Willamette Valley Winemakers Celebrate 50 Years of Pinot

March 10th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley WinemakersBoth the Willamette Valley and Youngberg Hill are celebrating anniversaries this year. The entire valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir production and we are celebrating our 25th anniversary!

With these great events in mind, we wanted to take a look back to our beginnings, how our vision has developed over time, and what our plans are for the future. Winemaker and Youngberg Hill owner Nicolette Bailey sat down and answered these questions, explaining how Youngberg Hill, as a small family farm, fits into the overall Willamette Valley winemaking vision.

Interviewer: What was your original vision for the vineyard and winery when you and Wayne first started out?

Nicolette: “The idea was to emulate what we experienced in Burgundy. We are a small family farm, farm organically, use small lots, and have site specific bottlings.”

Interviewer: What in the valley inspired or affected your vision?

Nicolette: “The similarities (to Burgundy, France) in size, weather, and community.”

Interviewer: How has this vision evolved over time?

Nicolette: “The vision hasn’t so much evolved as confirming the similarities we love between Burgundy and the Willamette Valley, which encouraged us to continue pursuing our winemaking goals.”

Interviewer: Has living and growing here in the Willamette Valley had an affect on your vision?

Nicolette: “We are enjoying living a simpler life.”

Interviewer: What can we look forward to from Youngberg Hill in 2015 and beyond?

Nicolette: “More wine at an even higher level of quality, along with the addition of Chardonnay.”

As you can see, Youngberg Hill has fit into the fabric and vision of the Willamette Valley winegrowing culture. We started with Pinot and are expanding our vision to tackle other grapes and creating new wines.

What do you love most about Oregon wines? Comment below to let us know!

What will you Learn at the Winemaker Dinner?

March 3rd, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Willamette ValleyWe have a series of winemaker dinners planned here at our Willamette Valley vineyard and elsewhere in the Willamette Valley this year. At the moment, we have dinners scheduled for: March 20th, April 17th, May 2nd, and May 30th. Stay tuned to our calendar for any changes in dates or additional winemaker dinners and local events.

We love hosting winemaker dinners for many reasons. There is great conversation, wonderful people, delicious food, and fantastic wine. We also get to share our passion and insight when it comes to winemaking. Our guests love our dinners too, and here’s why:

Learning about wine

We are able to talk to our guests about the wine we create as well as the land and the region in which it is made. In our case, we both grow and create wine at our location in the Willamette Valley. This is a small enough event that we can discuss ins and outs as well as answer any and all questions without having to “work the room.”

If you have specific questions about wine, winemaking, or our region of the world, this is the time and place to ask them.

Tasting uncommon wine

You won’t find our Port anywhere in the “our wines” section of our website, but we are serving it at our March 20th winemaker dinner. You also get a chance to see what we as winemakers drink. It’s not all Pinot, all the time. We’re having a wonderful Champagne at the March 20th event too.

Understanding the “whys” behind pairingWillamette Valley Vineyard Winemaker Dinner

Sometimes a pairing can sound odd, but taste amazing. Here’s your chance to know why we chose a specific wine to pair with a specific recipe – or vice versa.

Eat, drink, and be merry

More than anything, winemaker dinners are there for us to make new friends, have wonderful discussions, eat amazing food, and sip on some glorious wine. We love the family and group aspect of these dinners, we love answering questions, but more than anything, we enjoy connecting with old friends and making new ones.

What question would you ask a winemaker? Comment below and we’ll answer!

Elopements Still Require Some Planning

February 24th, 2015 by Rachel

Elopement in Wine CountryOver the years there have been many changes in how an elopement is performed. Traditionally, a couple would head to the nearest court and get married in front of a judge. No fuss, no muss. This was one of the reasons why elopements have not been very popular. Many brides wanted to wear their special dress and get married somewhere beautiful.

The way elopements are done has changed over the years to include more than just a slap-dash ceremony. You can now get married somewhere gorgeous in a private ceremony, with a photographer or videographer recording every special moment.

