The stomp team proudly representing Youngberg Hill is training with daily climbs up the vineyard slopes, readying for the Carlton Crush! They have been training since the main “Lucy Event” back in May, which included the Lucy Look-alike Contest. From that we culled our four Lucy beauties, ready to take on all comers in the first annual Carlton Crush stomping competition. While the practice of crushing the grapes is typically not done with bare feet here in the New World, the idea has us all flash back to one of the most popular Lucy episodes. In fact, in Oregon, and especially concerning the Pinot Noir grape, the concept of crush applies more to the time of year and harvest than it does to what actually happens to the grapes. Because Pinot Noir skins are thin and fragile, we take great care in keeping the grapes whole and not bruising the skins prior to fermentation. Therefore, the idea of crushing Pinot Noir grapes makes most of us winemakers cringe. But harvest, otherwise known as crush, is a great time of celebration, and Carlton Crush is one of many celebrations that will take place during the month of September. We will also be hosting our annual harvest dinner on September 29th up on The Hill to celebrate the season’s harvest, to share the bounty with guests and neighbors, and to thank those that helped all season long. So whether you enjoy wine, beautiful weather, fun and games, or are just looking for something different to do, come out to Carlton and watch as Team Lucy begins its reign as the #1 stomp team at the Carlton Crush!
Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’ Category
September 8th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
September 2nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
As farmers of wine grapes, like most other farmers, our main topic of discussion is, more often than not, the weather. Fortunately, the weather in the Willamette Valley this year has been more cooperative than in most of the country. Coming from the Midwest, we know what hot, dry weather can do to crops, and we sympathize with our fellow farmers who are currently experiencing drought conditions there.
We are getting a little heat ourselves right now, and this summer was slated is to be about 5 degrees above normal. This type of weather and humidity levels are conducive to grape growing in the valley. It was an earlier, warmer spring and the weather during bud break, bloom, and fruit set was favorable. Humidity has been low, so mildew pressure has been less problematic.
So, what does it mean for this year’s vintage? It’s too early to determine. There are still two and a half months of growing season AND weather that could either destroy the crop or make it the best vintage ever. Not to mention other natural influences like birds, that love to pick the grapes before we do!
The grapes will begin “veraison” in the next couple of weeks, which is the beginning of the ripening process when the grapes turn color. September is when we hope for sunny, mild weather to ripen the fruit. Too much sunshine and heat will result in higher sugars, bigger fruit, and potential raisoning. Not enough of these, and we may have to intervene to get suitable fruit.
But Mother Nature is in charge now, and we are patient and watchful, and optimistic.
August 17th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
Oregon’s 2012 fruit set is now complete in and we have our first idea of what our crop might be like when it comes time to harvest. The size and shape of the newly formed clusters suggests more even ripening and cleaner fruit than last season. A looser cluster, which we’re currently seeing, allows air to flow through, keeping the fruit cleaner.
What else is going on in the vineyard? Removing leaves on the east side of the fruit zone. Shoot positioning. Raising catch wires. Hedging. Making a second pass with the in-row cultivator. And mowing.
The vines are now slowing down vegetal growth and focusing more of their energy on the fruit itself. The next month will see the growth of little green BB’s, which will bloom into full-sized grapes prior to ripening.
Mother Nature is right on schedule!
August 4th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
Steamboat Inn, on the North Umpqua river east of Roseberg, Oregon, is a beautiful and remote fly fishing area. It is also the birthplace of the annual Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference, which was founded in July of 1980. This conference originally brought together colleagues within the Oregon wine industry for a week of sharing and problem-solving like no other gathering did. In an impressively cooperative effort, they met year after year, bringing samples of their wines to share with their counterparts, and learning from each other how they could make better Pinot. The tradition and collaboration continues, with the 31st annual Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference took place the last week of July. http://www.steamboatpinot.com/
Today, winemakers from all over the world come to Steamboat to compare winemaker notes, share trouble wines, discuss vineyard and winery practices, and develop relationships that keep the exchange of ideas going throughout the year. The focus is Pinot noir, but many discussions go beyond that varietal and benefit all. Every region of the world benefits from each other as different experiences bring new ideas to light. For example, in Australia, they started using whey as a substitute for sulfur in the prevention of mildew, and now many of us in the Willamette Valley are doing the same. The examples go on and on.
