Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

Planning a Spring Trip to Oregon Wine Country

February 3rd, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill in Oregon Wine Country
Spring is a gorgeous time of year to visit Oregon wine country. The vines grow bright new leaves, flowers bloom throughout the Willamette Valley, and baby animals populate wine country. This year is a particularly great time to visit as the Willamette Valley will be celebrating it’s 50th anniversary and we at Youngberg Hill are celebrating our 25th anniversary! With that in mind, here are some fun activities to do here in wine country.

Tours

Tours are a great way to take in all the spring colors. You have a number of options here in wine country. You can take a balloon tour with Vista Balloons or Balloon Flying Service of Oregon. Helicopter tours are also available with Konect Aviation. Another option is seeing wine country by horseback with Equestrian Wine Tours.Touring Oregon Wine Country

Self guided tours throughout our valleys are also fun. Check out our driving tour map and our bike tour map and plan out your wine tasting trip. Just be sure to designate a driver and be safe!

Events

We have an events calendar which we update very regularly. This lists all of the activities happening around wine country and beyond that we will be involved with. There are also plenty of local activities like:

McMinnville Wine and Food Classic This culinary event runs from March 13-15 and features local wineries and chefs demonstrating their skills for you. Sounds delicious!

Youngberg Hill Half, 5K, and 10K Run We are hosting a fantastic run through scenic farmlands and gently rolling hills on Sunday, May 17th. After your run, enjoy a tasting along with a number of finish line festivities. Get all the details on our calendar.

Tulip Fest The annual festival celebrates various tulip blooms and colors. It is located in Woodburn, OR and runs from March 27-May 3rd. We can say from experience that it is absolutely beautiful.

Flavors of Carlton This annual celebration features Yamhill Valley art, food, and wine in Carlton, OR. The event is on April 18th.

Memorial Weekend in Wine Country This weekend (May 23-25) kicks off with wine tastings and includes special events, music and more throughout the Willamette Valley.

These are just a few of the many, many activities happening during Spring this year. Check back with our events calendar and use resources like this calendar to find out about additional activities.

Food and Wine

There are over 150 wineries, tasting rooms, and vineyards within a 20 minute drive of Youngberg Hill. Additionally, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants that feature locally grown and produced food, wine, and beer. Some of our favorites are Bistro Maison, Joel Palmer House, and Nick’s Italian Cafe.

Let us know your budget and your favorite types of food and we can make a more personalized recommendation.

You can get links to many of the places right on our website, on the attractions page. We hope to see you here in Oregon wine country during our bright and beautiful spring!

How Wine Bottling Works

January 27th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine bottling at Youngberg HillPatience is the keyword in making wine. One has to let it sit in barrels and go through the fermentation process until it is clarified enough for bottling. Even when the wine has clarified to a point where wine bottling is the next step, the process cannot occur for a few days. One must first rack the wine, let it settle for a again, and then go into the bottling process.

Youngberg Hill is a relatively small winery. This means that our winemaking process is tightly controlled and monitored. The precise moment the wine is ready for bottling can be pinpointed and bottling can start very rapidly.

The concept of bottling seems pretty simple. You are putting the wine into a bottle for further aging or for sale. Because wine reacts chemically with air, this process is a little more complicated than filling a bottle with water or some other liquid. We try to allow very little air into the bottle while it is being filled. However, a minute amount of air is needed so that the bottle can handle temperature changes and so that the wine aging process can continue to occur.

After wine bottles are filled, they should be corked or capped promptly. When wine bottles are freshly filled they need to remain standing for a few days to allow any inside pressures to equalize. After a few days though, wine bottles should be stored on their sides in a cool cellar.

Wine doesn’t stop aging once it is out of the barrel. Some wines benefit from bottle aging. Others are drinkable right away. You can often find recommendations about drinkability in the tasting notes of a particular wine. You can find out tasting notes here.

Do you want to find out more about the winemaking process? Contact us or visit us!

Looking Back at 2014

January 6th, 2015 by Rachel

2014 harvestWe had a fantastic year last year. As we look forward to 2015, we wanted to take a moment to recognize all of the wonderful friends, clients, and family who made 2014 such a great year.

