Reasons You Must Visit the Oregon Wine Country

August 5th, 2014 by Rachel

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The Yamhill Valley is in the heart of the Oregon Wine Country. It’s filled with a rich history, compassion and great wine, of course. It is a huge part of our area’s economic, agricultural and social landscape.

 

 

 

  • Oregon Pinot Noir is famous, and rightfully so! In the 1960s and 70s, a group of wine entrepreneurs settled in the Yamhill Valley with pinot grapes on their minds. Two of those winemakers championed setting aside a significant part of the area for vineyards. This partnership with the state of Oregon has led to over four decades of agricultural and economic success in the area, not to mention amazing Pinot Noir!
  • In Oregon, wine means more than just the bottom line, there is a lot of care and dedication taken into providing the best product the right way.

Aug Blog 1- Pic 2In 1991, 18 wine producers started ¡Salud!, a charity committed to providing comprehensive health care for migrant workers at the vineyards. It was the first organization of its kind in the entire country.

  • When you visit the Oregon Wine Country, you’ll see how much pride is involved in what we do here. It is such a big part of our community that there are now multiple exhibits and archives keeping our rich history alive.
  • Aug Blog 1- Pic 3In 2011, Linfield College started the Oregon Wine History Archive, preserving the stories of our pivotal industry.
    • This year, the Oregon Historical Society established a temporary exhibit full of interactive displays and a tasting room. Clink! will be available through September 20.

 

For more information on the history of the Oregon Wine Country, we recommend this article from the Oregonian.

 

 

 

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Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn

July 29th, 2014 by Rachel

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Founded in 1989, Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn has become a staple of the Yamhill Valley and McMinnville Winegrowers Association. We focus on premium Oregon Pinot Noirs and excellent service for all our guests.

 

The Vineyard

The vineyards at Youngberg Hill lie in the coastal foothills of Yamhill Valley, just 25 miles away from the coast. The unique location has given us rich and diverse soil to grow amazing Pinot grapes for the past 25 years. Our first two Pinot Noir blocks in the vineyard were planted in 1989, followed by our one block of Pinot Gris in 2006 and our third Pinot Noir crop in 2008.

We are on a mission to practice organic and sustainable farming at Youngberg Hill. In 2010 we were certified “Sustainable” by the Oregon Wine Board, after gaining certifications from other third party organizations. In an effort to leave the earth healthier than how we found it, we only employ soft pesticides, such as biodegradable soaps and oils, on our vines. The caution and care shown to the plants is evident in the quality of Youngberg Hill wines.

Youngberg Hill, McMinnville, Willamette Valley, OregonThe Inn

With views from the deck overlooking the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood, and of course the vineyards, the Youngberg Hill Inn offers a chance for a breathtaking getaway. Whether you stay in one of the five king suites or three queen guestrooms, you’re guaranteed to feel comfortable and pampered. In the mornings you can treat yourself to a gourmet breakfast or relax in the first floor library or salon. In the evening there are complimentary wine tastings where you can enjoy a famous Oregon Pinot Noir out on our deck.

Whether you come for a tasting or an overnight stay, Youngberg Hill’s goal is to provide high-quality service for a relaxing and satisfying visit.

Have you stayed with us before? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

Book your stay today!

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McMinnville History and Geography

July 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

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Settled along the Yamhill River in the Willamette Valley, McMinnville is surrounded by vineyards and walnuts. It’s geography, a mere 35 miles southwest of Portland, McMinnville has a rich and quirky history of its own.

McMinnville’s founder, William T. Newby, settled in Oregon with the first wagon train in 1843, naming the town after his hometown in Tennessee.

Incorporated in 1876, McMinnville was already the county seat for Yamhill County.

Scholarly Pursuits

Linfield College was first founded in 1858 as the Baptist College at McMinnville. After a generous gift from Frances Ross Linfield in 1922, the school was renamed. The campus is continuously expanding for the over 2,500 students seeking a small, private, and liberal arts education.

