Archive for the ‘Yamhill Valley’ Category

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!

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!

Planning your Wine Country Wedding

January 20th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country WeddingThe first thing we have to say is congratulations on your engagement! Your wedding is one of those really significant moments in your life as a couple. Now that you are in planning mode, one of the first things to do is decide on a venue. We can certainly help with that here at Youngberg Hill.

There are key questions to ask yourself while you are planning your Willamette Valley wedding. These are:

What is important to me about having a wine country wedding?Wine Country Wedding

Oregon wine country is stunning. We have fantastic wine and can provide a great wedding venue. However, deciding what is most important to you about having a wine country wedding can help you figure out which venue will provide you with what you need most adequately.

You may be considering Youngberg Hill for your wedding venue because of our amazing views and expansive vineyard. You might feel it’s more important that we have an Inn as well as a vineyard, so that you and your bridal party are not rushed on the day of the wedding. The wine itself may be what you use to judge your wedding venue.

No matter the reason, decide on what your wine country wedding must be able to feature. This way you can make the perfect choice for this incredibly important event.

What are the marital laws in the location I have picked?

You may have chosen a destination location for your wine country wedding. That’s fantastic! This means that you and your partner need to understand what is necessary to obtain a marriage license and file for marriage in that state. For example, here in Oregon there is a three day waiting period from the day the marriage license is issued until it can be used. However, a waiver can be purchased for that waiting period. Research the ins and outs so you and your partner can become officially wed on the date you chose.

Is the date I want available?

Wedding venues tend to book up fast – that’s why you are doing your planning in winter, right? Be sure that as soon as you find the perfect venue you get it booked on the date you want. Do not send out wedding invitations until you definitely have the venue on the date of your choice.

What recommendations can the venue make?Beautiful Wine Country Wedding

Because we are a working vineyard and Inn and we host a number of weddings every year, we have many wonderful people we have worked with in the past. Use our knowledge of local experts in wedding planning, flowers, and catering to help you plan the perfect wedding.

Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. It’s a beautiful, fun celebration of your love. Let us help you make your big day just right.

Five Steps for your Winter Wine Country Escape

January 13th, 2015 by Rachel

Winter escapeThe holidays are over and winter has officially set in. This doesn’t mean you are snowed in to your home and stuck for the season. In fact, now is the best time of year to get away. You no longer have to cover for co-workers or head to family gatherings. The hectic holidays are out of the way – so it’s time to enjoy a real holiday.

Here are your five steps to escaping this winter:

#1. Recruit a partner in crime.

This may be a co-worker, a boss or a family member. No matter who it is, your partner in crime is the person who will help you pull off your winter escape. Your boss or co-worker may be able to help you out by taking over a couple of work projects to get you the time off you need. Your family member may be able to take the kids while you’re out of town.

Just be sure your partner in crime will be rewarded when you get back. Maybe you can cover foOregon Wine Country in Winterr your boss or coworker in future – or perhaps you can babysit for your family member’s kids when they head out on their own holiday.

#2. Plan to go away from home.

The post holiday season is no time for a staycation. You need to get out of the house and get pampered. We can recommend the Winter Wine Tasting Package here at Youngberg Hill for some seriously delicious pampering. Oregon wine country is a great place to get away and relax.

#3. Pack up your holiday decorations.

You don’t want to come back to more holiday work. Get everything packed away and your home cleaned up before you head out. That way, when you come back relaxed and reinvigorated you can really feel as if you are launching into a new year.

#4. Make your wine country travel plans.

Since you are headed out of town, set up your travel plans. If you are driving out, is there a delicious lunch location like Bistro Maison on the way to your destination? Be sure to make the trip itself leisurely and relaxing. If you are headed out to Youngberg Hill, we can give you recommendations to make your trip out enjoyable.

#5. Go!

The time has come. You have work and the kids all sorted out. You’ve got a delicious place to stop on the way and you have a destination. Go ahead and take some well deserved time off!

Winter is a gorgeous time to visit our Willamette Valley vineyard & Inn. Let us know how we can help you get out here for some winter R&R.

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!

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.