Archive for the ‘Oregon Outdoors’ Category

Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley: Then and Now

July 7th, 2015 by Rachel

Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir in the Willamette ValleyNot only are we at Youngberg Hill celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, the entire Willamette Valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir. In honor of both of these anniversaries, we wanted to talk about the development of Pinot Noir here in our beloved valley.

Brief History of Pinot in the Valley

Back in 1965, David Lett planted Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley. By 1970 there were just five bonded Oregon wineries. In the ’60s and early ’70s, winemakers were simply matching varietals with climate. They ordered the cool climate varieties and crossed their fingers – hoping the match would be perfect. Luckily, it was and Oregon Pinot Noir blossomed throughout the Willamette Valley.

By 1974, Oregon State University was able to help create clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay imported from Burgundy, France. The Burgundy weather and land is very similar to the Willamette Valley climate, and these clones thrived. Oregon wine was put on the map as a force to be reckoned with and in 1975, Portland restaurant L’Omelette created the very first wine list featuring Oregon wines.

Over time, more and more wineries sprouted up throughout Oregon. By 1980 there were 34 bonded Oregon wineries and in 1985 Oregon wine saw a huge triumph. Our local Pinot Noir outshined the French in the Burgundy Challenge at the International Wine Center in New York. By 1990 – when Youngberg Hill came to the Willamette Valley – there were 70 bonded Oregon wineries and by 1997 sustainable winegrowing became a hallmark of Oregon winegrowers. There are about 400 wineries in the Willamette Valley now, and that number is still climbing.

Here at Youngberg Hill Willamette Valley Winery

Over the years Oregon wineries have worked toward carbon neutral, sustainable farming practices. At Youngberg Hill, we work to embody these environmentally friendly strategies in both our farming and winemaking practices. We feel these processes don’t just help the environment, they allow our wine to express the terroir in taste and texture.

Not only have we made sustainable improvements in farming practices, we have added variety to our wine repertoire. At the moment we have three distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and one block of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

One thing that shows up strongly in Willamette Valley wines is the terroir (the taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it was produced). We have 20 acres of vineyard and each block has a distinct taste based on varying soil types and microclimates just in those 20 acres. We feel this variety is what makes Oregon wine country produce such fine and distinguished wines.

There has never been a better time to visit Oregon wine country. We are excited to see what harvest this year has to bring us and are proud to present our 2014 wine selection. Be sure to visit us this year for our silver anniversary and look forward to our 2015 wines next year. We are thrilled to share them with you!

Ten Fun Reasons to Come to the Willamette Valley This Summer

June 23rd, 2015 by Rachel

Come to the Willamette Valley this summerSummer is a fantastic season to spend time here in the Willamette Valley. There are a ton of events and activities going on throughout the valley. Here are ten fun reasons to come to the Willamette Valley this summer!

Every Thursday beginning May 21st is the return of Farmer’s Market in McMinnville. We love pairing our wine with the local goodies provided by surrounding farms.

Wine Wednesday beginning June 17th we are featuring our Wine Wednesday music on the deck. Enjoy great tunes, lovely sights and delicious wine.

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, which means it’s a great time to check out all of our local craft breweries. The Willamette Valley is both Oregon wine country and Oregon beer country, so be sure to taste both!

July 12th is the date on which we are hosting the McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Fundraiser. From 2pm-5pm we will be hosting wonderful people supporting a delightful cause. Come to the Willamette Valley this summer

July 22 we will be celebrating 25 years of Youngberg Hill and 50 years of Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley with a fantastic winemaker dinner. Internationally acclaimed chef Katherine Frelon will be creating amazing food to pair with our wine.

July 24th-26th is the International Pinot Noir Celebration here in McMinnville, Oregon. This three day event is the mecca for Pinot Noir lovers and northwest cuisine. World-renowned winemakers will join chefs, epicures and wine lovers in our little town of McMinnville. Tickets are available through our website.

August 8th is the annual Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. Run through the Willamette Valley, past Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Chehalem Mountains, and Ribbon Ridge.

August 9th- 24th will be peak watching conditions for the Perseid Meteor Shower. You can watch for this lovely astral event from anywhere here in the Willamette Valley… but we have the best view of the stars here at Youngberg Hill!

August 24th is Carlton’s Walk in the Park Golf Tournament. Signing up to this activity provides a golfer with a dinner, 18 holes of golf on the Chehalem Glenn Golf Course, a free mulligan, tournament prizes and more.

September 12th is the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival. This fun local event is host to tons of wine-themed activities from a grape stomp competition to a barrel rolling race, classic car display and more.

Throughout summer and winter you will be eligible to win wine from Willamette Valley wineries. The entire valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir. Check out the Willamette Valley website to get all the details on how to win some fantastic local wine!