While many couples may feel like just running off together and getting married, an elopement should be well thought out and considered before a couple embarks on it. Here are some of the general steps required for planning your elopement:

  1. Make sure your family and friends know and understand that you and your significant other will be eloping, not having a wedding.
  2. Find a location for the ceremony that you both love. Remember, you and your partner are the only people who will attend your wedding, so make sure the location is somewhere you both want to spend your special time together. Some locations – like Youngberg Hill – even offer elopement packages.
  3. Work out the wardrobe. Even though you aren’t doing bridesmaids and groomsmen, you will both want to wear something special. Youngberg Hill Wedding and Elopement
  4. Find a photographer/videographer. Since it’s just you and your partner, you will want plenty of photos and perhaps a video to look back on so you both can share this special day with friends, family, and children. Your elopement location may be able to help you find a great photographer.
  5. Incorporate something personal into the ceremony. This elopement is all about your love and partnership, so make sure the ceremony is personal to both of you. You can read vows, toast each other, or write love notes to read to each other after the ceremony.
  6. Decide if you will do a post-elopement party. Because your friends and family will not be attending your ceremony, you may want to have a celebration with them before or after the honeymoon. This can be a casual affair or even a party at the same location at which you were married. This way you can insure everyone feels included – without changing your marriage plans.
  7. Be sure that whatever you do, it is fun and fitting for your relationship. You two know each other best – so make sure your elopement is performed exactly as you both want.

In the end, the bond you and your partner have is often strengthened by marriage – whether you have a big ceremony or an elopement. Here’s wishing you many happy years together!

Wine Pairing During Girl Scout Cookie Season

February 17th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine PairingHere in the Willamette and Yamhill Valleys, it’s that time of year when Girl Scouts sell delectable cookies. Instead of adding more calories to the cookies by dipping them in milk, why not try sipping some wine with them as a low calorie alternative? Seriously though, wine pairs very well with Girl Scout cookies. Here is your guide to wine pairing this cookie season:

Thanks-A-Lot the buttery flavor from the shortbread and the fudgy chocolate make Pinot Noir a great pairing with this little cookie.

Thin Mints this chocolate/mint cookie goes great with Cabernet Sauvignon or a Zinfandel.

Samoas have several flavors. Probably the strongest are toasted coconut, chocolate and caramel. These notes should pair well with sherry or a tawny port

Tagalongs are in a similar flavor set as Samoas and will also pair with sherry or tawny port. You may also be able to pair these peanut butter chocolate cookies with the sparkling dessert wine Brachetto D’Acqui.

Trefoils are shortbread cookies that would work with a crisp Pinot Gris or a light sparkling wine. Wine Pairing with Pinot Gris

Do-si-dos are peanut butter cookies pure and simple. They work well with a fruity wine like Zweigelt or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cranberry Citrus Crisps are sweet and tangy and go well with a light wine like Reisling or Pinot Gris.

Lemonades make it sound like we are pairing a drink with a drink, but the cookie is more sweet than tangy, making it a great match for a buttery Chardonnay.

Rah-Rah Raisins aren’t your standard oatmeal cookies. Along with the oats and raisins, they have yogurt in them. This makes them a good match for Pinot Noir or Viognier.

Savannah Smiles are a lemon sugar cookie that work well with Moscato.

Toffee-tastic have a buttery, toffee flavor that goes well with Cabernet Sauvignon or Riesling.

Trios are a chocolate, peanut butter oatmeal cookie that would go well with tawny port or sherry.

So, get your wine ready and munch down on those Girl Scout cookies! Let us know your favorite pairings in the comments below.

2 Responses to “Wine Pairing During Girl Scout Cookie Season”

  1. Debra says:

    What a fun post! Thanks for the insight

A Youngberg Hill Recipe with No Wine Pairing Necessary

February 10th, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill RecipeAfter 25 years of greeting our guests with a 2 course gourmet breakfast, you’d think we’d have some fantastic recipes under our belt here at Youngberg Hill. And, you’d be right!

Today we are sharing one of our most requested recipes, our hearty, no fuss, granola. Here it is!


