Why Attend a Winemaker Dinner?

May 13th, 2014 by Rachel

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One of our favorite events here at Youngberg Hill is our winemaker dinners.  Why attend a winemaker dinner? This is where we invite guests up to our vineyard for food and wines paired in perfect harmony.  But the amazing food and wine is not the main reason we love this event.  Our greatest joy is sharing stories and knowledge with our guests.

Larger or corporate wineries may claim that a “winemaker dinner” is a simple pairing while someone speaks to you about their wines.  This is not the dinner party we throw.  Ours is a close-knit affair.  Wayne and/or Nicolette are right there, eating with you, answering questions about wine, their wine-making philosophy, sharing stories, and having discussions.

The conversation and exchange of stories and ideas is the real point of a winemaker dinner.  With new friendships forming and old friendships re-forging, it’s no wonder that food can become a secondary aspect of such a dinner.  That said, we could write lengthy articles dedicated to the food alone.  Here’s just one example – the menu from our Spring winemaker dinner:

We began with a glass of Champagne and olive and onion tarts as the hors d’oeuvres. After meeting everyone who came, we moved on to the first course: grilled shrimp and creamy polenta paired with our 2013 Pinot Gris. The next course was a spring salad with strawberries and cheese paired with the 2011 Cuvee.  After that, the herbed rack of lamb with a Pinot demi-glace, asparagus, and black potatoes paired with the 2011 Jordan filled everyone up.  With so many courses, we were able to take time to enjoy the food and our guests could ask questions and share stories.  Good conversation always follows great wine, and this dinner was no exception.  The meal was topped off with bread pudding with Pendleton sauce and Pinot Port.

With intimate dinners like this one, we are able to make new friends and impart a deeper understanding of wine to our guests.  Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated winery and we hope to make guests feel like family.  Come dine, drink, and laugh with us at our next winemaker dinner on June 7th.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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Why is May so Ah-May-Zing?

May 6th, 2014 by Rachel

May is a special month to many people.  Ancient Romans went wild for it.  Mexican Independence Day is May 5th.  It’s the last official month of Spring.  May is considered a time when flowers are fully in bloom, the bikes come out of the garage, and the snow has fully melted in most of the coldest states (sorry Alaska).  But, there are several very exciting reasons we at Youngberg Hill love this month.

May is Oregon Wine Month

We in Oregon are serious about our local wines, and we feel that everyone should discover or re-discover our fantastic wines.  You can come visit us all month long for a quick tasting or for the full, Youngberg Hill experience at our Inn and winery.  Either way, enjoy the wine, watch the spring flowers blooming up and down our hill, see the vines as they branch out for another great wine year, and cast your eyes upon the best views in the valley.

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Wine Flies Free      

As if you needed more incentive to come to Oregon for our wine month, Alaska Airlines is hosting another year of Oregon Wines Fly Free starting this month.  This means, when you visit participating wineries (and you better believe we’re participating) you can taste wines for free as long as you:

a) Are an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member and

b) Have an Alaska ticket from a participating airport that is in use for travel.  

PLUS, when you want to bring a case of our lovingly made wines home with you, you can check it for free as baggage.

The McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend

The first weekend of May is the McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend.  This is our town’s way of really kicking off Oregon Wine Month.  Visit all participating locations over the weekend and enjoy a tasting.  We’ll stamp your passport – and once all five stamps are collected, you will enjoy free tastings and receive 10% off purchases for the whole month of May.  Additionally, you will have a chance to enter for five premium bottles.

Mother’s Day

Our winery is family-owned and operated.  This means that Mother’s Day holds a special significance for us.  We know how hard you moms work, the struggles you must overcome, and the bountiful rewards of motherhood.  That’s why we are inviting you to come and take a load off for Mother’s Day.  If you’re a mom, come to our tasting room and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.  Our glasses are raised to you!

Memorial Day Weekend

We are wrapping up the month with a three day weekend that will feature our new release!  The 2013 Aspen Pinot Gris will be in our tasting room for your enjoyment.  Not only that, our new deck will be open so you can sip wine and enjoy the best views in the valley.

So, as you can see, May is a big month for wine in Oregon.  We hope you can make it out and discover the fantastic wines available here in wine country.  Cheers!

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Six Tips for Pairing Wines

April 29th, 2014 by Rachel

youngberg hill wine tasting notes

Finding the perfect meal for your wine can be a daunting process.  There seems to be a ton of rules and regulations which you should follow – and often these are contradictory.  This can make any wine lover feel as if they need a personal sommelier in their home at all times.  Unfortunately, that option is rarely practical. Instead of giving up and resorting to water at your mealtimes, here are six tips for pairing wines with your meals – or vice versa.