While the wine industry in Oregon is quite young, our learning curve has been much steeper than that of old world countries due to our cooperation and communications. It has always been a belief here that it is bad for everyone in the region if one producer makes a bad wine. Conversely, if we all make good wines, we all benefit. That has happened in spades for Pinot noir in the Willamette Valley. And it is pioneers like Stephen Carey of Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Myron Redford of Amity that have kept that spirit alive in a formal way at Steamboat.
July 28th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
Summer is here, the wines are lip-smacking great, and we now have an expansive new deck to enjoy our wines, the views, and acoustical music on Thursday from 5:30 to 8:00. The tasting room is open from 11 to 5 every day, and we continue to see new people every day. Being a little further south than most tasting rooms in the Willamette Valley, we offer a relaxed atmosphere where you will be treated to a tasting by the winemaker himself. Wayne loves to share stories and information about the wines that add another dimension to the tasting, and if you want to be seated out on the deck and enjoy the views, he will be happy to pour outside.
We continue to welcome guests from all over the world, as well as Boston, Washington DC, New York, Minneapolis, Colorado, Atlanta and others. We love to hear stories of how our guests first discovered Oregon Pinot Noir, and why they wanted to come to Oregon to taste it in person. They are typically well-traveled and have been to many other wine regions of the world, but find something special in a glass of Pinot Noir from our beloved region.
Our tasting guests enjoy learning more about the growing of the grapes, wine making, and all that goes on at Youngberg Hill. They often request vineyard tours or a barrel tasting to learn more about their favorite wine. We enjoy educating them on everything from geology of the valley, to fruit thinning, to fermentation. Getting the back story enriches the whole experience.
As things heat up, our cool crisp whites are a nice addition to the flight of wines you will enjoy on the Hill. So come join us on the deck, watch the busy birds, the not-so-busy cows, and the beautiful backdrop of mountains as you sip the wines and savor the afternoon.
July 22nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
The 2nd Annual Artful Giving Blanket Concert that will benefit the Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel is taking place this Saturday, July 28th. The Soulful Giving Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on cancer research, is hosting the event. Oregon business icon Junki Yoshida and his family were inspired to create the Soulful Giving foundation after suffering the loss of family, friends and business associates to the often deadly disease of cancer.
Ticket holders will enjoy an afternoon of Northwest art displays, great music, select wines and gourmet food. Spread your blanket under the trees on the beautiful Yoshida Estate along the scenic Sandy River in Troutdale. Jordan Bailey, our 9-year-old daughter, will be opening the evening’s musical entertainment with the National Anthem at 1:30PM. We look forward to having your support for Jordan and this wonderful cause.
The concert runs from 1 pm to 8:30 pm on July 28th, and general admission tickets are still available. For tickets call 503-731-3729 and for more information visit soulfulgiving.org
One hundred percent of the profits from the concert benefit the Randall Children’s Hospital, to help them continue their good work.
ALL ATTENDEES MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OLD
July 21st, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
Exciting because we are at bloom, meaning the flowers are blooming on the vines and will begin self-pollinating. The bloom is a very fine follicle-like flower that is hardly visible from more than a couple of feet away.
Anxious because as pollination occurs, the beginning of fruit set starts. Fruit set is the process of each flower transforming into a grape. It is an anxious time because this process determines much of what the potential yield will be, and the quality level of the fruit. Weather is particularly important at this stage, as we do not want a lot of rain or wind that may shatter flowers and reduce fruit set.