Celebrations

McMinnville is also a city that loves to celebrate. There are two major festivals rooted in local history and full of character. This year marks the 54th Annual Turkey Rama, celebrating the once lofty turkey industry in Yamhill County. The first incarnation of the festival was in 1938 as the “Pacific Coast Turkey Exhibit.” Today there are still activities, prizes and a giant turkey barbeque.

The city has also hosted its very own UFO Festival for 15 years, in honor of the alleged UFO sighting in 1950 in nearby Sheridan. The picture of the flying saucer skyrocketed in popularity after being published in McMinnville’s newspaper. The festival is the largest gathering of UFO-enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest and is second in the country only to Roswell, New Mexico’s.

July History Blog- Pic 2Wine, of course!

Because of its location in the lush Yamhill Valley, McMinnville is a major destination for Oregon vineyards. The area’s hills allow for a great diversity in wine, even among the famous Oregon Pinot grapes. In 2005, Youngberg Hill and seven other local wineries became members of the McMinnville Winegrower’s Association, a division of the larger Willamette Valley AVA.

Embrace McMinnville’s rich history and geography with these tours and maps:

http://www.youngberghill.com/our-area/wine-driving-tour/

http://www.youngberghill.com/our-area/attractions-map/

http://www.youngberghill.com/our-area/bicycle-tour-map/

 

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The Basic Steps of Winemaking

July 15th, 2014 by Rachel

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The basic steps of winemaking are a mix of chemistry and alchemy.  The process turns grapes into something which has sparked the imagination of many for generations.

 

As poet Robert Louis Stevenson said “Wine is bottled poetry.”

 

While winemaking is both an art and a skill, there are specific steps one must take in order to make something they can call wine.  Here are the very basic steps of winemaking:

1. Harvest perfectly ripe grapes.  Remember, you need about 600-800 grapes to get one bottle of wine.

2.  The grapes, once picked, must be inspected for quality.  You don’t want any rotten grapes or raisins sneaking in to your wine.  Additionally, the grapes must be destemmed.

3.  The wine grapes are crushed and either fermented in their own skins (if it’s a red wine you’re going for) or the skins are removed (for white wine).

4. Fermentation requires that yeasts grow and begin to eat the sugar contained in the grapes and make alcohol.  Many wineries help this process along by adding yeast cultures.

5. Any sediment is removed and the wine matures in barrels of whichever type the winemaker chooses. Some wines have very little sediment removed while others are as filtered out as possible.

6. The wine is bottled, corked, and labeled for your purchase!

This is a very, very stripped down version of winemaking.  Some of the biggest factors in winemaking are time, tasting, and testing.  All of these help a winemaker decide when to bottle, how much to filter, and more.

Here’s to the magic of winemaking!

 

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Making the Choice: Wedding or Elopement

July 8th, 2014 by Rachel

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Many couples are making the choice: wedding or elopement?  There is nothing wrong with either decision.

An elopement can mean a quick, less costly confirmation of your love.  A wedding may mean additional expense, but it is also a huge celebration.

 

Before deciding on either option, ask your significant other the following questions – and have him or her ask you the same questions:

Will there be hurt feelings all around if you don’t have a wedding?

While your wedding or elopement is ultimately a confirmation of your love for one another, family and friends may feel hurt if you don’t include them.  You have options – so is an exclusive elopement the right one?

Why do you want to run off together?

Weddings can be stressful.  They require a lot of planning – but there is a big payoff at the end.  Do you and your significant other want to elope because a wedding is daunting – and it’s hard to keep your eye on the prize?  Or do you enjoy spontaneity and don’t want to deal with the stress of wedding planning?

There is no “right reason” for having an elopement in the place of a wedding.  However, if you or your partner really want a wedding in the end – that desire needs to be respected.

Would it work to mix things up?

A “strict” elopement of just you and your significant other running away to marry with no celebration may make one or both of you unhappy.  Instead, try eloping and having a reception afterwards or do a destination wedding that feels like an elopement because there are so few people there.

Remember that this decision is much like choosing the right wine for your palate – it’s whatever works best for you and your partner. Wishing you both all the best!

