Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill in Oregon’ Category

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!


Why Choose Sustainable Food and Wine?

June 16th, 2015 by Rachel

Sustainable wineWhen we consider sustainability, we usually think about sustainable food farming practices or sustainable materials – but we don’t often think about sustainable wine.

Sustainability means many things to many people. However, in agriculture, sustainability means: an integrated system of plant and animal production practices. The long term goals include enhanced environmental quality, integrated natural biological cycles, and enhanced quality of life for farmers and the society as a whole.

When a farm works to become sustainable, it has often gone beyond organic to a point where the farm labors to grow useful products in a way that benefits the land and surrounding environment. In doing this, the farmers are not only creating a better environment, they are also adding vibrancy and flavor to their food.

Nothing expresses the flavor a sustainable farmland imparts more than wine. In wine, one tastes the terroir directly. The land expresses itself through the texture, body, and flavor of your wine. Our Willamette valley winery strives to accomplish this with every bottle of wine.

However, sustainable wine is not the only way to support environmentally responsible farming. It’s important to turn your attention to sustainable food as well. There are local Willamette and Yamhill valley farms which use sustainable practices as they produce vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy.

Foods created in a sustainable environment are uniquely delicious. When you pair these with local, sustainably produced wines, you experience true culinary delight.

If you’d like to experience sustainable wine for yourself, come visit us for a tasting or one of our many events here at Youngberg Hill. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Wine Tasting Do’s and Don’ts

June 2nd, 2015 by Rachel

Wine TastingWe all know how to drink wine at home or in a restaurant. But things can get a little awkward when you visit a winery to taste their wine. You may be meeting the very person who poured his or her heart and soul into that wine. How should you act around this person? What if you don’t know much about wine? We’re here to help with some tips on the etiquette of wine tasting at a winery.

DO be considerate to those around you.

When preparing for a tasting, think about those who will be around you. This may mean using less perfume, or aftershave – or using nothing at all so that you and they can enjoy the bouquet of the wine. Additionally, you may want to eat a good meal before heading to the winery so that you can keep a clear head throughout your experience.

DON’T expect a meal.

Many wineries lay out crackers to help you clear your palette between tastings. However, small boutique wineries rarely have a restaurant or additional food available. One fun idea is to bring your own picnic lunch with you. Many wineries (including our Willamette Valley winery) have outdoor spaces where you can relax, eat, and enjoy the breathtaking views.

DO head to the winery earlier in the day or during weekdays.

If you want to make sure you have plenty of one-on-one time at the wine tasting, try arriving on days or hours that are likely to be less busy. Many wine tastings happen on the weekend or after lunch. However, most tasting rooms are open throughout the week and have longer tasting hours. For example, our tasting room is open 7 days a week from 10AM-4PM. So, pack a picnic and head out after breakfast to enjoy a leisurely tasting.

DON’T expect to taste every wine available on a winery’s website.

Wineries often keep specific wines available for tasting. The wines available for tasting depend upon many factors, including inventory, how much stock is promised to their wine club members, and which wines they feel best represent the winery. The wines available for tasting are often pre-determined. However, you can always ask if a particular vintage is available for tasting.

DO ask questions.

It is absolutely expected that you will ask questions and discuss the wine at a wine tasting. The person hosting your wine tasting has likely heard every question under the sun, so don’t be shy about asking him or her something you may think is silly. No matter how much or how little education you may have in the area of wine, there is always something to be learned.

DON’T try to pour your own wine during the tasting.

The tasting room attendant is there to pour your wine and discuss it with you. Be sure to allow them to do their job and serve you.

DO use the dump bucket as needed.

A wine tasting can help you discover wine that you love, without having to drink an entire bottle. However, there may be a wine that has characteristics which you do not enjoy served along with the other wines. Or perhaps you are planning on going to multiple tastings and you want to keep your palette and head clear throughout your experience. Either way, it is perfectly okay to use the dump bucket. That’s what it is there for!

DON’T head out into the vineyard alone.

Many boutique wineries have vineyards attached to the property. These are gorgeous spaces, but they are also active farms. If you’d like a tour of the vineyard along with your tasting, call ahead and see if the winery offers such tours.Enjoying Willamette Valley Wine Tasting

DO take time to enjoy the atmosphere and scenery.

