Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’ Category

Veraison! Oregon’s Wine Country Changing Colors

August 6th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Veraison blog

No, it’s not fall yet in Oregon Wine Country, but we are starting to see the first glimpse of Veraison in the Willamette Valley! Veraison is the ripening process as wine grapes change color from green to a deep blue purple for red wine grapes, autumn colors for grey grapes (or gris), and frosty light green for white grapes. This color change typically takes place in late August/early September. Bergström just facebooked that they are seeing the first signs of Veraison.  This is a month earlier than normal. California typically is going through Veraison at this time, and afterward Oregon follows suit, but every year brings something different! Specific to the Willamette Valley, the north end of the valley typically starts Veraison earlier. Since Youngberg Hill is located at a higher altitude, we are usually a couple of weeks behind the majority of vineyards.

Read the rest of this page »

Growing Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

July 31st, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

vineyard2013 has been a relatively good growing season so far for Oregon Pinot Noir. We had an early spring in terms of warmer temperatures and drier weather in April and May. Budbreak and bloom were on time or slightly ahead and we just concluded fruit set. The clusters are very full and berry size is even. We will be counting clusters and weighing clusters in the next couple of weeks to determine how much fruit to cut off to maximize quality.

We have raised catch wires to the top of the posts and hedged the vines. We have also removed leaves on the east side of the vines to open up the canopy and expose the fruit to cool morning sunlight. We are cutting and plowing under more cover crop to eliminate competition for water, as we are having a few more hotter days than normal and drier ground water. In fact, our number of hours hotter than 50 degrees is similar to California’s Sonoma County so far this year. We have had a few more days of higher than normal humidity, as well, that increases propensity for mildew pressure. Therefore, we have been more diligent in our spray program to ensure the vines are protected. The drier than normal conditions have made this easier to manage.

Read the rest of this page »

Budbreak 2013

May 4th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

budbreak blogWe started seeing budbreak on April 15th this year.  We haven’t had budbreak this early since 2005!  Why are we excited about this?  Budbreak is the “official” beginning of the seasonal growth cycle of the vines.  Although weather and temperatures may have a slight impact on the speed at which the vines grow through the season, everything hinges on and calculates back to the number of days since budbreak; whether it be the timing of bloom, fruit set, veraison, or harvest.

Why is this so important for us here in the Willamette Valley?  We are in a cooler climate than most grape growing regions and therefore do not get as many degree hours of heat per day.  So it is important for us to get as many days above 60 degrees as possible.  An earlier spring and later fall both help in providing those additional days.  Regardless of the weather, it still takes the vines about 180 days from budbreak to harvest (full ripening of the fruit).  It is approximately 110 days from bloom to harvest.

We consistently are pushing against the envelope in October to get fruit ripe before the rains start in earnest. So the more dry time we get, the better.  And an earlier budbreak helps to give us that time.  We hope we are blessed with equal good fortune throughout the summer months!

Do The Glasses Really Matter?

March 30th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

wine glasses matterYes!

Wine glasses are designed for different varietals and for different reasons.  Is it necessary to use the “correct” glass every time?  No.  And probably not practical. However, there are a couple of guidelines that may help you enjoy your wines more.

A larger glass is always better, regardless of a red or white wine.  White wines typically do not need as large a bowl to aerate, but it doesn’t hurt.  It is unfortunate when wines are tasted and/or served in a small glass, because the aromas are stifled.  Red wines especially need bigger bowled glasses so they can be agitated more to open up, stir the aromatics, and warm to the occasion.

 

 

White in Time!

March 16th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

white wineWith the approach of spring, warmer weather and white wine comes to mind.  We are preparing to bottle our 2012 Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in April.  Which is timely, because we sold out the last of our 2011’s in September.  We leave our white wines in stainless steel tanks after fermentation, then cold stabilize, and bottle.  Different from our Pinot Noir, we make our Gris and Blanc to drink young, so they will be available in May – just in time for warmer weather and sunny skies.
Come join us on the Hill for a taste of Spring!

 

I Am Woman – Hear Me Pour

December 22nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

As we all know, women get better with age, just as wine does.  But there are many more reasons to talk about wine and women. They are both important to men.  Women make over 80 percent of wine purchasing decisions. It is suggested that women have better wine tasting abilities. There are more and more woman wine makers across the world.

Woman winemakers in the Willamette Valley are making their presence known and influencing the industry as it continues to grow.  As the list below attests, women are playing a significant and leading role in the Oregon wine industry.  And it’s not just about wine, but includes all the periferal businesses associated with wine and wine tourism in the valley.  Women are significant influencers in many wineries in the valley, if not the key decision makers.  Women are making decisions in label design, packaging, brand building, and marketing. They are involved in glassware, gifts, and wine paraphernalia of all types.

The next time you raise a glass, you may be toasting the work of a woman.

