Archive for the ‘Yamhill Valley’ Category

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!

What is Wine Racking?

November 18th, 2014 by Rachel

The Pinot Making ProcessWinemaking is more than the process of harvesting grapes and squeezing out the juice. Once the grapes have been harvested, there is still plenty to do. One action is called “wine racking.”  Here’s a quick rundown of what this is, and why it’s so important during the process of winemaking.

The term racking means moving wine from one vessel to another. This can be from tank to barrel, barrel to barrel, and barrel to tank. Racking can be done to serve a number of different purposes. It all depends on where we are at in the winemaking process.

The first racking is generally done shortly after initial fermentation of sugar to alcohol is complete. This separates the wine from the skins, seeds, dead yeast cells, and other particles that settle to the bottom of the tank. Red wine typically goes into a barrel at this racking.

Red wines are commonly racked on other occasions during the wine aging process. It all depends on the preferences of the winemaker and the grape varietal.

After the wine has finished secondary fermentation (this is malolactic fermentation – which means converting malo acid to lactic acid), it may be racked again. The purpose of this racking is to further clarify the wine by taking the wine out of barrel, cleaning the barrel of the sediment, and then putting the wine back into barrel.

This is the point at which wine-making becomes both a science and an art – with a little magic thrown in. The winemaker must have an intimate knowledge of of the fruit from that particular vineyard. He must know the age of the vines and impacts of terrior. Experience and an almost sixth sense will help him tease out the specific nuances of that vintage and see how the wine is aging in the barrel. All of these factors play into the decision of whether to rack or not.

The final racking consists of moving the wine from barrel into the tank for settling before bottling. You can learn much more about racking and winemaking by setting up a tour here at Youngberg Hill.

What kind of winemaking details are the most interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below.

Farm-to-Fork Foods Paired with Harvest-to-Glass Wines

November 11th, 2014 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Wine HarvestIt is often said what grows together, goes together.  This idea is at the heart of Oregon’s farm-to-fork movement.  The wine grown and harvested here in the Willamette Valley is perfect with fresh seasonal ingredients brought from farm to table. This time of year you will find Oregon wine country filled with seasonal foods like beets, cabbages, parsnips, carrots, celery root, chard, late-season corn and mushrooms, and winter squash.

As with the wine produced throughout the Willamette Valley, the good food found here is a direct result of the quality of each ingredient.  In Oregon, chefs and farmers work together, resulting in the modern day foodie paradise of Willamette Valley.  Choose to stay with us at Youngberg Hill Vineyards, and this rich abundance of farm fresh foods and handcrafted wines will be at your fingertips.

For a truly unique Oregon experience, dine at Thistle. There the chefs create seasonal menus based on what is available to them throughout their Willamette Valley network of farms. The chefs and owners of Thistle work closely with local farmers in an effort to develop sustainable agriculture and have been one of the innovative forces behind McMinnville’s farm to table movement. When you’re ready for something sweet, pick up some locally made chocolates at Honest Chocolates, located in downtown McMinnville.

You can also visit us at the Granary District Winery – along with a number of other local wineries – for a pre-Thanksgiving open house. You will have the opportunity to taste our 2012 Pinots as well as sample other wines made in the Willamette and Yamhill Valleys. This open house event will take place on November 22nd and 23rd from 11:00am through 4:00pm.

Oregonians produce all of this delicious food and wine in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.  Oregonians have a long legacy of preserving the state’s pristine ecology, first establishing their commitment to sustainable farming practices more than 100 years ago with the State’s first environmental law.  At Youngberg Hill Vineyards, we value the beautiful land we live and work on, and are proud of our green approach to wine country living.

What is most import to you about the environment in which your food and wine was grown?  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.

How to Read a Wine Barrel

October 28th, 2014 by Rachel

Youngberg Hill Wine Barrel Reading a wine barrel sounds like a relatively simple process. You are looking at a label imprinted into the wood, right? There’s a little more to it than that. On the left you will see one of our new barrels for our estate Pinot Noir. On the top of the barrel is information about it. Some barrel manufacturers (called “cooperages” in the wine world) put more information on their barrels than others.

On this barrel we have:

  • Cadus is the name of the cooperage.
  • France is the source of the barrel.
  • Origine means the point of origin.
  • YH are the initials of Youngberg Hill. This barrel was made specially for us.
  • Troncais is the oak forest in France that the wood is from. There are six different forests this oak type comes from and each forest has specific characteristics.
  • French oak – 30 months air dried means the amount of time after harvesting the tree during which the wood is dried out in the open. After the wood is dried, the barrel is created.
  • M+ signifies that the inside of the barrel has been toasted a certain amount. In this case it was toasted to medium plus. The amount a barrel has been toasted contributes to the taste of your wine.
  • Slow extraction means that this barrel is best used when the wine will be in it for more than a year because the wood slowly interacts with the wine.

