Passion. Humility. Hard Work. Partnerships.
José Arguelles and his family exemplify what is special about Amity
Sometimes an unexpected turn results in a fulfilling life journey. Such was the case for José Arguelles Juan who found himself in Yamhill County in 1998 after departing his home in Mexico. Jose had left behind his wife and children and labored to find a way to survive in a new country. He found his path in his first jobs with the established Janzen Farms in the Willamette Valley. Here, he learned and progressed and in time, he was able to reunite with his family in America.
Always a hard worker and dedicated family man, Jose and his wife, Petra Perez, and three of their children made a home and a life in Amity in 2001. Now a robust family of six children, the family is thriving and taking advantage of opportunity only provided in the United States. Their work ethic and strong sense of responsibility is evident in son, José Arguelles, owner of Arguelles Vineyard Services, a legacy and fine tribute to his father’s dedication.
The younger José attended Amity High School and found support and encouragement from his teachers. It was not an easy adolescence. He worked in the fields alongside his siblings at the Janzen produce farm, and while other students were attending football games and dances, Jose was working, but also learning. At first learning how to grow crops such as broccoli, squash and strawberries, in 2002, he became one of the first employees of the Northwest Vineyard Services company. In the next 13 years, he became immersed in wine grapes and all that was needed to cultivate the best vines. With more than a decade in vineyard experience, he opened his own business, with the support of his father and siblings, in 2015.
José’s journey, however, was not so linear. Along the way, he found support from many in the area, including Myron Redford, one of the first great winemakers in Amity and former owner of Amity Vineyards. Myron and his wife, Vikki, cultivated the young man’s desire to learn and moved him through various jobs – first in their orchards and then in the vineyards, giving him a well-rounded education for a future in the wine industry. Myron and Vikki also helped Jose fulfill a goal he had of attending and graduating from Chemeketa Community College’s viticulture program – an opportunity he advanced in the evenings after hard days in the vineyards.
José’s joy and appreciation of the state and region is evident, “I love Oregon. I don’t have a desire to travel and live anywhere else. I love the county because there is so much opportunity for the growing Latino community. I want to be part of that. I am just out of college; I see the wine industry booming and not slowing down; and see so many beautiful families around here. This is a caring area where your bosses will not just help you do your job, they want to know you and be patient with you. I love the climate; the wines we produce; the produce that is organic and wonderful.”
It was Myron who introduced José to the winemaker at Amity’s Keeler Estates Vineyard. José formed a relationship with others at Keeler Estates that continues today as José learns how to move the grapes from the vineyard to the bottle. As he works at Keeler Estates in learning the winemaking side of the business, at the same he manages Arguelles Vineyard Services. One of the properties they manage is the Bois Joli Vineyard, owned by Rob Kistler and Barb Bond (who also own Amity Flats), and José enjoys his relationship with Rob and Barb. José is indeed a lifelong learner and a high energy, caring member of the Amity community. The love he has for the industry is palpable and in his own words, the reward of working with wine comes alive:
“Vineyard work is hard and tiring, and at times I feel frustrated and think of changing my profession. But then comes harvest. I see the color change in the grapes, and that’s the point when I fall back in love with the vineyard. I see all the hard work that went into those grapes. The result is something beautiful. Once I get to the winery all the detailing we did in the field matters tremendously to the grape itself as it becomes wine.”
Jose Arguelles Arguelles Vineyard Services