A to Z: Cheryl Francis

Amity Vineyards: Darcy Pendergrass

Antica Terra: Maggie Harrison

Ardiri Winery and Vineyards: Gail Lizak

Archery Summit Winery: Anna Matzinger

Chehalem: Wynne Peterson-Nedry

Coeur de Terre: Lisa Neal

De Ponte: Isabelle Dutarte

Domaine Drouhin Oregon: Veronique Drouhin-Boss

Helioterra: Anne Evenreiter Hubatch

Hip Chicks Do Wine: Renee Neely and Laurie Lewis

Honeywood Winery: Marlene K. Gallick

Kelley Fox Wines and Scott Paul Wines: Kelley Fox

Kramer Vineyards: Kimberly Kramer

Laura Volkman: Laura Volkman

Momtazi: Tahmiene Momtazi

Noble Pig: Cathy Pollack

Orchid Heights Winery: Carole Wyscaver

Patricia Green Cellars: Patricia Green

Ponzi: Luisa Ponzi

Phelps Creek: Alexandrine Roy

Privè: Tina Hammond

Penner-Ash Wine Cellars and Alexana Estate Vineyards and Winery: Lynn Penner-Ash

Redman Wines: Cathy Redman

River’s Edge Winery: Yvonne Landt

Stoller Vineyards: Melissa Burr

Stone Wolf Vineyards: Linda Lindsall

Sweet Cheeks Winery: Lorrie Normann

Tyee Cellars: Merrilee Buchanan

Westrey Wine Company: Amy Wesselman

Winter’s Hill Vineyard: Delphine Gladhart

Wine Tour Oregon

November 24th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

Wine touring in the Willamette Valley can sometimes be a bit daunting. There are over 250 wineries in the valley, and each winery may produce six or seven different varietals. Because of the fluctuations in weather, soil types, altitudes, and overall location (terroir), the Willamette Valley is divided into six distinct sub-AVAs, reaching from Portland to Eugene.

Wine lovers travel to our beloved wine country from all over the world, and we try to assist them in getting a broad perspective of the various sub-AVAs, and also sampling their favorite style of Pinot Noirs. Depending on whether guests are with us for one day or five, we will guide them in a way to minimize their travel on any particular day by concentrating on one or two sub-AVAs; or give them a whirlwind tour across all six sub-AVAs so they have a chance to experience the broad variation in wines produced throughout the Willamette Valley.

We recommend only four or five wine tastings/wineries per day as more than that will tend to leave your taste buds dulled and not give you enough time to experience each winery to its fullest. Most guests drive themselves, in which case a map outlining the various AVAs and our recommendations within each may prove helpful: http://youngberghill.com/our-area/wine-driving-tour/ .  Others guests prefer to be driven by a tour company, and we are happy to recommend a tour that will fit your interests. There are customized tours on our website that we invite you to peruse: http://youngberghill.com/specials-packages/ .  What’s most important is that our guests leave feeling that they’ve had a true Oregon wine country experience! 

 

 

How Do You Know What You Like?

November 21st, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

Many guests to our tasting room plead ignorance regarding their ability to describe what they are tasting and what they like in a wine. They are somewhat shy about expressing their opinion because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I like to suggest to guests that they start out with the simple “yum” or “yuk” approach. The first and most important thing is whether you like it or not. If not, then your evaluation can simply stop there. If your initial reaction is “yum”, then you may also stop there.  And if you do want to describe what you believe it tastes like or why you like it, it is best to use your own words and descriptions. It is not necessary to use pontifications such as those used by wine critics.

Describing it in your own terms will help you better remember the wine and understand why you like one wine and not another.

Having said that, there is one good reason to have a better understanding of what characteristics you like in a wine and be able to express them. When in a restaurant or a wine retailer, you may be shopping for a wine or ordering from a list of wines you are unfamiliar with. In those situations, there will likely be someone to help you make a selection. But how can he help if he does not know what you like in a wine? That is where it is beneficial to be able to explain the characteristics you like, in your own words.  It will be easier for you to explain and easier to be understood.  And if you’re in a restaurant and are not sure what you like, be adventurous!

 

 

A Thankful Winemaker

November 3rd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

This time of year on Youngberg Hill is always one of reflection and gratitude.  This past growing season was truly a blessing – an early spring, warm temperatures, no mildew pressure, good September and October days of sunshine and cooler breezes.  We now have the grapes in the winery safe and sound. The fruit came in clean, healthy, and without much sorting necessary. As the wine begins to develop in the fermentation tank, the aromas stir the mind and recall the balmy afternoons and cool nights in August and September. The bright fruit characteristics remind me of the early spring sunshine and sporadic light showers intermixed with rainbows.

In the tasting room, we are presently putting final touches on tasting notes for the release of the 2009 Jordan Pinot Noir and reflect back on the 2009 season. It was a warmer spring and summer, but cooled off in September and October. The grapes ripened easily and in their own time, and weather cooperated. In the winery, the fruit went through fermentation with amazing vitality. Coming out of the tank and into the barrel, we were amazed at how appealing and approachable the wine was at that early stage. And now tasting three years later, it brings back those memories as if it were yesterday.

We are also thankful of course to all of our friends and neighbors who helped us bring in the fruit this year.  Everyone worked so tirelessly and carefully – it touched our hearts, and we look forward to seeing you all again.  But we insist that next time you come to Youngberg Hill, you relax and sip some vino!

 

 

How Does This Wine Season Compare?

October 21st, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

As farmers/grape growers we sometimes find ourselves complaining about any weather conditions that are not ideal, but a few days of bad weather does not a vintage make.  Generally a cooler season is the most favorable, but a hotter year does not necessarily result in California style wines.  Our “hot” does not compare with what California considers hot.  As a result, I don’t suspect anyone will be producing “fruit bombs” this season, even though we had less than average rainfall and higher temperatures. Remember 2006? That was a hotter year, yet it produced bigger, more alcoholic wines. I see 2012 to be a comfortable blend of the 2006 and 2008 vintages. From what I’ve seen, most fruit coming in is not reflecting high alcohol due to high sugar levels. The end of September and October have been sunny and cooler, which have slowed sugars and aided in flavor development.

Low precipitation can be countered with irrigation, but we can still allow the characteristics of the fruit to come through.  If the season is a drier one, then let that be reflected in the wine produced. It does not mean the wine will be of any less quality. It only means that it may not be the ideally balanced wine we would all love to produce each year.