At Youngberg Hill we are very specific about our choice in barrels. We use white oak as it has been the standard in the winemaking industry for centuries. It brings out unique qualities in wine and allows wine to interact with it and through it. Youngberg Hill Pinot NoirOther wood has been experimented with, but winemakers around the world have come back to white oak.

The white oak we use for barrels is from France. French white oak barrels have been the barrel of choice for Pinot Noir producers the world over. The qualities we look for are:

  • The age of the oak trees.
  • The weather in which they are grown (cool so the growth is slower and the grain is more open.)
  • The drying conditions of the wood in an open air environment.
  • The manufacturing process of the barrel.

All of these qualities allow Pinot Noir to age beautifully. Every one of these qualities are found in French white oak barrels.

Big red wines like Cabernet, Borolo, Malbec and all those big reds in between can use a wider variation of oak barrels. They are thick skinned, big boned, heavy wines that can compete with other oaks more easily without losing the character of the wine. Pinot Noir is a delicate grape with thinner skins that can be easily overwhelmed by other oak options. French white oak has been found over the centuries to be subtle enough to interact with Pinot Noir.

What else would you like to learn about the Pinot-making process?  Let us know 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.

Eight Reasons to Visit Yamhill Valley in the Fall

September 2nd, 2014 by Rachel

Sept Blog 1- Pic 1Ahhh, Fall Splendor…When a rich tapestry of spectacular color covers the beautiful Yamhill Valley it creates an unforgettably charming backdrop for your autumnal getaway.

You will feel there is something special about the crisp, clean air in Yamhill Valley.  Leaves rustle in the trees. A glorious spectacle of red, orange, purple and gold create a brilliant contrast to the uncommonly bright blue September through October sky. Leaves swirl on the roadside as you drive through the country. Sunsets are riveting, and the sunrise is even more radiant.

 If That Wasn’t Enough of a Reason to Visit the Yamhill Valley, Here Are 8 More Reasons That Will Delight You:

  • Wine. The fall grape harvest produces some of the best Pinots around. Curl up in a blanket on the hillside, take in our sweeping views of the valley’s rolling hills and stunning vineyards and share a bottle of wine from Youngberg Hill. Want to sample more great Yamhill Valley wines? Join up with an “Escape Artist” from The Grape Escape for an enjoyable tour.  They have been providing personalized private tours of the Oregon wine country for over 16 years. They’ll  share tips on the best ways to taste Oregon Pinots, then match them to local cuisine at the wineries along the way- Appetizers on their Afternoon Tour, lunch on their Full Day Escape, and dinners paired to wines on their Evening Escapes. Delish!
  • Food. Harvest season in Yamhill Valley provides unique dining experiences at fine local restaurants, particularly the ones that feature fresh, farm-to-fork fare.  In the fall, you must try The Joel Palmer House in nearby Dayton, OR.. Their unique specialty is fine dining and wine with recipes that focus around wild mushrooms, harvested from the local forests the same day. Others with truly fresh, locally grown food that will delight you are The Dundee Bistro, Red Hills Provincial Dining (Dundee, OR)  Bistro Maison in McMinnville, OR, and Cuvee in Carlton, OR.
  • Photographer’s Delight.  Bring your camera and travel to one of these locations and check out our beautiful native avian wildlife, amongst all the beautiful fall foliage. Travel through the countryside and snap pictures of old farmsteads, historic chapels, hillsides, river bends, and vineyards as they burnish golden in the fall… You are sure to capture some great images.
  • McMinnville, Oregon. McMinnville’s 3rd Street, nominated as one of the best main streets in the country, features charming sidewalks and historic buildings and is an eclectic mix of edgy, forward thinking green philosophy, art, music and international fare. Strolling down the tree lined sidewalks, you will find traditional French, Creole, Japanese, South American, Mexican, Spanish, Italian, Thai, and Northwest Cuisine. There are a number of coffee shops, each one, unique, wineries,and some art galleries, a gift shop, a brewery, a bike shop, yoga studios, ballet studios, two theatres, and many more local treasures to discover.
  • Carlton, OR. Carlton, Oregon is emerging from a sleepy rural town into an up and coming city. While it largely pays respect to its rural roots, it has smartly given a nod to chic urban renewal. As a matter of fact, with the addition of wineries and fine dining restaurants, it is fast becoming a notable destination in Yamhill Valley. The Horseradish is a local hotspot.
  • Golf. Cross Creek Golf Course, winner of the Player’s Choice Awards is located in Dallas, Oregon. It is a beautiful, challenging 18 hole course that is quickly becoming one of the most popular golf courses in the valley. Chehalem Glenn Golf Course in Newberg, Oregon boasts the best  practice facilities of any public course in Oregon.
  • The Coast. You aren’t far from the Oregon Coast, and the drive is breathtaking, as you wind through forests all the way to the beach. A trip down the highway 18 alongside a beautiful river lined with brilliant gold, red, and orange maples and yellow birch, against an emerald evergreen forest creates a stunningly beautiful journey and a lasting memory. 

