Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’ Category

Harvest!

October 20th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

This is always an exciting time in wine country. It is also an anxious time.  There is the excitement of the plump grapes coming into the winery to begin their evolution to wine, but also the anxiousness of all that goes on during harvest to get the fruit safely into the winery in a timely manner.

When to pick? We are monitoring the sugar level, pH, total acidity, seed ripening, lignification of the stems, and flavor development. We continue to monitor the weather patterns, the vitality of the vines, and the timing of the astrological signs (biodynamic timing).

So, here we are, at 23 to 24 brix (percent by volume sugar content), 3.4 pH, 7 TA (titratable acidity), good brown seeds, brown stems, flavors coming in fully, and the stars in perfect alignment.

We will pick the fruit between 7:00 and 11:00 in the morning to get the fruit in the winery cool and give us the rest of the day (and night if needed) to de-stem the Pinot Noir grapes and get them into fermentation tanks to cold stabilize before fermentation begins. The Pinot Gris will be picked, taken to the winery, and immediately be pressed off the skins and put into stainless steel tanks to begin fermenting.

The weather has been great this fall with moderate temperatures and sunshine, much like 2008. The fruit has held up very well. The birds have not found the fruit yet.  And the fruit is ripening much more timely than the last couple of years.  Things are looking promising for a very fine vintage.

On The Day You Were Born

October 6th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

On the day you were born the sun was shining.  You were not alone and you felt strong.  As you grew, life was fun and easy, without a care in the world.  You had everything you needed to grow and flourish.  You had many friends and close family around you and your life seemed happy.  Then things started to change.  You witnessed many changes in yourself and in those around you.  You felt less strong and more vulnerable.  There were many dangers along the way and sometimes simple luck determined survival.  Some of your friends were sheltered, supported, and made it through the storms, while others had none and vanished from sight.  There were times when the sun didn’t shine and the wind blew cold.  You witnessed disease and death, and you watched those around you – your friends and family – perish and you wondered “how will I survive?” but somehow you did.  You grew up beautifully and many envied you for this.  Somewhere towards the end you looked around at your world and didn’t know if you truly mattered.  Was it all in vain?  Was your life worth the struggle?  Then you saw that you were never alone.  You were part of a whole and connected to everything else.  In the end you knew that you did matter, and that you were exactly who you needed to be, not just for you but for the world around you.

Then your life was over.  Your body was cared for with loving hands.   The people who cared for you knew they had a responsibility to honor your beautiful life.  After a few years went by a glass was raised high and you were appreciated for everything you were and had become.  Your life was toasted by those that pondered the same way you did at life and wanted the same things you were searching for.  In the end, you were loved.

The life of a single grape.  The life of you.

 

 

Wine Investment Advice

September 29th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

If you had purchased $1,000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1,000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock, you would have $49.00 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of wine one year ago, drunk all the wine, then turned in the bottles for the recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink and recycle.

 

 

Coming of Harvest

September 22nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

It’s beginning to look a lot like harvest, everywhere you go.

The air is crisper. The leaves in the trees are turning color. The grapes have changed color. Now it’s a waiting game, and fervent hoping that the good weather continues. We have had great weather for the most part this year with the timing of bud break, bloom and veraison, and heat units are tracking very similarly to 2008. The optimal weather in October was the pinnacle of a great 2008 harvest, and so far everything is in alignment to repeat that good fortune this year. The weather looks great for the rest of September – maybe a little warmer than normal, which will ripen the grapes a little faster – and we’re crossing our fingers for next month.

We will most likely harvest our young block of grapes from the Camelot block sometime in the first week of October. They are at about 20 brix (20% sugar) right now and typically increase by about 1.5 brix per week when the weather is good – sunny and dry. Our target is 23 brix. The pinot gris in the Aspen block will most likely be ready 10 days later, followed by the Natasha and Jordan blocks respectively.

Besides sugar content of the grapes, we are also looking at pH and total acidity to determine their readiness. We are also evaluating the maturity of the grapes; how liquid the pupl of the fruit is, how brown the seeds are, and how the flavors are coming in.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Team Lucy to Dominate Carlton Crush

September 8th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

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!

It’s All About the Weather

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.

 

 

BABY FRUIT

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!

 

 

Working Together, Learning Together

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.

 

 

Tasting Room

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.

 

 

Artful Giving Concert

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