Archive for the ‘Oregon Outdoors’ Category

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

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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/

 

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

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?

 

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!

 

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!

Holistic Farming: Our Approach to Growing Grapes

February 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Organic farming is inherent in the culture here in Oregon.  Our state is among the top five states in number of certified organic farms.  Even more farms utilize organic practices, but don’t go through the costly certification process.  Instead, they farm organically because it’s the right thing to do.

seriously organic winesGenerally speaking, organic farms are those which do not utilize synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  At Youngberg Hill, we take it a step farther by using a biodynamic philosophy when growing our grapes.  This means we do not poison our soil with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  Instead, we consider the farm from a holistic perspective.  We look at the balance of our ecosystem and work to generate health and fertility naturally – within the farm itself.

There are a number of grasses and other local plants growing on our farm.  These give a home to local insects, which feed local birds.  These plants give and take nutrition from the soil.  Their lives and their deaths enrich the ground in which our vines grow.

We don’t use chemical fertilizers to pump up tired soil.  Instead, we work to maintain the rich soil nature provided us with when we first came to Youngberg Hill.

Why do we take so much care to create a natural environment in our farm?  There are two reasons:

1st: We want our wine to tell the story of the land in which the grapes were grown and how nature affected each and every grape.  We believe in letting nature speak for itself in the clarity and flavor of our wines.

2nd: Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated farm.  Our girls are growing up here. We want to raise our grapes in the same healthy environment in which we are raising our girls.

Our philosophy and way of farming has kept our family happy and healthy – and has made us able to produce award winning wines year after year.

Have you heard of Holistic Farming? What are your thoughts on this with regard to wine?