Harvest

Not only did we have a really great harvest in 2014, we were able to taste the fruits of our 2013 harvest. Additionally, we planted up a new block which is dedicated to the production of Chardonnay grapes. This means we have a very exciting wine production future ahead of us!

2014 Recognition

We received some really wonderful recognition this year from:

  • Oregon Bride Magazine: Best All-Inclusive Venue in the Valley
  • Seattle Times listed our 2012 Cuvee Pinot Noir among the Top 50 wines for 2014
  • 2014 Oregon Wine Awards gave us Gold for our 2010 Cuvee and the 2010 Barrel Select
  • 2014 Sunset International Wine Competition awarded our 2010 Pinot Noir
  • BedandBreakfast.com listed us amoung the Top 10 Vineyard Inns
  • Great ratings on our 2012 Cuvee, 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir, 2012 Natasha Pinot Noir, and 2011 Cuvee Pinot Noir from The PinotFile

2014 Seattle Times Top 50 2014 Oregon Bride

Community Events

We had some great events at the winery and in the local Willamette Valley and Yamhill Valley communities. These types of get togethers allow us to stay in touch with the local area and provide a fun venue for us to meet new friends and reconnect with old friends. Here is just a quick snippet of a few events:

Last year we hosted several winemaker dinners which allowed us to connect with our wine club members as well as make new friends who wanted to learn about wine. Looking forward, we have a number of winemaker dinners already on the calendar – so if you enjoy delicious food paired with fantastic wine and wonderful conversation, be sure to come to one of our dinners!

Throughout the year we hosted a number of passport events here in Oregon wine country. We will stay involved in the McMinnville AVA and other passport events throughout 2015. We are also going to be a part of the 29th Annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in July of this year – so keep an eye on our calendar or subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on wine country events throughout the year.

In May of 2014 we participated in the Oregon Wines Fly Free program. This wasn’t just a local event – it worked with Alaska Airlines to promote local wineries, specifically in Oregon wine country.

We had the opportunity to host the Linfield Orchestra Benefit last year. We will be hosting again this year. Be sure to check out the calendar for details.

The many opportunities we have had to connect with friends old and new and to work with other Willamette valley vineyards really made our year.

Thank YousThank you!

We wanted to take a moment to thank all those who reviewed and voted for our wines and our Inn. We would be nothing without our wonderful customers. Here are just a few of the fantastic reviews we received just in 2014:

Great Northwest Destinations called us “One of the most beautiful, serene, and relaxing places in the Pacific Northwest” while stating that our wine is “seriously delicious.”

Sips with Friends said that our 2010 Barrel Select was “a stunner.”

American Winery Guide said “Why would you want to go anywhere else?” They also said of our wines “The wines reflect the terroir because of Wayne’s farming philosophies.”2014 Wedding

One Weddingwire.com reviewer said about her wedding at Youngberg Hill: “Youngberg is the most wonderful place for a wedding. We were so happy with our choice of venue, we would not do anything different.”

Another reviewer on Tripadvisor.com said “The owners and staff make you feel more like family than temporary visiters. We are already return customers and will continue to be so in the future!”

These are just a few of the many, many wonderful reviews we received in 2014. We closed with that last one because it’s so true. We consider every one of you family.

To read even more reviews and articles, click here.

So, let us know what we can do to help you stay, plan an event, or enjoy wine from Youngberg Hill this year. We are excited to see you!

Greeting the New Year

December 23rd, 2014 by Rachel

Happy New YearIt’s traditional at the close of the year to think about the new year. We had a truly fantastic 2014. We were honored to host a number of weddings and many great guests. We received some wonderful awards and a number of excellent reviews. Our wines were featured in newspapers and magazines around the U.S. The 2014 harvest was extremely promising and we are looking forward to the wines produced from it with excitement.

As we look toward 2015, one word comes up over and over again. That is: passion. We work to constantly live our passion. What does that mean for us?

It means means creating an environment for our guests Wine from Youngberg Hillwhere they feel comfortable, at home, among friends, welcome, and relaxed. It means growing grapevines and producing fantastic grapes in a holistic way. It means improving the environment we surround ourselves with. It means creating wines which allow you to taste the care given to the land.

