Archive for the ‘Wineries’ Category

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?

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.

Cheers!

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!

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

Twelve Photos Every Bride Must Consider for Their Wine Country Wedding

March 24th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country Wedding PhotosHere in the Willamette Valley we have some of the most beautiful wine country in America. This means that any couple planning a wedding or elopement here in wine country needs to make sure they get extra special shots that encapsulate both where they are and the love they have for one another. As any soon-to-be-married couple may guess, it’s important to discuss such special shots with their photographer. That’s why we have provided twelve shots to consider for your wine country wedding.

The Long Shot: Make sure to capture a sweeping shot that includes the newlyweds and the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.

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Candid Shots: We know, we know, you’re not just hanging out with your significant other, but the appearance of a candid shot has a wonderful charm that should be captured.

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The Dress: There is something incredibly beautiful about a dress juxtaposed with the natural greenery of a vineyard.

Wine country wedding

The Bride: The lovely lady is the jewel of the event. Make sure you capture her with the gorgeous wine country landscape.

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The Ladies and the Gents: Your support group – meaning your bridesmaids and groomsmen – should be captured amongst the surrounding greenery.

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The Loving Shot: Your wedding or elopement is a celebration of your love and commitment to each other. Make sure to get some gorgeous shots that show this.

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The Out of Focus Shot: For so many wedding photos, the couple is in full focus. It can be fun to give the surrounding scenery a little air time too.

Wine country wedding

Something in Black and White: There is something classic and beautiful about black and white photography. Make sure you get a wedding or elopement shot in black and white as well as in color.

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Candid Shots of Other Members of the Wedding Party: Your flower girl, mother in-law, and other members of the wedding party will have wonderful moments that you will want captured. Be sure to set your photographer loose among the wedding party to get these moments.

Wine country wedding

The Rings: A winery is the perfect place to get a wonderful shot of the rings along with a cork, bottle, or vine.

Wine country wedding

Night Shots: Your event may just go into the night. Be sure to capture your love against the stars.

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A Fun Shot: Be sure to have a great time during the shoot! Your wedding or elopement is an amazing celebration of your love. Make sure to get some fun moments in there too!

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These are just some ideas that the brides and grooms who we have had the honor to host here at Youngberg Hill have had. Which shots will be the most important in your wedding? Let us know!

Willamette Valley Winemakers Celebrate 50 Years of Pinot

March 10th, 2015 by Rachel

Willamette Valley WinemakersBoth the Willamette Valley and Youngberg Hill are celebrating anniversaries this year. The entire valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir production and we are celebrating our 25th anniversary!

With these great events in mind, we wanted to take a look back to our beginnings, how our vision has developed over time, and what our plans are for the future. Winemaker and Youngberg Hill owner Nicolette Bailey sat down and answered these questions, explaining how Youngberg Hill, as a small family farm, fits into the overall Willamette Valley winemaking vision.

Interviewer: What was your original vision for the vineyard and winery when you and Wayne first started out?

Nicolette: “The idea was to emulate what we experienced in Burgundy. We are a small family farm, farm organically, use small lots, and have site specific bottlings.”

Interviewer: What in the valley inspired or affected your vision?

Nicolette: “The similarities (to Burgundy, France) in size, weather, and community.”

Interviewer: How has this vision evolved over time?

Nicolette: “The vision hasn’t so much evolved as confirming the similarities we love between Burgundy and the Willamette Valley, which encouraged us to continue pursuing our winemaking goals.”

Interviewer: Has living and growing here in the Willamette Valley had an affect on your vision?

Nicolette: “We are enjoying living a simpler life.”

Interviewer: What can we look forward to from Youngberg Hill in 2015 and beyond?

Nicolette: “More wine at an even higher level of quality, along with the addition of Chardonnay.”

As you can see, Youngberg Hill has fit into the fabric and vision of the Willamette Valley winegrowing culture. We started with Pinot and are expanding our vision to tackle other grapes and creating new wines.

What do you love most about Oregon wines? Comment below to let us know!

What will you Learn at the Winemaker Dinner?

March 3rd, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Willamette ValleyWe have a series of winemaker dinners planned here at our Willamette Valley vineyard and elsewhere in the Willamette Valley this year. At the moment, we have dinners scheduled for: March 20th, April 17th, May 2nd, and May 30th. Stay tuned to our calendar for any changes in dates or additional winemaker dinners and local events.

We love hosting winemaker dinners for many reasons. There is great conversation, wonderful people, delicious food, and fantastic wine. We also get to share our passion and insight when it comes to winemaking. Our guests love our dinners too, and here’s why:

Learning about wine

We are able to talk to our guests about the wine we create as well as the land and the region in which it is made. In our case, we both grow and create wine at our location in the Willamette Valley. This is a small enough event that we can discuss ins and outs as well as answer any and all questions without having to “work the room.”

If you have specific questions about wine, winemaking, or our region of the world, this is the time and place to ask them.

Tasting uncommon wine

You won’t find our Port anywhere in the “our wines” section of our website, but we are serving it at our March 20th winemaker dinner. You also get a chance to see what we as winemakers drink. It’s not all Pinot, all the time. We’re having a wonderful Champagne at the March 20th event too.

Understanding the “whys” behind pairingWillamette Valley Vineyard Winemaker Dinner

Sometimes a pairing can sound odd, but taste amazing. Here’s your chance to know why we chose a specific wine to pair with a specific recipe – or vice versa.

Eat, drink, and be merry

More than anything, winemaker dinners are there for us to make new friends, have wonderful discussions, eat amazing food, and sip on some glorious wine. We love the family and group aspect of these dinners, we love answering questions, but more than anything, we enjoy connecting with old friends and making new ones.

What question would you ask a winemaker? Comment below and we’ll answer!

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!