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Yamhill Valley End of Summer Events

July 5th, 2014 by Rachel

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There is so much to do, see, taste, and enjoy in the summer months in Yamhill Valley’s rolling hills. Aside from the breathtaking sunsets and picturesque, rural scenery, the valley’s appealing town and country charm marries forward-thinking green philosophy, culture, art, local produce, first rate restaurants and wineries, music and more, to create an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

There are so many terrific events in Yamhill Valley, making it difficult to catalogue them all, so we have compiled a list of some the area favorites to add to your itinerary:

21st Annual Brown Bag Concert Series

Starting June 26-August 14, 2014 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

At Lunchtime, come to the US Bank Plaza, on the corner of 3rd and Davis streets.

You will hear zydeco, rock and blues, and more in the 21st Annual Brown Bag Concert series — from Mike Strickland, Sky Bound Blue, Golden Bough and more.

For more information, visitdowntownmcminnville.com/events or call 503-472-3605.

Donations to the McMinnville Downtown Association’s event will be welcomed.

 

HOPE for Children Golf Tournament

July 21, 2014  Time:12:30 PM – 12:30 PM

Help us raise funds for charity health care for children in our community by playing in or sponsoring Providence Newberg Health Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament, hosted by Integra Telecom!

A total of 288 golfers from around the country will enjoy a nourishing lunch, vie for prizes in various contests and unwind over a fantastic dinner. Plus, golfers will get to meet some very special children whose lives are transformed by support they receive from the HOPE for Children Fund.

 

Brews & BBQ Event in Newberg

July 25, 2014 – July 26, 2014

Brews & BBQ returns to Newberg! In conjunction with the Old Fashioned Festival, Brews and BBQ will be held July 25th and 26th on the corner of Howard and 1st Street.

For more information, visit the Chehalem Valley Chamber’s event page here…

 

The 28th Annual International Pinot Noir Competition

July 25 – 27, 2014.

In McMinnville, nestled in the oak grove on the lawn of Linfield’s beautifully appointed historic campus,  relax and  sip world renowned Pinot Noir and enjoy the very best in northwest cuisine while  learning  from the luminaries of  the food and wine world in a three day event that wine legend Jancis Robinson has described as “one of the most enjoyable wine weekends in the world .”

Register Online or by phone at 800-775-4762.

 

Walnut City Music Festival

August 16, 2014

Come to McMinnville’s Granary District  from noon to midnight and enjoy the musical stylings of bands like Radiation City, Keaton Collective, McDougall, The Weather Machine, The Jackalope Saints, The Hill Dogs, Sky Bound Blue, River Twain, Ships to Roam, Family Night, and Run and Tell That.

$10 In Advance.   $15 At the Door.

 

The Carlton Crush Harvest Festival

September 13, 2014

The festival features an array of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including:

The Grape Stomp Competition, Barrel Rolling Race, Wine Thief Relay Race, Kids’ Watermelon Eating Contest and Kids’ Grape Stomp, many Artists’ Market Merchants, live music and entertainment, traditional Midway games for children, Mark the Magician, helicopter rides, and superb Festival food from many local restaurants.

Free Admission. Free Parking available throughout the city.

The Crush Corral showcases fine local wines and craft beers. CBA Member businesses will be offering event specials for the day long event, especially Downtown Carlton’s many fine dining establishments.

Visit www.carltoncrush.com for more information.


When planning which end of summer events to attend in Yamhill Valley, OR, be sure to book a stay at Youngberg Hill Vineyard & Inn.  Atop the rolling hills just outside McMinnville, OR, Youngberg Hill Vineyard & Inn features four suites and four luxuriously appointed guest rooms. All rooms have private in-suite baths, comfortable chairs to relax in and enjoy the views. The spacious house is centrally heated and air-conditioned. For your enjoyment, on the first floor you will find a library, lounging salon and large dining room. The entire house is encircled by covered decks overlooking our vineyard and the valley to the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley, making it the perfect destination for your Oregon Wine Country getaway!

View Guest Rooms and Book Your Stay Here

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How Does Grafting Wine Grapes Work?

July 1st, 2014 by Rachel

July Blog 1 - Pic 1Many wine grapes in the US are grafted on – meaning the root of the grape plant isn’t the exact same strain as the top of the plant.  This is often a way of strengthening delicate grape types by giving it a hardier or more pest resistant root system.