 

When planning your fall trip to Yamhill Valley, look for openings at the Youngberg Hill Inn.

 

Places to Visit on Your Summer Vacation

August 12th, 2014 by Rachel

If you want a vacation that has it all, you’re in luck, since you’ve chosen the Yamhill Valley as your vacation spot for this summer. Planning your summer vacation shouldn’t be a daunting experience, so we have compiled a list of local spots we think you’ll love to make planning your summer vacation easy and enjoyable.

If rest and relaxation is what you want, the Youngberg Hill Inn is nestled in the rolling hills of  the  beautiful Yamhill Valley. Aside from comfortable, sumptuous luxury, the inn offers a peaceful setting with breathtaking views to relax and enjoy your time off. Here at Youngberg Hill, we have put a lot of thought into making your stay a memorable experience and you will feel as welcome and cared for as if you are among friends. At the inn there is a library, a telescope for stargazing, and a  beautiful  wrap around porch to take in the sweeping views of the gorgeous valley, the vineyards, and the sunsets.

If fun and excitement is what you are after, you can choose your own adventure, as there is so much to explore in the surrounding area.

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Vista Balloon Adventures at The Sportsman’s Air Park in Newberg, Oregon  offers one hour flights over Oregon’s Wine Country. They offer packages that include breakfast, and more.

http://www.vistaballoon.com/

 

 

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Head on down the highway 18 to the stunningly beautiful Oregon Coast. Spend the day tidepooling, taking pictures, playing in the surf, and relaxing on the beach. Build a bonfire and listen to the crashing waves after watching the sun slowly sink into the sea in a fiery array of colors and watch as the stars come out one by one, while basking in the warmth of good company and a crackling fire.

http://pacificcity.org

 

Play Golf? There are beautiful courses nearby.

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http://www.oregongolf.com/courses/dallas/cross-creek/

http://www.oregongolf.com/courses/independence/oak-knoll/

http://www.oakknollgolfcourse.com/

http://www.crosscreekgc.com/

http://www.langdonfarms.com/

 

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How about a water park?

Wings and Waves at Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon provides fun for all ages. Tour the museum, splash and play. It’s a great place to spend the day.

http://evergreenmuseum.org/

 

 

You must visit McMinnville’s Third Street, nominated as one of America’s best main streets. Aug Blog 2 Image 5

There are a number of restaurants, wineries, and boutiques to explore. On this one street, you can find cuisines from Thailand, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and South/Central America, our famous local wines, coffee shops, art galleries, and boutiques.

http://www.downtownmcminnville.com


 

 

 

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Carlton, Oregon…Another up and coming hot spot, with wineries and restaurants that you are sure to enjoy. You must try Cuvee and spend an evening on Friday or Saturday at The HorseRadish.

http://www.cuveedining.com/

http://www.thehorseradish.com/

 

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Youngberg Hill Inn.

Whatever you decide to do, when you return to Youngberg Hill Inn, luxury and hospitality awaits you. Ahhhh.

http://www.youngberghill.com

Reasons You Must Visit the Oregon Wine Country

August 5th, 2014 by Rachel

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The Yamhill Valley is in the heart of the Oregon Wine Country. It’s filled with a rich history, compassion and great wine, of course. It is a huge part of our area’s economic, agricultural and social landscape.

 

 

 

  • Oregon Pinot Noir is famous, and rightfully so! In the 1960s and 70s, a group of wine entrepreneurs settled in the Yamhill Valley with pinot grapes on their minds. Two of those winemakers championed setting aside a significant part of the area for vineyards. This partnership with the state of Oregon has led to over four decades of agricultural and economic success in the area, not to mention amazing Pinot Noir!
  • In Oregon, wine means more than just the bottom line, there is a lot of care and dedication taken into providing the best product the right way.

Aug Blog 1- Pic 2In 1991, 18 wine producers started ¡Salud!, a charity committed to providing comprehensive health care for migrant workers at the vineyards. It was the first organization of its kind in the entire country.

  • When you visit the Oregon Wine Country, you’ll see how much pride is involved in what we do here. It is such a big part of our community that there are now multiple exhibits and archives keeping our rich history alive.
  • Aug Blog 1- Pic 3In 2011, Linfield College started the Oregon Wine History Archive, preserving the stories of our pivotal industry.
    • This year, the Oregon Historical Society established a temporary exhibit full of interactive displays and a tasting room. Clink! will be available through September 20.

 

For more information on the history of the Oregon Wine Country, we recommend this article from the Oregonian.