 

Tip #1: It’s all a matter of taste.  While there are some very general rules – like whites usually go with fish and chicken, while reds often go with red meat, these aren’t hard and fast rules.  Instead, think about wine and food pairings which you have enjoyed in the past.

Perhaps you had a great Pinot Noir with a delicious mushroom dish.  Be sure to consider what about the wine pairing worked for you.  What were the notes and textures you enjoyed most about the wine? Consider why that wine worked well with the food you ate.

Tip #2: When in doubt, try a medium-bodied wine.  The middle of the road may not make the perfect pairing, but it can be a great safety net when you really have no idea what to pair with your food.

Tip #3: Take a look at the label.  Does it say what kind of flavors the wine has?  Match those flavors with your meal.  For example, the note of pineapple in your white may go great with fish or some asian cuisines, but could taste very strange with pesto.  A young red wine may work really well with bitter foods like olives or radicchio, but could taste pretty odd with pecorino.

Tip #4: Experiment.  One of the best ways to discover your own taste and what food and wines work best for you is to try and pair foods with wines.

Try this: Buy or make small appetizer portions of your forthcoming meal.  Next, taste the wine, then the food and see if they pair well.  If not, look at the characteristics of the food and the wine.  Were you pairing a high acidity food with a high acidity wine?  Was the wine so full bodied that it overwhelmed the delicate dish?  Experimentation may lead you down a culinary path you would not have otherwise discovered.

Tip #5: Don’t just consider the type of food – also look at how it’s cooked.  A rule we all hear is to pair fish with white – but if you’re eating a hearty fish stew, a Pinot Noir might be a better match than a Chardonnay.  Additionally, beef is normally paired with a big red wine, but a super spicy beef chili may work better with a Pinot Grigio or other white wine.

Tip #6: Don’t make things too complex.  If you know you have a wonderful, complex bottle of wine that you really want to enjoy, keep the food simple.

In the end, it’s always about the “yuk or yum” factor.  Meaning, if you like the wine pairing – that’s what really counts.  These tips are just a way to help you get to the “yum.”

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The Oregon Difference

April 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

April 2014 - Blog 3 - Pic 1Pinot Noir was first planted here in the Willamette Valley since 1965.  Oregonians have been taking care of their land and keeping family wineries going ever since.

As custodians of the land, we hold ourselves to a very strict standard.  We work to follow holistic and biodynamic farming practices which allow the soil, the grapes, and nature to work in perfect harmony.  This produces a higher quality grape and wine.

Not only do Oregon farmers in general and Youngberg Hill in particular take environmental stewardship seriously – the state requires our wines be the best in the country as well.  Oregon’s wine labeling regulations are the strictest in the US. There are many reasons we work so hard to preserve our land while making some of the best Pinot Noir out there.

The Oregon Difference

1st: The Willamette Valley is not just a place to live.  It’s a slice of Tuscany transplanted into America.  With proper stewardship of our land, we will be able to enjoy this land for generations to come.

2nd: We are passionate about wine.  The beauty of young grapes ripening into that perfect harvest.  The joy harvesting our grapes at just the right moment.  The shared excitement of shaping that harvest into a reflection of our land, the seasons, the weather, and the year.  These are what we love – and it’s a passion we want to share with you.

3rd: Our home is a part of a greater heritage.  That of the Oregon wine country.  We share it with you in the form of our wine and in the hospitality of our Inn.  We want that heritage to continue through our family and this winery for many, many years to come.

The wines produced here at Youngberg Hill are a reflection of our home and the land on which we live and grow.  Here’s hoping you have a chance to enjoy a little slice of Oregon.  Cheers!

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Eight Tips for Planning Your Destination Wedding

April 15th, 2014 by Rachel

Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding

We host many weddings every year at Youngberg Hill.  Our recent award from the Oregon Bride Magazine for the Best All-Inclusive Venue in the Valley – and the fact that we win this “Best of” competition year after year goes to show that we are pretty great at providing the bride, groom, bridal party, and guests with exactly what they need.

 

This is why we are qualified to provide you with eight tips for planning your destination wedding:

Tip #1. Pick a location that is naturally beautiful.  You picked your out-of-town location because it had something about it you love.  Perhaps it is the surrounding wine country with the rolling hills which are reminiscent of Tuscany, maybe it’s the beauty of the vines themselves, or perhaps it’s the delicious wine.  No matter what it is you love about your destination, be sure to celebrate and capture its natural beauty during your special day.