Tasting rooms are there to showcase the wine and winery. There is often an atmosphere of leisure in a tasting room. Take your time and sip your wine. Look out at the scenery and enjoy the space. Concentrate on the wine and the beauty that surrounds you. We often forget what a pleasure it is to really taste and smell what we are drinking. Make sure to take time to do just that while at a wine tasting.

No matter where you go for your wine tasting, we hope you have a wonderful time!



Greet Summer with Willamette Valley Farm to Table

May 26th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley Farm to TableIt’s almost summer!  Farmer’s Market is back up here in the Willamette Valley.  Local fruit, meats, and vegetables are available all around Oregon Wine Country and we are excited!  In celebration of this farm to table extravaganza, we wanted to give you some pairing ideas with local foods that are in-season so that you can make the most of your meals.

Southern-style collard greens: Who doesn’t love a combination of bacon or ham hocks and collard greens? This delicious side pairs well with an earthy wine like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais.

Morel mushrooms with anything: Morels can be eaten with just about anything. They are delicious with chicken, pasta, in a wine sauce, or deep fried. Pinot Noir is the classic pairing with mushrooms, so we recommend a 2011 Jordan Pinot Noir pairing with morels.

Fava bean salad: We love a fresh bean salad with champagne vinaigrette. We recommend a bright, fruity white wine pairing with this salad. Try a Prié blanc or Pinot Blanc with this summery salad.

Baked asparagus: We are so happy that asparagus season has struck again! Simple asparagus baked in olive oil and lightly salted is a delicious snack or side. This treat needs a bright white wine like Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio, or a light, dry rosé .

Brioche and goat cheese: What is better than warm, fresh-baked bread and a spreading of goat cheese? The classic pairing with this cheese is a high acid and fruity Sauvignon Blanc. Other nice pairings include Sancerre, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

These are just a few of the delicious pairings available with local food here in the Willamette Valley.  What’s on your table this week?

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!

What Wine Terms Really Mean

May 12th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley Wine TermsWinemaking is a highly specialized field. Because of this, there are a number of wine terms which can get pretty confusing because they often have both specialized meanings as well as non-specialized definitions. Many of these wine terms have roots in other languages, which can make them seem more confusing.

We want to help you articulate and understand what it is about wine that makes it something you love. We’ve created a list of terms that many people find confusing. Knowing these terms will help you discover even more wine that you love.

Acid: This chemical is produced during the fermentation process. Grapes from cooler regions or chilly seasons have higher acidity levels while grapes from warmer climates have lower acidity. In white wine, acidity can taste like lemon or lime juice. Acid adds tartness and zest to wine.

Body: This is a very commonly used term when one is trying to identify a type of wine. The term “body” is used to describe the weight or feel of the wine in your mouth. Often what determines body is the amount of alcohol in the wine. The higher the alcohol, the more body the wine has.

Earthy: When we say something is “earthy,” we often mean that it is evocative of the pleasant smell of rich, fresh, clean soil. It can also indicate that the wine has woody or truffle scents. In French, this term is called goût de terroir.

Finish: The term “finish” is used to describe the quality of a wine. Finish indicates the taste the wine leaves in one’s mouth after drinking. When it has a long, rich taste that lingers after your wine has been swallowed, it is said to have a “long finish.”Willamette Valley Wine Term

Mineral, Minerality: This is a wine tasting term that indicates the smell of wet stones or crushed rocks. It can also mean that a wine has a taste indicative of the land in which the grapes were grown. This means it can have different tastes – anything from chalk to slate. Often wines with minerality are complex and nuanced.

Oaky: We use oak barrels to age our wine. The type of oak barrel and the length of time the wine resides in the barrel affect the taste. Usually oak adds flavors of butter, vanilla or coconut to white wines. In red wine it often adds the taste of baking spices, toasty vanilla or sometimes dill. A wine can become overly oaked and the taste can overwhelm the wine making it taste charred or burnt, or like lumber or plywood.

Residual Sugar: This is the sugar that remains in the wine after fermentation. This may or may not be done on purpose. Sugar can be left in to help change the taste of your wine, making it less astringent or creating a sweeter wine. However, sometimes residual sugar can cause a less than pleasant taste, making a wine too sweet.

Tannin: The mouth-puckering substance that comes from grape skins, seeds, stems, or even oak barrels. Tannins help your wine age and develop. Younger wines have a stronger taste of tannin than wines that have been aged. This is often solved by decanting a bottle or aerating.