Youngberg Hill Homemade Granola

Serves 10


8 cups Rolled Oats (not quick cook)Youngberg Hill Granola

¾ cup Whole Almonds

¾ cup Cashews

½ cup Brown sugar

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

¼ cup Cooking Oil

¼ cup Honey

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 ½ cup Dried Fruit/Berries



  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a large sheet pan by spraying with cooking spray. Set pan aside.
  2. Mix oats, almonds, cashews, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Make sure you mix them well.
  3. In a saucepan, mix oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk mixture over low heat.  When hot, pour over oat mixture and mix well.
  4. Spread mixture out on your large sheet pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Allow granola to cool completely. Then break up any clumps and add dried fruit or berries.

We love serving our granola along with Greek Honey Yogurt.

Here at Youngberg Hill Inn, we serve a fantastic breakfast every day, and after 25 years we know quite a few recipes. Would you like to see more breakfast recipes? Let us know!

Planning a Spring Trip to Oregon Wine Country

February 3rd, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill in Oregon Wine Country
Spring is a gorgeous time of year to visit Oregon wine country. The vines grow bright new leaves, flowers bloom throughout the Willamette Valley, and baby animals populate wine country. This year is a particularly great time to visit as the Willamette Valley will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary and we at Youngberg Hill are celebrating our 25th anniversary! With that in mind, here are some fun activities to do here in wine country.


Tours are a great way to take in all the spring colors. You have a number of options here in wine country. You can take a balloon tour with Vista Balloons or Balloon Flying Service of Oregon. Helicopter tours are also available with Konect Aviation. Another option is seeing wine country by horseback with Equestrian Wine Tours.Touring Oregon Wine Country

Self guided tours throughout our valleys are also fun. Check out our driving tour map and our bike tour map and plan out your wine tasting trip. Just be sure to designate a driver and be safe!


We have an events calendar which we update very regularly. This lists all of the activities happening around wine country and beyond that we will be involved with. There are also plenty of local activities like:

McMinnville Wine and Food Classic This culinary event runs from March 13-15 and features local wineries and chefs demonstrating their skills for you. Sounds delicious!

Youngberg Hill Half, 5K, and 10K Run We are hosting a fantastic run through scenic farmlands and gently rolling hills on Sunday, May 17th. After your run, enjoy a tasting along with a number of finish line festivities. Get all the details on our calendar.

Tulip Fest The annual festival celebrates various tulip blooms and colors. It is located in Woodburn, OR and runs from March 27-May 3rd. We can say from experience that it is absolutely beautiful.

Flavors of Carlton This annual celebration features Yamhill Valley art, food, and wine in Carlton, OR. The event is on April 18th.

Memorial Weekend in Wine Country This weekend (May 23-25) kicks off with wine tastings and includes special events, music and more throughout the Willamette Valley.

These are just a few of the many, many activities happening during Spring this year. Check back with our events calendar and use resources like this calendar to find out about additional activities.

Food and Wine

There are over 150 wineries, tasting rooms, and vineyards within a 20 minute drive of Youngberg Hill. Additionally, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants that feature locally grown and produced food, wine, and beer. Some of our favorites are Bistro Maison, Joel Palmer House, and Nick’s Italian Cafe.

Let us know your budget and your favorite types of food and we can make a more personalized recommendation.

You can get links to many of the places right on our website, on the attractions page. We hope to see you here in Oregon wine country during our bright and beautiful spring!


How Wine Bottling Works

January 27th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine bottling at Youngberg HillPatience is the keyword in making wine. One has to let it sit in barrels and go through the fermentation process until it is clarified enough for bottling. Even when the wine has clarified to a point where wine bottling is the next step, the process cannot occur for a few days. One must first rack the wine, let it settle for a again, and then go into the bottling process.

Youngberg Hill is a relatively small winery. This means that our winemaking process is tightly controlled and monitored. The precise moment the wine is ready for bottling can be pinpointed and bottling can start very rapidly.

The concept of bottling seems pretty simple. You are putting the wine into a bottle for further aging or for sale. Because wine reacts chemically with air, this process is a little more complicated than filling a bottle with water or some other liquid. We try to allow very little air into the bottle while it is being filled. However, a minute amount of air is needed so that the bottle can handle temperature changes and so that the wine aging process can continue to occur.

