July 31st, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
2013 has been a relatively good growing season so far for Oregon Pinot Noir. We had an early spring in terms of warmer temperatures and drier weather in April and May. Budbreak and bloom were on time or slightly ahead and we just concluded fruit set. The clusters are very full and berry size is even. We will be counting clusters and weighing clusters in the next couple of weeks to determine how much fruit to cut off to maximize quality.
We have raised catch wires to the top of the posts and hedged the vines. We have also removed leaves on the east side of the vines to open up the canopy and expose the fruit to cool morning sunlight. We are cutting and plowing under more cover crop to eliminate competition for water, as we are having a few more hotter days than normal and drier ground water. In fact, our number of hours hotter than 50 degrees is similar to California’s Sonoma County so far this year. We have had a few more days of higher than normal humidity, as well, that increases propensity for mildew pressure. Therefore, we have been more diligent in our spray program to ensure the vines are protected. The drier than normal conditions have made this easier to manage.
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July 27th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
As a small, local vineyard, we love to stay connected with and give back to our community. One of the most fun ways to bring people together is through music, and we are excited to be hosting a number of benefit concerts on the Hill this summer, along with free, live music up on the Hill every Thursday night through mid-September!
We are featuring both local McMinnville and Portland-based musicians, who have been making waves state and nationwide, at our events. Some of these artists include The Djangophiles, who are among the world’s masters of Parisian Swing and Gypsy Jazz, singer/songwriter Sara Jackson-Holman, whose powerful compositions have been featured on a number of television shows including “The Ringer,” “90210,” “Castle,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and pianist Mike Strickland, whose music has appeared on CBS Sports PGA Golf for multiple seasons, along with NBC, FOX, ABC, and in the major motion pictures “This Christmas” (2007) and “Obsessed” (2009).
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July 20th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
With the end of July just around the corner, it’s time for Pinot Noir lovers to rejoice! The 27th annual International Pinot Noir Celebration is upon us, from July 26th-28th at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. The three day event that makes up the International Pinot Noir Celebration, or IPNC for short, is a must-do event for new Pinot Noir lovers or master winemakers alike. Join a variety of people from across the globe, including winemakers, northwest chefs, media, and other wine lovers as you explore the intricacies of Pinot Noir wines, savor unforgettable meals, and learn and celebrate with the biggest stars of the wine world. Throughout your time at the International Pinot Noir Celebration, you’ll have a chance to taste Pinot Noir from Grand Cru Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand, Australia, California, and other areas around the globe. But this event is about more than just tasting great wines. Here, you’ll have the chance to walk through Oregon vineyards with the grower who planted them, and unwind in the picturesque wine country of Willamette Valley, Oregon. This surely is one of the most enjoyable weekends for wine lovers from all walks of life. Youngberg Hill Vineyards is located just 15 short minutes away from Linfield College and the IPNC venue, making this your perfect opportunity to stop in and tour one of Oregon’s premier wine country estates.
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July 13th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
Youngberg Hill Vineyards, known for its divine wines and charming inn, is also a beautiful and award-winning location for your Oregon vineyard wedding! We are truly grateful for the opportunity to host weddings and are glad to have had such supportive wedding guests and vendors over the years. This year we owe our sincere thanks to all of them for voting for us in the 2013 Oregon Bride Awards. We had the honor of winning the award for “Best All Inclusive Venue” this year, so thank you!
Wayne and I enjoyed our own vineyard wedding over 15 years ago, and the memories of that day still stir my soul. When we think of the couples who have trusted us to take care of them for one of the biggest days of their lives, we know exactly how they feel and what they need because we’ve been there! We pride ourselves on strong communications from the moment someone reaches out to us for information. We help guide couples and feel the responsibility of preparing for that big chapter in their lives. I personally haven’t missed a Youngberg Hill Vineyward wedding and love serving our wines during the reception and getting to know all of the guests. The total joy during the ceremony and reception is infectious.
We do an average of 25 weddings in our stunning vineyards each year. Having won this award knowing that the other nominated wedding locations in our category do an average of 75-150 weddings a year in comparison means that all of our guests took the time to vote for us, which assures us that our aspirations for making weddings at Youngberg Hill a special experience for each individual in attendance are being accomplished. To win this award, which was voted on by both the public and by vendors, means so much more to us than you can imagine. Thank you so much for the honor of hosting your vineyard wedding, and for the joy that you have given us in showing that what we do at Youngberg Hill is of unrivaled excellence.
June 14th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
Thank you to everyone for sharing your time and thoughts with us on TripAdvisor.
June 8th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
We prepare for wedding season all year long at Youngberg Hill. The site preparation, the upgrades, the vegetation – the small things that make the Hill such a special place to get married. From the first time a future bride and groom see the vineyard and the view, there is an energy and enthusiasm that carries through the entire planning of their big day. Some couples we meet with want everything simple and elegant, while others are working off a list that they have been compiling for years. They are both equally charming and delightful. After choosing a venue the next step is choosing the vendors that make the day so complete – caterers, photographers, cake artists, florists – we enjoy helping clients choose from the vast array of talent available in the Northwest.