We are lucky enough to live our passion each and every day here at Youngberg Hill. It is a thrill for us to share this passion with you – into 2015 and beyond.

Tell us below what your passion is – and how you intend to fulfill it this bright new year. Cheers to you!

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.

What Makes Some Wine Have Higher Alcohol Content Than Others?

November 4th, 2014 by Rachel

Wine grapesYou may have noticed that wine alcohol levels have slowly inched up over the years. While it was hard to find a wine that naturally reached 14% alcohol by volume 35 years ago, it’s pretty common now. This high alcohol content has been attributed to the changing palate of the modern drinker as well as to climate change.

The modern wine connoisseur (that’s you!) tends to want softer tannins and lower acidity. Translation: we want something immediately drinkable. While many people buy a bottle, take it home and drink it, very few have wine cellars where they can let the tannins in their delicious beverages mellow and age to perfection.

This means winemakers like Wayne can allow the grapes a little more hang time to collect some extra sunlight and sugar before harvest. Another advantage to allowing grapes to ripen more fully before the wine is created is there is a lower acidity to the wine. The intention of the harvest is to hit the sweet spot where the perfect amount of sugar intersects with the right amount of acid. In Oregon wine country, we also have to consider weather conditions. While we have had a bit of an Indian summer this year, there have been early cold spells in previous years, where the grapes had to be harvested just before the weather turned.

The ripeness of grapes when harvested, as well as any overripe grapes that sneak into a harvest can affect the overall alcohol content of the wine. As we have stated in previous articles, we hand harvest to ensure only the best grapes are used to create your wine. This means you don’t get grapes in your Youngberg Hill wine that we didn’t intend to use.

Once the fruit is harvested, the fermentation process eats up all those sugars and creates alcohol. Pinot Noir is naturally in the higher alcohol range – around 12-14% alcohol by volume on average. You can expect a much higher alcohol by volume in dessert wines like sherry or port.

Do you like the lower acidity and higher alcohol volume trend in wine? Let us know by commenting 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?

Four Great Questions to Ask at a Winemaker Dinner

October 7th, 2014 by Rachel

Winemaker DinnerA winemaker dinner is a laid back, unpretentious food and wine pairing event which allows people to enjoy great food and wine along with excellent conversation.  It’s also a good time to pick a winemaker’s brain.  However, even at events designed for some question and answer, it can be hard to figure out what to ask. With our upcoming harvest winemaker dinner on October 25th, we thought we could give you some ideas for great questions you may want to ask the winemaker.

#1. Where in the world do your favorite wines originate?
The winemaker clearly chose his or her vineyard because of the ability of the terroir to grow specific grapes. However, the varietals grown come from a different location, like France or Italy.  The winemaker dinner is a great time to dig deep and learn more about the history of your wine.

#2. Can you explain why this wine pairs well with the food I’m eating?
Sometimes you’ll get a pairing that don’t make sense in your head – but is just right in your mouth. The winemaker and chef have gone over the food, down to the sauces, that pair just right with the wine served. Ask the winemaker why the pairings were made – you might be surprised to find that, without that particular sauce, your duck and Pinot Noir wouldn’t match well at all.

#3. What characteristics do you think we can expect in wine coming from the most recent/upcoming harvest?
It’s wine harvesting season!  This is the perfect time to pick the winemaker’s brain about what he expects to come out of this year’s bounty.

#4. What is the story of this particular wine?
The winemaker has the real in-depth knowledge behind that vintage and varietal of wine. Get the scoop.  Ask about the process of deciding your wine was ready for bottling and what the weather was like for that particular year. You’ll learn more about wine – and will likely hear a few fun stories along with way.

In the end, a winemaker dinner is time to sit back, relax, and enjoy. You can learn more about the wine you are drinking than you’d be able to at a restaurant – and catch up with friends. No matter why you attend, we hope to see you at the dinner this month!  Will you be able to come?  Click here to get the details.

McMinnville History and Geography

July 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

July History Blog- Pic 1

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/