After wine bottles are filled, they should be corked or capped promptly. When wine bottles are freshly filled they need to remain standing for a few days to allow any inside pressures to equalize. After a few days though, wine bottles should be stored on their sides in a cool cellar.

Wine doesn’t stop aging once it is out of the barrel. Some wines benefit from bottle aging. Others are drinkable right away. You can often find recommendations about drinkability in the tasting notes of a particular wine. You can find out tasting notes here.

Do you want to find out more about the winemaking process? Contact us or visit us!

Planning your Wine Country Wedding

January 20th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country WeddingThe first thing we have to say is congratulations on your engagement! Your wedding is one of those really significant moments in your life as a couple. Now that you are in planning mode, one of the first things to do is decide on a venue. We can certainly help with that here at Youngberg Hill.

There are key questions to ask yourself while you are planning your Willamette Valley wedding. These are:

What is important to me about having a wine country wedding?Wine Country Wedding

Oregon wine country is stunning. We have fantastic wine and can provide a great wedding venue. However, deciding what is most important to you about having a wine country wedding can help you figure out which venue will provide you with what you need most adequately.

You may be considering Youngberg Hill for your wedding venue because of our amazing views and expansive vineyard. You might feel it’s more important that we have an Inn as well as a vineyard, so that you and your bridal party are not rushed on the day of the wedding. The wine itself may be what you use to judge your wedding venue.

No matter the reason, decide on what your wine country wedding must be able to feature. This way you can make the perfect choice for this incredibly important event.

What are the marital laws in the location I have picked?

You may have chosen a destination location for your wine country wedding. That’s fantastic! This means that you and your partner need to understand what is necessary to obtain a marriage license and file for marriage in that state. For example, here in Oregon there is a three day waiting period from the day the marriage license is issued until it can be used. However, a waiver can be purchased for that waiting period. Research the ins and outs so you and your partner can become officially wed on the date you chose.

Is the date I want available?

Wedding venues tend to book up fast – that’s why you are doing your planning in winter, right? Be sure that as soon as you find the perfect venue you get it booked on the date you want. Do not send out wedding invitations until you definitely have the venue on the date of your choice.

What recommendations can the venue make?Beautiful Wine Country Wedding

Because we are a working vineyard and Inn and we host a number of weddings every year, we have many wonderful people we have worked with in the past. Use our knowledge of local experts in wedding planning, flowers, and catering to help you plan the perfect wedding.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. It’s a beautiful, fun celebration of your love. Let us help you make your big day just right.

Five Steps for your Winter Wine Country Escape

January 13th, 2015 by Rachel

Winter escapeThe holidays are over and winter has officially set in. This doesn’t mean you are snowed in to your home and stuck for the season. In fact, now is the best time of year to get away. You no longer have to cover for co-workers or head to family gatherings. The hectic holidays are out of the way – so it’s time to enjoy a real holiday.

Here are your five steps to escaping this winter:

#1. Recruit a partner in crime.

This may be a co-worker, a boss or a family member. No matter who it is, your partner in crime is the person who will help you pull off your winter escape. Your boss or co-worker may be able to help you out by taking over a couple of work projects to get you the time off you need. Your family member may be able to take the kids while you’re out of town.

Just be sure your partner in crime will be rewarded when you get back. Maybe you can cover foOregon Wine Country in Winterr your boss or coworker in future – or perhaps you can babysit for your family member’s kids when they head out on their own holiday.

#2. Plan to go away from home.

The post holiday season is no time for a staycation. You need to get out of the house and get pampered. We can recommend the Winter Wine Tasting Package here at Youngberg Hill for some seriously delicious pampering. Oregon wine country is a great place to get away and relax.

#3. Pack up your holiday decorations.

You don’t want to come back to more holiday work. Get everything packed away and your home cleaned up before you head out. That way, when you come back relaxed and reinvigorated you can really feel as if you are launching into a new year.

#4. Make your wine country travel plans.