Grafting wine grapes can also be used by winemakers to replace existing grapes with a new type.  So, if a winery wanted to grow Chardonnay where they were growing Pinot Noir, they would only have to graft Chardonnay grapes onto the existing roots.  This means a winery can begin producing the new grapes much more swiftly than if they had dug up their previous grapes and planted a whole new grape plant.

Why do Many Wineries Graft?

The majority of wine grapes you hear about are grafted onto rootstock due to an American pest. Back before we had officials to check whether certain plants carried disease or bugs that the ecosystem of other countries can’t handle, American vines were important to England and Europe.

Unfortunately, these vines came with a little pest that attack grapes.  The wine grapes in these areas had no natural resistance to the pest – so wine production was almost halted in Europe for a time. After the pest was discovered, winemakers developed a work-around.  They grafted their grapes to American rootstock, which has a resistance to the pests.

The practice of grafting in order to improve a grape varieties’ chance of survival continues to this day.

How to Graft

The process of grafting is pretty simple, but requires a lot of skill and expertise. Basically:

1. The root onto which the plant will be grafted is planted and allowed to establish itself.

2. Any trunks growing from the root are cut down to the ground at a spot which is approximately the same size as the trunk of the plant to be grafted.

3. A cut is made both in the trunk and the plant which is to be grafted on.  The plant and trunk are notched together.

4. They are then tied together with a material to keep the graft in place.

5. Soil is used as an additional support and as a moist surface which will help the plant heal more swiftly.

In the end, you have the varietal you want to grow attached to a root which will give it the protection and nutrients it needs to produce fantastic wine.  We can all raise a glass to that!

 

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Eight Reasons to Visit Yamhill Valley

June 24th, 2014 by Rachel

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Yamhill Valley is a fantastic place to visit.  Not only are you right in the middle of Oregon’s famous wine country, but also several of the 7 Wonders of Oregon are just down the road from here.  In fact, our Inn can be made a base of operations and your perfect getaway during your visit to the Willamette valley.

 

Here are eight great reasons to visit Yamhill Valley:

Location, location, location

The Inn is located right in the midst of Yamhill Valley in the heart of Oregon wine country – which is like Tuscany transplanted to the US.  We are not only a winery in our own right, but are surrounded by local wineries.  Additionally, our location feels secluded, but it is just a ten minute drive to the city of McMinnville – just in case you forgot any essentials when you were packing.

Wine (of course!)

Being in wine country means you have access to over 300 local wineries.  We offer many packages which include going out and exploring wineries throughout our fantastic valley.  Additionally, you can go out and explore on your own – and there are local car services that will get you back to the Inn safe and sound.

Local artisans

Our area is filled with artists.  Some chose the art of winemaking or of preparing amazing food.  Others use their skills to create wonderful paintings, ingenious crafts, incredible music, and more.  McMinnville celebrates local artists in their stores, at Farmer’s Market and during the Art and Wine Walk on the third Saturday of each month.

Craft beer

Oregon is known for many things, an organic lifestyle, amazing wine, foodies, and great beer.  Many local restaurants serve craft beers produced in locations all around Oregon.  There are local breweries which serve their handcrafted beers.  If you like beer as well as wine, we’ve got you covered.

Food, glorious food

Our area is a foodie’s dream.  With restaurants like Bistro Maison, the Joel Palmer House, and Nick’s Italian Cafe, there is no way you will go hungry.  Not only are there plenty of delicious places to eat, they stick with the Oregon philosophy of working with local ingredients.  This means what they serve is amazing and fresh.

Hiking and biking

Our recent article on hiking and biking in the Willamette Valley gives plenty of information on this topic.  There are native wetlands, rivers, and more to see on your hikes.  We also offer a bike tour package which give you an opportunity to cycle through wine country and take in the scenery.

Serenity

The views from the top of our hill are enough to allow anyone some time to reflect.  Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn are away from the hustle and bustle of the main city and we boast some of the best views in the valley.  The view of sloping hills, vines rustling in the breeze, and the mountain range in the horizon promote calm.  It gives everyone (including us) the long view of life.

