as a chef, from his teenage days working at an Iowa Pizza Hut to his tenure at Departure, under Gregory Gourdet. “If you know the food at Departure, working with Gregory, his food was elegant. I feel like if you look at our food here at Amaterra, it reflects that sense of elegance,” he says. “Who I am as a cook and a chef today, I owe a lot of that to Gregory Gourdet as a mentor.”

When building the menu, Flatt also sought inspiration from trips to the farmers market, especially when working with produce from Pablo Munoz Farms and Gathering Together Farm. His emphasis on Pacific Northwestern culinary influence is evident: a roasted beet and citrus salad comes with a toasted hazelnut chermoula, Pacific dover sole arrives with a crab-and-spinach gratin and sunchokes, and — of course — there’s a cedar-roasted salmon on the menu, served with creamy farro and blistered fennel.

“We really want to make great tasting food, that really exemplifies the bounty we have in the Pacific Northwest,” he says. “Showcase it in the best ways, and make it approachable.”

Take a look inside the space and menu below. Amaterra is located at 8150 SW Swede Hill Drive; reservations are available via Tock.

A marble desk sits in front of a case of wines at Amaterra
The front desk at Amaterra
Amaterra [Official]
Customers in face masks sit around an oval bar while a bartender pours wine from a back-lit backbar. Amaterra [Officials]
The restaurant dining room at Amaterra, which has a fireplace, cushy booths in the window, and four-tops with fabric-lined chairs. Amaterra [Official]
The wedding venue space at Amaterra, surrounded by wishbone chairs in a room with a vaulted ceiling Amaterra [Official]
Another fireplace at Amaterra, surrounded by mid-century couches and armchairs Amaterra [Official]
A bowl of orange-hued soup is topped with little squares of apple, with seeded crackers on the side.
Roasted winter squash soup with green apple
John Valls
A pile of grapefruit and orange supremes sit in a bowl opposite a flight of Amaterra wines
Citrus and beet salad alongside a wine flight
John Valls
A square of salmon sits on a pile of farro, Brussels sprouts, and fennel, topped with a green mustard seed relish. It’s served with a glass of white wine.
Cedar roasted salmon with blistered fennel and a mustard-seed-and-herb relish
John Valls
A slice of crispy-skinned white fish sits in a pool of a creamy sauce with chunks of sunchokes
Pan-seared dover sole with sunchokes and crab-and-spinach gratin
John Valls
A pile of saucy pork with turnips at Amaterra, served in a bowl with a glass of red wine on the side.
Smoked pork osso bucco with turnips
John Valls
Thick scored trumpet mushrooms sit in a bowl over a pile of potatoes in a pool of red wine jus at Amaterra
Roast chicken with mushrooms and potato puree
John Valls
A chocolate cake with a mousse filling is topped with supremes of grapefruit and orange
A chocolate-citrus dessert at Amaterra
John Valls
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