Tip #2. Shop locally for your favors.  You may not be able to buy all your guests a bottle of Pinot, but perhaps you can give a bottle to each member of your bridal party.  Additionally, look at local chocolatiers, candle makers, and more for favors that would fit with your wedding and your budget.

Tip #3. Decide if you are planning an elopement or a wedding.  A destination elopement is completely possible and may be a better fit for you and your fiancé.  Many locations – including Youngberg Hill – are providing an elopement package along with personalized wedding options.

Tip #4. Get recommendations from the venue.  Chances are, your wedding venue has hosted many weddings and has an idea of which vendors will serve you best in the majority of scenarios.  If you aren’t from the location at which you are getting married – and you are planning from afar – a little local advice may go a long way in helping you plan the wedding of your dreams.

12884666534_6b9c66435a_b.jpgTip #5. A Save the Date is definitely required for your destination wedding.  It doesn’t have to be formal – an email sent out to all those you wish to attend about 8-12 months in advance will give your guests time to book flights and make arrangements.

Tip #6. Make a list.  List out anything you may need before you head to your destination location.  This way you can decide what you must bring to the location and what you can purchase or get done on-site.

Tip #7. Get there in advance.  You don’t want to be worrying about the details of your wedding on your wedding day.  Consider visiting your wedding location in advance and ironing out any details.  This will also give you the opportunity to shop locally, get an idea of the local flavor, and have a little pre-honeymoon getaway with your fiancé.

Tip #8. Plan to stay.  One great thing about having your wedding away from home is that you are already on vacation.  This means you can incorporate at your destination location into your honeymoon and enjoy the local landscapes, go wine tasting, or make day trips to local sights.

In the end, your wedding day is about the love you share with your significant other.  Be sure you are able to celebrate it with as little stress as possible.

 

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Does the Order You Taste Wine in Matter?

April 9th, 2014 by Rachel

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There are many methods of wine tasting, so does the order you taste wine in matter? Generally, when you go to a vineyard for a tasting, the winery will provide wine from their latest bottling. This is a great way to get a feel for the variety of wine provided by the winery as well as a feel for the terroir (meaning soil, climate, and area in which the grapes were grown.)

Another fantastic way to get an in-depth understanding of a vineyard and its wines is a vertical tasting.  This is the process of tasting the same wine from the same winery, but from successive years.  For example, you could taste our Jordan Pinot Noir from 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.  This type of tasting allows you to identify the thread that ties the wines together.  As you taste progressively older wines, the tannins mellow, which can help you understand the evolution of the wine itself.

Finally, there is a horizontal tasting.  This is often not something you will do at a winery, but is something you may participate in at a wine bar or wine shop.  A horizontal tasting involves trying similar wines from similar regions – all of the same year.  For example, you could do a horizontal tasting of Pinot Gris produced in the Willamette Valley.  This type of tasting gives one a concept of how the wine in the area can vary due to the style and relative location of each winery within one region.

A fun way to spice up a horizontal tasting is to do a “blind” tasting.  You could blindfold yourself and taste each type of wine – but we think that way may lie accidental spillage – and no one wants to waste good wine.  Instead, the server providing you with the tasting simply puts a bag over the label of each bottle.  Once the tasting is over, they reveal the wineries you tasted.  You may want to try a second round of tastings after the wineries are revealed, just so you know which producer’s wine you enjoyed the most.  The answer may surprise you, which is the point of a blind tasting.

No matter how you go about tasting wine, the point is for you to enjoy the experience.

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What are the Benefits of Joining a Wine Club?

March 25th, 2014 by Rachel

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Youngberg Hill Wine Club

You love wine.  Perhaps you purchase a few bottles whenever you are at the grocery store, buy a case of your favorites each month, or just sip it at restaurants.  Wine clubs exist specifically for people like you.

The main feature of any wine club is receiving great wines at your doorstep on a regular basis. Clubs usually send bottles on a monthly, quarterly, or biannual basis.  This is a great feature in itself, as it allows your pallet (and wine cellar) an extra boost consistently.

However, when you sign up with a specific winery – rather than a “wine of the month” club that features several wineries – you get additional benefits.

So what are the benefits of joining a wine club?

New Releases Delivered: The first thing any good wine club does is deliver great wine from our vineyard to your doorstep.  We send our new releases each May and November.  The number of bottles sent depends upon the type of club the member has signed up to.

Discounts: Youngberg Hill has a very unique set up.  We aren’t just a winery – we are an Inn as well.  This gives us the opportunity to offer our members discounts on stays in our Inn.

Free Tastings: Renewing old acquaintances and meeting new friends is among our favorite things.  So, of course, we offer club members and their guests’ free wine tastings.