Terroir: A French term that indicates the entire physical and environmental characteristics of a particular vineyard. These characteristics influence the grapes and the wine that is made from them. We respect our terroir here at Youngberg Hill.

There are an enormous amount of terms associated with winemaking and wine tasting. These are just a few of them. You can always come to our Willamette Valley winery and ask us what we mean when we describe our wines. Associating specialized words with an actual taste will help you deepen your knowledge of wine and help you find even more wines that you love.


Get Technology on your Side While Looking for the Right Wedding Location

May 5th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley Destination WeddingDestination wedding locations can be difficult to pick. You aren’t at the location, so you can’t just run by and take a peek at it. Here are some tips for finding the perfect location, with as little stress as possible:

Think about Style

You have probably created a Pinterest board of your favorite wedding styles and looked through all of the best wedding websites for ideas. As much as many brides would love to have multiple weddings so they can incorporate all of the great ideas available online, it’s time to narrow down the styles that you love the most. If you love wine barrels, grape vines, a natural setting, and a stately Inn, our Willamette Valley winery may just have the style you’re looking for.

Get Technology on your Side

There are a ton of tools you can use to help you decide if the spot is just right for you.  Here are just a few options:

  • Google Maps. Use Street View to take a look at the location from different angles.
  • Virtual Tours and videos. Many websites (including our site) offer virtual tours and videos so that guests can get a feel for the location.
  • Photo gallery. We post photos on our photo gallery as well as on our Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Instagram accounts all the time.
  • Skype or FaceTime. Your wedding planner or a friend who is visiting the location can put you on Skype or FaceTime and let you see the location for yourself.

Make an Early Visit

Take a long weekend and head out to the location.  Seeing it for yourself, in person, will help you visualize everything and understand how your wedding will look. Additionally, you will be able to meet all of the wonderful people who are working with you and have a little bit of leisure time to talk with them. Trust us, when it’s almost your wedding day, you won’t have the spare time to sit back and have a glass of wine with your wedding planner or the winemaker.

Remember to Have Fun!Willamette Valley Destination Wedding

Your wedding is a celebration of the love you and your partner have for one another. As you plan and make big decisions about your gala gathering, don’t lose sight of this. Make sure to include your partner and make sure he or she loves the destination venue as much as you do.

Marriage is a wonderful adventure. We hope we can help you and your partner get started on this amazing journey!

The Perfect Wine for Cinco De Mayo

April 28th, 2015 by Rachel

The Perfect Wine for Cinco De MayoCinco De Mayo is right around the corner!  What better way to celebrate this day of delicious food than with the perfect wine? Here are suggested pairings for five of our favorite Mexican meals.

Tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole – This is a classic starter at any Mexican table. The spice of the salsa paired with creamy guac and salty chips make this a perfect pairing for Pinot Gris, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Gris works the best if the salsa is a chunky Pico de Gallo.

Beef barbacoa tacos with lime and cilantro – Barbacoa spiced beef tacos have a very strong flavor all on its own. This pairs well with full-bodied reds like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon,  and Tempranillo.

Enchilada suizas – This cheesy, rich Mexican dish used to be incredibly popular, but is hard to find on menus these days. There is a lot of red sauce, heavy cream, and cheese involved in this dish, so it can be a little tricky to pair wine with it. The best wines for this dish are fruit-forward whites like Pinot Gris, unoaked Chardonnay, or Riesling. If you don’t want to drink white, you can also try a young Beaujolais with this dish.

Cheesy nachos with black beans and salsa – You don’t need creativity to make cheesy and delicious nachos and cheese into a meal. This can be a tough one to pair wine with though because of the spice of the salsa, starch of the beans, creaminess of cheese, and – let’s face it – greasiness of the deep-fried chips. We love sparkling wine for this scrumptious Mexican meal. Other options are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Barbera, or Zinfandel.

Steak fajitas – Who doesn’t love fajitas? There are so many flavors to enjoy, from the zing of lemon and lime to the spice of onions and peppers to the creaminess of sour cream. This flavor-forward Tex-Mex favorite requires a juicy, high-alcohol wine like Primitivo.

Some Additional Cinco De Mayo Pairing Advice

Mexican food varies greatly when it comes to spice. If you are more likely to eat milder foods, the go-to wines for most Mexican food are Pinot Noir or Zinfandel. If you want to kick the spice up a notch, try a sweet wine like Riesling or Rosé.