All of these great activities are at our Willamette Valley Inn and vineyard or are nearby. So, if you need a hub from which to enjoy your summer in Oregon wine country, consider Youngberg Hill!

Ten Training Tips for Next Year’s Wine Country Run

May 19th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country RunWe just had our first annual Willamette Valley Wine Country Run on May 17 this year! It was a half marathon, 10K and 5K and it was an absolute pleasure to host. As this is an annual run, we wanted to provide you with some training tips for next year.

Ten Wine Country Run Training Tips

1. Give yourself time to ramp up and train. We all live busy lives and it can be hard to train for a run. Try scheduling at least three runs per week and dedicate each run to a specific skill. For example, your first run can be at an easy pace, the second at a higher tempo, and the third can focus on sustaining the run for a longer time. This will let you get in your training without it completely overwhelming your schedule.

2. Buy perfect shoes and socks. Running longer distances can do a number on your feet. Be sure to get them the right shoes and wear socks that don’t slowly come off your foot as you run (we’ve all been there). It’s better to wear something that looks casual but is comfortable than to get some stylin’ gear that you can’t stand to train in.

3. Get excited about running! Sometimes running can seem like way too much work. Perhaps you’re just having a terrible day. Maybe all you want to do is sit back with a glass of wine. Instead of downing the bottle, try getting in your run first. Grab your favorite running tunes, think about that bottle of wine (or another post-run reward) and get those feet moving!

4. Find out what works for you. When you start training, you will probably get a ton of advice from other runners. This advice may be fantastic – or it may not be the right advice for you. Try out things that you think will work and ignore everything that either won’t work or sounds too overwhelming to do. Don’t worry, you don’t have to juice every day or run twenty miles each morning to get in shape for our wine country run next year!

5. Don’t overtrain. This is another reason to start training early. You can get into the perfect running shape by taking on the challenge slowly and steadily. In the end, you’ll win the race!

6. Pace yourself as you run. Even a 5k run requires a lot of endurance, so add this into your training and pace yourself. There’s no need for you to sprint the entire distance.

7. Warm up. Don’t start your run cold. It is uncomfortable and can make the going pretty rough. Give yourself a few minutes of walk time or jog time before heading into your run.

8. Don’t only run. Do some low impact exercise like yoga, swimming or Pilates on off days.Wine Country Run

9. Remember to rest. Rest days are important. Be sure to take off rest days and actually rest. Grab a bottle of wine and a good book. Go out with friends. Meditate. Rest.

10. Stay calm. A wine country run is a pretty calm activity. You have nothing to worry about at these runs except having tons of fun. So, stay calm and train on!

We look forward to seeing you at the run next year!

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.

Running a Holistic Vineyard

December 16th, 2014 by Rachel

Holistic VineyardWe take care to create a healthy and holistic vineyard. This means a number of things.

1st. We farm organically and biodynamically. We work with the existing soil, the weather in our Yamhill and Willamette valleys and the local wildlife to create a natural, nutrient-rich environment for our vines. The goal here is that all life on our farm, including plants, soil, and insect life, will be healthier 50 years from now than it is today.

2nd. We work to reduce soil erosion by planting cover crops and local plants to keep the land healthy. We also spray soft pesticides like biodegradable oils and soaps. Additionally, we are participating in ongoing research to find more environmentally-friendly methods of pest control.Holistic vineyard

3rd. Our environmentally conscious actions extend to the Inn as well. We have taken recycling a step further. Let me explain. We recycle all the standard items: newspaper, glass, aluminum, plastic, etc. However, a few years ago we realized how many water bottles our guests used. So, instead of crossing our fingers and hoping those bottles were recycled, we began offering a main water station for our guests. This was very well received and has reduced waste in a big way.

4th. As you can imagine, we end up emptying a lot of wine bottles around here. While we recycle glass at the recycling center, we also have expanded to include Youngberg Hill Pinotthem in DIY projects. This not only beautifies the Inn, it makes the environment healthier too!

We constantly work to lower our carbon footprint and create a better environment. No one is perfect in this regard – but we’re certainly aiming for it! It’s like that quote from Mr. William Clement Stone: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

What most concerns you about the environment? Let us know below!

The Post-Harvest Vineyard

November 25th, 2014 by Rachel

Post-Harvest VineyardHarvest is an extremely busy and exciting time in every vineyard. This is when we collect the fruits of our year-long labor. The keyword there is that our labor happens all year long. In order to set up next year’s harvest for success, we must prune the vines in the dead of winter.