Member’s Only Events: It’s true!  We enjoy staying connected with our members – which is why we spoil them with member’s only events.

Exclusive Access: Our Pinot Club members have an opportunity which we reserve for no one else.  They are able to purchase older vintages from our library.  Additionally, the Pinot Club members can schedule a private tasting with food pairing and a 2 hour vineyard/winery tour each year.

Signing up for a wine club with your favorite winery allows you first class access to both the wines and the winery.  Youngberg Hill is unique in that we also have an Inn, so even those who sign up to our clubs that live in other states can always visit and enjoy discounts, free tastings, and more.  Additionally, wine clubs give the wine lover (that’s you!) the opportunity to build up a collection of their favorite vintages, and to explore wine and their own pallet more deeply.

 

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Should You Let Your Wine Age?

March 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glasses

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glassesDo you “cellar” any of your wines? Almost 80% of wine that is purchased is consumed within 24 hours.  So, we can assume that most people might answer “no” to that question.  The main thing a lover of wine would normally have to worry about is keeping their wine in a cool-ish area (not in the trunk of their car in the height of summer) before opening and drinking it.

One of the reasons why folks don’t often cellar wine is they believe they simply don’t have the space for a wine cellar.  In fact, when many people think of a wine cellar, they often get images of a cavernous vault beneath a giant mansion.  This most certainly does not have to be the case.  Wines are best preserved by keeping them in a cool (55 to 60 degree), dark, relatively high humidity (60 to 80%) environment. It need not cost a lot. A perfect choice for all of us who do not own a mansion could be a corner area in the back of an unfinished basement, an old time root cellar or that old storage cave that your grandmother stored potatoes in.

This brings us to the question of: should you let your wine age, in other words, cellar your wine?

This really is a matter of personal taste – the “yum or yuk” factor we have mentioned in previous blog posts.

Do you most enjoy bright, flush, fresh fruit flavors that jump into your mouth and beg for the next sip?  You are more apt to find pleasure in drinking young, un-cellared wines for these characteristics. But, if you love the taste of bigger and softer tannins; if you enjoy fruit flavors integrated with savory components balanced throughout the time in your mouth – then lingering on long after the wine has trickled down your throat, you will like older (cellared) wines.  The more you enjoy the latter characteristics, the older (longer cellared) you will want your wines to be.

In the end, there really is not a “right” answer.  Should you let your wine age?  It’s all about your personal taste.

2 Responses to “Should You Let Your Wine Age?”

  1. I totally agree with our statements above. This is why we got into the wine storage business. I have been assisting at a local winery for six years and have come to understand the joys of cellared wines. My wife used to be a distributor and has visited all the wine regions of the world. She has helped me to understand the joys of cellared wines and so here we are, cellaring wines. Here we are helping all those wine lovers that have cases stashed in every closet and under the house. We are so blessed to be doing what we are doing, helping others to realize the joy of cellaring and storing wines to mature into the most lovely experience a wine lover can have. Thank you for posting this ad.
    Steven and Michelle

Willamette Valley: The 8th Wonder of Oregon

March 11th, 2014 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Vineyard
The View from Youngberg Hill

The View from Youngberg Hill

We think you’ll agree that there are way more than seven wonders of the world.  The traditional list of wonders even includes places that don’t exist anymore, like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as well as places that are still with us like the Great Pyramid of Gyza.

But there are so many other wonders that more lists have been written – like: The Seven Wonders of the Natural World, The Seven Modern Wonders of the World, and even The Seven New Wonders of the World.  Travel Oregon has matched these lists with a list of their own: The Seven Wonders of Oregon.  These wonders include the Oregon coast, Mount Hood, Crater Lake, the Columbia River Gorge, the Wallowas, Smith Rock, and the Painted Hills.

 As residents of Oregon, we have to agree with this list of wonders.  And we’re going to have to raise you another wonder, Travel Oregon.  That wonder is: Willamette Valley,  the 8th Wonder of Oregon.

We know.  We know.  There’s a traditional limit to just seven wonders – and it’s so hard to choose which places are included in a list like this.  So, to help the decision-making process along, we’ve listed here why our valley is among the wonders of Oregon:

The Wine

Our valley is the perfect place to grow world-class pinot noir.  The soil is complex and rich.  The weather provides just the right amount of sun and rain to create the best environment for wine grapes to thrive.