And busy because the vines are growing an inch a day right now, generating a lot of foliage to provide the leaves necessary for photosynthesis. Because of this growth, we are constantly in the vineyard straightening by hand the fast growing shoots, so that they do not overlap and entangle each other, which would reduce photosynthesis and provide a breeding ground for unwanted mildew. We re-position these shoots by installing catch wires to hold the vines in place.
In the meantime, we are also on the tractor plowing under cover crop (to reduce the competition for water), cultivating between the plants (to eliminate weeds and water competition), mowing, and spraying as needed (to protect the new vulnerable growth.)
We will be discussing these and other farming practices as they relate to our holistic farming approach at our upcoming seminar on July 26 from 2:30 to 5:00 here at Youngberg Hill. We’d love for you to join us!
June 30th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
The IPNC, located in McMinnville Oregon, is now in its 26th year as one of the world’s premier events focused solely on Pinot Noirs. It is a rare opportunity to taste some of the best Pinot Noirs from around the world, side by side, paired with specifically chosen food, and centered around educational sessions to learn more about what makes Pinot Noir special.
While the focus of the event was originally Oregon Pinot Noir (as is Oregon Pinot Camp today, or OPC, held in mid-June each year), it quickly expanded to include Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Australia, New Zealand, California, Germany, Austria, and Canada. To have the opportunity to taste Pinot Noir from these very different regions of the world and compare them to each other is a rare experience.
Rarer still is the gathering of winemakers from these regions, as they discuss the challenges in their particular growing area and what makes their terroir distinctive.
IPNC always runs the last weekend in July and promises to be even more highly attended than in the past.
We are looking forward to running into old friends who share our passion for the grape, and welcoming new vintners into the fold. The guest speakers are well chosen and the group will benefit from their expertise. But mostly the IPNC is about celebration – a celebration of Pinot Noir and the beauty of the wines produced from this special grape.
June 16th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
To be truthful, the girls are not excited about staying home and working all day, but it’s going to be a busy summer for them. Natasha is going to be working at all the on-site events, setting up and breaking down, and taking on a new expanded role. By spending more time working in the vineyard, she will better understand the different phases the vines go through. She also will be working in our garden to help harvest the organic vegetables. As for fun, if you know Natasha you know she is passionate about books. She has a stack of them ready for her to escape into.
As for Jordan, she has a summer of song, including a music camp with Aaron Meyer in Portland. She will be performing at the Artful Giving Blanket Concert in July in Troutdale and the Linfield Orchestra Benefit at Youngberg Hill. She will not be involved in the events at the vineyard as much as her sister and will be working alongside her in the garden. She is learning some aspects of the vineyard, but gets more engaged at harvest time.
For Aspen, it will be a summer of play. Not that the other two won’t get their play time in, but other than going along with her sisters and learning to swim without her floaty, she has no planned activities. We do have some family time speckled throughout the summer.
There will be plenty of time for the girls to play, explore, and learn all summer. Our goal as parents is to ensure that by August the girls are dying to go back to school simply to avoid manual labor. While they may not appreciate it now, their summer chores will give them a keen sense of responsibility and work ethic, and at least an appreciation for the deliberate process of growing quality grapes.
June 9th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey
When selecting a wine for dinner, many of us typically play it safe. We tend to choose a wine we know and like. It’s like driving the same route home every day without even thinking of it because we do it so often. We recently had a wonderful experience playing with our food at the Wine Country Cooking Studio in Dundee with Chef Wendy Bennett. It was an experience that was interactive, educational, creative, and hands on. Something as simple as making a salad with ingredients you hadn’t thought of before but were right in front of you. We played with the food and gained an appreciation we didn’t have before. It got me thinking, why not play with wine the same way? We love when we are able to share with guests how the grapes are grown and the wine is made; you can see them light up with discovery. Everything comes together with an understanding of what you’re enjoying and why. Yes, wine can be fun if you play with it. We see it daily in our tasting room when a guest might taste our Pinot Blanc, or something else they haven’t tried before. Or when someone visits us from another state, and experiences Oregon Pinot Noir for the first time.
When was the last time you played with your wine?