The first vendor that is typically selected after the venue is the caterer. Youngberg Hill has a preferred caterer and offers options for any caterer you choose. Capturing the wedding day through poignant photography is easy to do with an experienced photographer (and a great setting!), and many offer a variety of packages and options. The spectacular setting of the Hill seems to capture each wedding as serene and blissful, and every sunset backdrop sets a tone of tranquility and ever-afters.
Then there are music choices to make, florists to hire, cakes to taste. (To all the grooms, go to the cake tasting!) Take good notes, keep a sense of humor, and embrace the random craziness. And if all else fails, hire a wedding coordinator!
May 11th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
Not all wine enthusiasts have the opportunity to travel to Oregon’s wine country to explore the wonderful valley where grapes are grown and wine is made. Therefore, it’s important for us as winemakers to travel to markets across the country to share our life’s work with others. We have had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to do just that. You might ask: “why travel to the midwest this time of year?” The answer is simple – right now is the slow period in the vineyard. In April the vines will begin the new growing season and there will be work to do. Most of us are farmers first, and without close attention to the vineyard, we are not able to produce the quality of Pinot Noir that is expected from the Willamette Valley.
So we found ourselves in Minnesota, Iowa, and Chicago during one of those late winter snow storms that reminds us that spring is still a ways off. But fortunately the storm passed quickly and travel carried on. We are very excited about the increased awareness of Oregon Pinot Noir in Minneapolis. It seems to align with Minneapolis’ recognition as the “foodiest city” in the country and its new-found love of holistic culinary eateries.
Chicago continues to be one of the best restaurant cities in the country, and where there is good food, there is good wine. Chicagoans are beginning to discover the great versatility of Pinot Noir with food pairing and that Oregon’s more elegant and higher acidic pinots are a perfect match for the foods they love.
We had great success in both markets, with new retail placements and glass pours at many of the top restaurants. We look forward to returning next year, to rekindle friendships and cultivate new ones, over a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir.
May 4th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
We started seeing budbreak on April 15th this year. We haven’t had budbreak this early since 2005! Why are we excited about this? Budbreak is the “official” beginning of the seasonal growth cycle of the vines. Although weather and temperatures may have a slight impact on the speed at which the vines grow through the season, everything hinges on and calculates back to the number of days since budbreak; whether it be the timing of bloom, fruit set, veraison, or harvest.
Why is this so important for us here in the Willamette Valley? We are in a cooler climate than most grape growing regions and therefore do not get as many degree hours of heat per day. So it is important for us to get as many days above 60 degrees as possible. An earlier spring and later fall both help in providing those additional days. Regardless of the weather, it still takes the vines about 180 days from budbreak to harvest (full ripening of the fruit). It is approximately 110 days from bloom to harvest.
We consistently are pushing against the envelope in October to get fruit ripe before the rains start in earnest. So the more dry time we get, the better. And an earlier budbreak helps to give us that time. We hope we are blessed with equal good fortune throughout the summer months!
April 27th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
Wine drinkers often drink wine as a celebration. I like to think of it as a holistic celebration of life. First comes the growing of the grapes. This process requires us to work in concert with nature (and we choose to do this organically and holistically) for approximately nine months, to produce the best possible fruit. During that process, there are dozens of workers using their eyes, hands, minds, and feet to work the vines and nurture the soil. We must dance with the weather and sing to the sun. And thus we celebrate the harvest of the fruit we have toiled to grow all summer long.
In the winery, it is a concert of activity mostly performed by the fruit itself; fermenting, fermenting again, and then growing and aging in barrel. And there are many of us performing different activities to ensure a safe environment for the grapes to do what they do best. So it is a cadence and movement that are performed in the winery to evolve the wine into something new. At the time of bottling, we again celebrate the completion of another stage in the evolution of the wine.
With the wine in bottle, there is a dance and song that many individuals perform as the wine is marketed, transported, and sold throughout the world to the end consumer. Everything that goes into grape growing and winemaking and wine selling, I do not view as many individual businesses just doing their jobs. We are all working in concert, in the celebration of life, as family.
April 23rd, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey
Who would have ever thought there would be wine grapes grown, and wine made, in every state in the country today? Having grown up in the midwest, it’s inconceivable to me that grapes are being grown in North Dakota, Montana, or Iowa. But they are. Did you know that prior to prohibition, Oregon farmers were growing grapes and making wine? Missouri was the largest grape-growing state at the time, and New York was the largest producer of wine. And at the same time Spanish priests were planting grapes in California, Thomas Jefferson was planting them in Virginia.
It is amazing that everywhere people live, and in fact, wherever civilization has existed, grapes have been grown and wine has been made. There is proof that wine was produced by ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece as early as 4000 BC.
So I suggest that growing grapes and making wine is not just a lifestyle, it is part of the human condition. It is natural and even inherent to grow, produce, and consume a product that is founded on farming and fermentation.
So explore the contrasts of wine from different regions across our great country. While we may have many different beliefs, priorities and climates; we seem to all enjoy the growing of grapes and the making of wine. Maybe this is what is meant by “purple mountain majesties”!