Since you are headed out of town, set up your travel plans. If you are driving out, is there a delicious lunch location like Bistro Maison on the way to your destination? Be sure to make the trip itself leisurely and relaxing. If you are headed out to Youngberg Hill, we can give you recommendations to make your trip out enjoyable.

#5. Go!

The time has come. You have work and the kids all sorted out. You’ve got a delicious place to stop on the way and you have a destination. Go ahead and take some well deserved time off!

Winter is a gorgeous time to visit our Willamette Valley vineyard & Inn. Let us know how we can help you get out here for some winter R&R.

Looking Back at 2014

January 6th, 2015 by Rachel

2014 harvestWe had a fantastic year last year. As we look forward to 2015, we wanted to take a moment to recognize all of the wonderful friends, clients, and family who made 2014 such a great year.


Not only did we have a really great harvest in 2014, we were able to taste the fruits of our 2013 harvest. Additionally, we planted up a new block which is dedicated to the production of Chardonnay grapes. This means we have a very exciting wine production future ahead of us!

2014 Recognition

We received some really wonderful recognition this year from:

  • Oregon Bride Magazine: Best All-Inclusive Venue in the Valley
  • Seattle Times listed our 2012 Cuvee Pinot Noir among the Top 50 wines for 2014
  • 2014 Oregon Wine Awards gave us Gold for our 2010 Cuvee and the 2010 Barrel Select
  • 2014 Sunset International Wine Competition awarded our 2010 Pinot Noir
  • BedandBreakfast.com listed us amoung the Top 10 Vineyard Inns
  • Great ratings on our 2012 Cuvee, 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir, 2012 Natasha Pinot Noir, and 2011 Cuvee Pinot Noir from The PinotFile

2014 Seattle Times Top 50 2014 Oregon Bride

Community Events

We had some great events at the winery and in the local Willamette Valley and Yamhill Valley communities. These types of get togethers allow us to stay in touch with the local area and provide a fun venue for us to meet new friends and reconnect with old friends. Here is just a quick snippet of a few events:

Last year we hosted several winemaker dinners which allowed us to connect with our wine club members as well as make new friends who wanted to learn about wine. Looking forward, we have a number of winemaker dinners already on the calendar – so if you enjoy delicious food paired with fantastic wine and wonderful conversation, be sure to come to one of our dinners!

Throughout the year we hosted a number of passport events here in Oregon wine country. We will stay involved in the McMinnville AVA and other passport events throughout 2015. We are also going to be a part of the 29th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in July of this year – so keep an eye on our calendar or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on wine country events throughout the year.

In May of 2014 we participated in the Oregon Wines Fly Free program. This wasn’t just a local event – it worked with Alaska Airlines to promote local wineries, specifically in Oregon wine country.

We had the opportunity to host the Linfield Orchestra Benefit last year. We will be hosting again this year. Be sure to check out the calendar for details.

The many opportunities we have had to connect with friends old and new and to work with other Willamette valley vineyards really made our year.

Thank YousThank you!

We wanted to take a moment to thank all those who reviewed and voted for our wines and our Inn. We would be nothing without our wonderful customers. Here are just a few of the fantastic reviews we received just in 2014:

Great Northwest Destinations called us “One of the most beautiful, serene, and relaxing places in the Pacific Northwest” while stating that our wine is “seriously delicious.”

Sips with Friends said that our 2010 Barrel Select was “a stunner.”

American Winery Guide said “Why would you want to go anywhere else?” They also said of our wines “The wines reflect the terroir because of Wayne’s farming philosophies.”2014 Wedding

One Weddingwire.com reviewer said about her wedding at Youngberg Hill: “Youngberg is the most wonderful place for a wedding. We were so happy with our choice of venue, we would not do anything different.”

Another reviewer on Tripadvisor.com said “The owners and staff make you feel more like family than temporary visiters. We are already return customers and will continue to be so in the future!”

These are just a few of the many, many wonderful reviews we received in 2014. We closed with that last one because it’s so true. We consider every one of you family.

To read even more reviews and articles, click here.

So, let us know what we can do to help you stay, plan an event, or enjoy wine from Youngberg Hill this year. We are excited to see you!