No matter what wine you drink or food you enjoy on May 5th, we hope you have a happy Cinco De Mayo!

Celebrating Earth Day with Sustainable Wine

April 21st, 2015 by Rachel

Sustainable Wine Practices for Earth DayWe take Earth Day seriously here at our sustainable Willamette Valley vineyard and winery. In fact, we celebrate Earth Day each and every day. Our goal at Youngberg Hill is not just to produce fine, delicious wine. We work hard to improve the health of our farm, including the soil, local plant life, insect life, and animal life.

After eleven years of organic farming, we can confidently say that our grapes are a true reflection of the the land. Additionally, we have practiced biodynamic farming since 2011, which means we work with nature to water and fertilize our crops.

Our current farming practices include planting beneficial cover crops which helps reduce the soil erosion that so often plagues farmland. These crops also allow nature to do quite a bit of work for us. Additional plants lower the acreage of bare soil, so fewer weeds can grow. Some plants also help keep the soil fertilized and attract beneficial insects like bees while discouraging destructive pests.

Pesticides are a huge problem in traditional farming, killing off destructive and beneficial insects alike. To end this problem, we utilize controlled spraying of soft pesticides like biodegradable oils,Biodynamic Farming soaps, and plant extracts. Additionally, we are participating in research that works to improve our methods so they are even more safe and environmentally friendly.

In the end, we want to become 100% biodynamic in our vineyard. In 2005, we earned sustainable certification for LIVE and Salmon Safe. In 2010 we were certified as “Sustainable” by the Oregon Wine Board. In the near future, we hope to improve the world around us and become certified as “Biodynamic”.

Sustainable farming practices are a big step toward making the earth a better, more beautiful place. So, this Earth Day, look into the practices of your favorite manufacturers. Are they sustainable, organic or biodynamic? What are they doing to help the environment recover from the pollutants humans have spilled into it over the years? Raise a glass to those who have responsible practices and write to any who aren’t. Who knows, you may just change the face of the earth.

Cheers and Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day

5 Tips for Destination Wedding Planning in Wine Country

April 14th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley BrideLet’s face it, destination weddings can be tough to plan. You aren’t at the location nor are you  interviewing people and discussing options in person. However, these barriers can be overcome. You can plan a really wonderful and gorgeous wedding out here in the Willamette Valley.

Tip #1

Come visit before you have paid out anything that is non-refundable. If you have never been to Oregon wine country or the Willamette Valley, it would be smart to pay us a visit before you give any wedding venue anything non-refundable. This will allow you to understand a few things:

  • How far the destination is from your hotel and the hotel in which your guests are staying.
  • What you will need when it comes to decoration and theme.
  • Which vendors might be your best options when it comes to cake, food, flowers, and more.
  • The logistics for transporting anything you are bringing from home.

Additionally, coming out for a visit will allow you and your significant other to feel assured in your choice of destination location.Destination Wedding Planning

Tip #2

Expand your view on hiring help. Because you are traveling to your wedding location, you have additional options when it comes to hiring professionals to help you. There are local options, which your destination location will likely recommend. There are also professionals like wedding planners and photographers who may be able to travel with you or travel to your location for you. It may even be a fun idea to hire a professional photographer to document not just your wedding, but your journey to the wedding location.

Tip #3

Coordinate with your wedding location. Long-distance wedding planning requires about the same amount of coordination in advance as a local wedding. However, this coordination is usually less hands-on than a wedding closer to home. To solve this problem, you can often get your destination wedding venue and long-distance vendors to complete the smaller tasks that make up a wedding.

For example, you should discuss setting up the wedding venue, your final guest numbers, seating plans, and placement of table cards with your wedding location. Additionally, get your florist, baker, photographer, caterer, DJ, and other vendors on the same page by giving them all the location and your planner’s information.

Tip #4Wine Country Wedding Ideas

Research local wedding law. That sounds daunting, but it really isn’t. All you need to know is what it will take for you to get a marriage license in the state in which you are being wed. You can likely find out with a quick Google search.

Tip #5

Plan in advance so your wedding is stress free. Get all the heavy lifting planned out beforehand. That way, on your big day, all you and your partner have to do is meet at the top of the aisle and say “I Do.”

Planning a destination wedding? Share your tips and experiences with us!