Pruning takes place during the dormant months of the vines; December, January, and February when the vines will not bleed excessively when the cane is cut off. Pruning vines is similar to pruning roses, cutting off the past year’s growth in order for the vine to grow new shoots to develop an appropriate canopy and fruit.

There is more to pruning wine grape vines then simply cutting off old growth. We are also “training” the vine in the shape of a “Y.” This will provide balance, maximum energy flow, and strength to the vine.

The pruning process is done by selecting two of last year’s shoots to be the current year’s fruiting cane. These two shoots make up the top part of the “Y”; the stock is the bottom. The right shoots must be kept to provide the optimal energy flow through the vine and into the fruit. The fruiting cane is that from which the new shoots grow that develop the fruit.

Not only are we pruning for the current year’s crop, we are also pruning to leave spurs for the next year as well. In doing so, we are continuing to train the shape of the vine as it grows from year to year.

Pruning is the way we get a jump on next year’s harvest. What do you do each year to get your next year started out right?  Let us know in the comments below.

Farm-to-Fork Foods Paired with Harvest-to-Glass Wines

November 11th, 2014 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Wine HarvestIt is often said what grows together, goes together.  This idea is at the heart of Oregon’s farm-to-fork movement.  The wine grown and harvested here in the Willamette Valley is perfect with fresh seasonal ingredients brought from farm to table. This time of year you will find Oregon wine country filled with seasonal foods like beets, cabbages, parsnips, carrots, celery root, chard, late-season corn and mushrooms, and winter squash.

As with the wine produced throughout the Willamette Valley, the good food found here is a direct result of the quality of each ingredient.  In Oregon, chefs and farmers work together, resulting in the modern day foodie paradise of Willamette Valley.  Choose to stay with us at Youngberg Hill Vineyards, and this rich abundance of farm fresh foods and handcrafted wines will be at your fingertips.

For a truly unique Oregon experience, dine at Thistle. There the chefs create seasonal menus based on what is available to them throughout their Willamette Valley network of farms. The chefs and owners of Thistle work closely with local farmers in an effort to develop sustainable agriculture and have been one of the innovative forces behind McMinnville’s farm to table movement. When you’re ready for something sweet, pick up some locally made chocolates at Honest Chocolates, located in downtown McMinnville.

You can also visit us at the Granary District Winery – along with a number of other local wineries – for a pre-Thanksgiving open house. You will have the opportunity to taste our 2012 Pinots as well as sample other wines made in the Willamette and Yamhill Valleys. This open house event will take place on November 22nd and 23rd from 11:00am through 4:00pm.

Oregonians produce all of this delicious food and wine in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.  Oregonians have a long legacy of preserving the state’s pristine ecology, first establishing their commitment to sustainable farming practices more than 100 years ago with the State’s first environmental law.  At Youngberg Hill Vineyards, we value the beautiful land we live and work on, and are proud of our green approach to wine country living.

What is most import to you about the environment in which your food and wine was grown?  Let us know in the comments below.

Why Fall is the “On Season” for Oregon Wine Country

October 14th, 2014 by Rachel

Fall Oregon Wine Country - at Youngberg Hill Inn and Winery The end of the summer season is often when many vacation destinations close their doors. Not here in the Willamette Valley.  This is actually one of our busiest times of year.  Why is that?  Two words: Harvest Season.

Many wineries all around the Yamhill and Willamette Valleys are still filled with golden or purple grapes, getting a little more hang time or being enthusiastically harvested.

The grapes aren’t the only thing changing color. The leaves on the vines are turning too.  You haven’t seen Oregon wine country until you have seen row after row of gorgeous, fall color lighting up the vines. Our valley is a photographer’s dream. This is one of the reasons the Willamette Valley was listed in the top ten places to go leaf peeping in America.

The amazing fall foliage, the activity and excitement of harvesting grapes, and all that delicious wine make autumn the right time to visit wine country.  It’s truly gorgeous.Wildlife at Youngberg Hill

Additionally, because Youngberg Hill is a holistic vineyard which works with nature, this is a great time of year to see anything from elk to any number of birds.  Many animals can be seen on our grounds as well as at nearby locations like Cascadia State Park, Dexter State Recreation Site, and Jasper State Park.

Finally, for the those who want a break from the outdoors, Youngberg Hill is located by several cities with great shopping (local art, handmade chocolates, or artisan soaps, anyone?), delicious food, and – of course – plenty of wine.  There are also several microbrews available for those who want to add some variety to their palate.

Harvest season is the most exciting time of year to be on a vineyard in Oregon Wine Country. When’s your favorite time to visit?

McMinnville History and Geography

July 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

July History Blog- Pic 1

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.


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:


Yamhill Valley End of Summer Events

July 5th, 2014 by Rachel

July Blog 5 - Pic 1

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, 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 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