Easy access to much of Oregon

Serenity may not be what you want all the time.  That’s fine.  There are plenty of great locations that are only an hour or two away from here, like the Oregon coast, Portland, and the Columbia Gorge.  The famous Powell’s City of Books is almost exactly an hour from here – and Voodoo Doughnuts is right next door.

We love our local area.  The peace, the easy access to excitement, and – of course – the amazing wine are all huge draws for us.  COMMENT BELOW: What makes you excited about visiting Oregon wine country?

 

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Biking and Hiking in Oregon Wine Country

June 20th, 2014 by Rachel

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Summertime is the perfect time for biking and hiking in Oregon wine country — especially right here in the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas.  Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the vines are starting to produce.  This countryside is absolutely stunning in the summertime.

 

 

Hiking

There is hiking throughout McMinnville and the Willamette Valley.  You can head north to the Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Park for a walk along Beaver Creek or travel over to Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey for exploring and hiking.  There are a ton of parks in McMinnville proper that you can take advantage of as well.  Just a couple of these are: Joe Dancer Park and Wortman Park.

The area surrounding our fair city also gives visitors plenty of opportunities for hiking.  There are trails around nearby Erratic Rock in Sheridan, not to mention all the hiking and biking which can be done at Champoeg State Park.

Not only are there native wetlands, rivers, glacial rocks, and more to be seen in several of these parks, bird watchers can scope out the skies for local birds.  We work hard to keep our vineyard in harmony with nature – and our communities work hard to maintain the natural beauty and balance of these parks and spaces.

Biking

Not only do we at Youngberg Hill offer a fantastic bike tour package which covers bike rentals, a two night stay, breakfast, wine tastings, and a picnic lunch; our local community offers a ton of additional trails for the avid cyclist.

Oregon is bike country.  We take pride in providing spaces for bikes to cycle in our roadways and bike paths through a variety of parks – like Champoeg.  Additionally, the state of Oregon has created a variety of scenic bikeways, all of which are within a day’s drive or less of our winery and inn.

Our area has at least 150 wineries within biking distance from Youngberg Hill alone.  This means you can take a day to conduct your own bike tasting itinerary – starting from the Hill and working out.

Red wine is heart healthy – and so are these activities.  We hope you have a chance to enjoy our beautiful valley in more ways than one!

 

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Do You Have to Let Your Wine Breathe?

June 17th, 2014 by Rachel

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Most of us opening a bottle of wine want to drink it right away.

 

Our faces might look like those of Marshall and Lily in “How I Met Your Mother” when they are told they have to wait 30 minutes to let their wine breathe.

 

 

So, the real question is – do you have to let your wine breathe?

First of all, it’s always up to your taste.  If you open a bottle, pour the wine into a glass and decide “Hey, this is delicious” then don’t let us stop you.  It’s that famous “yuck or yum” factor Wayne always talks about.

But, if you’re wondering why you’d let a wine breathe and how this action will affect taste, read on.

“Letting your wine breathe” is a pretty simple process.  The idea is that, a young red wine or even a mature red wine need to be mixed with air for a short period of time (meaning about 1-2 hours for a young wine and around 30 mins for a mature wine) in order to allow the wine to achieve its full aromatic and flavor potential.  Note that very old wine, whites, or champagne don’t need to breathe.  They can be drunk right away.

A common mistake made in letting your wine breathe is simply popping the cork and letting the wine bottle sit out for a while.  This doesn’t actually let the air mix in with much wine at all.  Your best option is decanting the wine in a decanter.  But you don’t have to get that complicated.  You can simply pour your wine into your glass, swirl it around, and then let it sit for a short period of time.

Finally – don’t let your wine sit too long.  If you’re planning on drinking one bottle over an entire evening, it may be a good idea to simply decant by the glass.  You don’t want your wine to turn vinegary.

As with everything in the wine world, letting your wine breathe is a choice that you should make only if it’s something that improves the taste of your wine to your palate.  It’s all about the yuck and yum.  Enjoy your wine in the way that tastes best to you!

 

 

 

 

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