Not only do grapes grow here, but there is a diverse  amount of life growing all around us.  We see birds, insect, grasses, trees, and flowers thrive throughout our valley.  This natural life is supported by healthy and organic farming practices utilized in most farms throughout the valley.  In fact, the Willamette Valley is the most studied river valley in the world. This leads us to:

The People 

When you ask why so many farmers have come to Willamette Valley, they will tell you about the terroir.  They will talk about the organic farming practices which are second nature to many farmers here.

The Willamette Valley is a close farming community filled with neighbors.  There are good people here, people you can trust to help you in a crisis and friendships that will last a lifetime.  One of the reasons so many have chosen the Willamette Valley as their home is the people.

What’s Nearby

The Willamette Valley is in a singular position.  You can view Mount Hood and the cascade mountain range from a variety of vantages throughout the valley – including right here at Youngberg Hill.  We are only an hour away from another wonder listed in the “7 Wonders of Oregon” – the Oregon Coast.  Three other wonders can be visited during a day trip – these are: Mount Hood, Smith Rock, and the Columbia River Gorge.

The valley itself has over 300 wineries, tasting rooms, and vineyards within driving or biking distance – including our own.  Wine lovers also tend to be foodies – and the valley doesn’t disappoint.  We have a ton of amazing restaurants and boutique food locations like chocolatiers, microbreweries, and cheesemakers.  There are gardens which celebrate Oregon’s amazing array of flora.  Want to enjoy a real view of Oregon?  There are helicopter and balloon rides available to view the valley and surrounding area.

So, although we know Travel Oregon had to limit the list to just seven wonders, we’ve decided to add one more.  We hope you’ll visit our valley – and even make it a central base from which you can visit many of the other wonders of Oregon.  We bet that the more you explore, the more wonders you can add to the list.  Cheers to you and yours!

One Response to “Willamette Valley: The 8th Wonder of Oregon”

  1. Rachel Karl says:

    Great article! Thanks for including the Valley. :)

Looking for Youngberg Hill Wines?

February 26th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey

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If you aren’t able to visit us at Youngberg Hill to enjoy our wines in person, here is a list of retail shops where you can find our wine.  If these shops are inconvenient to you, we are happy to ship direct to wherever you are.  If the store listed doesn’t have our wine in stock, ask them to order it in as it is available to them.

Of course if you are in the area, we would love for you to visit our tasting room on the Hill, and sample all of the vintages of Youngberg Hill wines we have to offer.  We’ve recently added a beautiful deck, and the view is outrageous!

 

Portland, OR ( and surrounding area) – Korkage, Primrose & Tumbleweeds, Lamb’s Stroheckers, Fred Meyer – Burlingame, Whole Foods – Bridgeport, Blackbird Wine Shop, Wine Up, Whole Foods – Tanasbourne, New Seasons, QFC -Stadium

Eugene, OR – Sundance

Jacksonville, OR- Corks, Jacksonville Inn, & Chateaulin-Ashland

Bend, OR- Rays-Sisters, Good Drop Wine Shop, Wine Shop next to 900 Wall

Salem,OR- Roth’s

Oregon Coast – Cellar on 10th in Astoria, Wine Shack in Cannon Beach

Seattle, WA – Wine World & Bottlehouse.

Minnesota- Byerly’s ( Burnsville, Golden Valley, Maple Grove and Ridgedale),  Excelsior Vintage, Lake Wine and cheese Shop, Lund’s Plymouth, Lund’s Wine & Spirits Downtown, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop wine and Spirits, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop Wine and Spiritis, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Sorella Wine & Spirits, Thomas Liquors, Wine & Spirits at 7 & 41, Zipps Liquors.

Chicago – Wine Knows, Everetts Liquor, The Noble Grape (will special order), Five Forks Market All Wined Up, Select Beverages, The Tasting Room and City Winery.

 

6 Responses to “Looking for Youngberg Hill Wines?”

  1. Dave Cohen says:

    Any chance Youngberg Hill will be available in California (San Diego area) soon?

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Dave. We have been working on it, but we don’t have one at this time. We can always ship directly to you — let us know what you would like!

  2. Mark Goldberg says:

    Can I find your wine in South Florida ?

    • nicolette says:

      Thank you for replying to our Blog and your interest in our wines. We have been working on distribution in FL and are right now are in talks with Patrick Mahon at Bootleggers Beverage Distributors. We can always ship to you directly so please let us know what you need. Our Wine Club http://youngberghill.com/wine/wine-club/ offers great discounts on our library and newest release wines so just let us know what you would like and we can get it to you.

  3. Mike Wallis says:

    Your Youngberg Hill wines are also available at the Cellar on 10th in Astoria.

    • nicolette says:

      Your right, I missed the Oregon Coast but have just added it with your reminder. Thank you SO much.