Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill Vineyard’ Category

Making Pinot Noir in The Willamette Valley

October 6th, 2015 by Nicolette Bailey

DSC_6902Many of us who make Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley either learned our wine-making trade in Burgundy or aspire to make wines in a manner similar to Burgundy. What does that mean? It means using a light touch in the winery to let the wine reflect where the fruit was grown and what weather the fruit was grown in. This philosophy creates wines that will be very different across the valley and vary significantly from year to year.

How is this done? We do this by doing as little as possible in the winery to change the natural characteristics coming from the fruit. An example of that is “crush”. While we all envision Lucy stomping on the grapes in that classic TV episode and in some regions with some varietals, we take great care in not “crushing the grapes before going into fermentation. Because Pinot Noir is a feminine grape with thin skins, it is important not to bruise the fruit, which will change the characteristics of the wine. We also take care not to make any adjustments to the wine like adding acid if it is a low acid year, adding sugar if it is a low sugar year, or adding water if it is a high sugar year. We use the saying “It is what it is”.

I often use the analogy of raising children to wine-making. If you try to make a rocket scientist out of a child with innate skills as a concert pianist, he probably wouldn’t be as good a rocket scientist as he would be a concert pianist. In the same way, if one tries to manipulate the wine to taste a certain way, it is most likely not going to be as good a wine as if it is left to reflect the fruit it is made from.

Finally, the wine will go into barrel, typically French white oak for our Pinot Noirs) for anywhere from 14 to 24 months depending on the vintage and the fruit. After barreling, we will bottle and hold for several months before releasing typically  two years from the time it was harvested.

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The History of Pinot Noir and Why it is THE Willamette Valley Grape

September 22nd, 2015 by Rachel

Pinot NoirPinot Noir is one of the earliest varieties of grape cultivated and used for making wine. Pinot has been grown in the “Slope of Gold” in Burgundy, France for many hundreds of years. There are many factors that make Burgundy an amazing place to grow Pinot Noir. These include:

  • Gentle sloping hills
  • Longer spring and fall seasons
  • Soil that drains well
  • Cooler temperatures

Fortunately, the Willamette Valley and Yamhill Valley have very similar growing conditions. We have the cooler temperatures, the longer spring and fall seasons and unique soil. The terroir here in the Willamette Valley imparts specific tastes to our Pinot Noir that makes it very uniquely our own.

One aspect of our land allows us to really bring out specific and unique tastes in our wine. That is: the soil. Each block here at Youngberg Hill has very specific soil types, and you can taste this in the wine itself.

For example, the Bailey block is composed primarily of volcanic rock and shale while the Natasha block features mainly marine sedimentary soil. When you taste Pinot Noir created from each of these distinct blocks in the same year, you can tell they are distinct.

To compare the different soils in another way: the 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir pairs well with red meat and game, while the 2012 Natasha Pinot Noir pairs with duck, salmon, and pork. Both are created from Pinot Noir grapes, but they have distinct flavors.

We are very lucky to have such a perfect climate for Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley. It’s much like living in a little slice of Burgundy, France.

Don’t believe us? Come visit and enjoy our lovely rolling hills, temperate climate, and fabulous wines for yourself!blog action photo tasting room sing

Why Choose a B&B When Visiting the Willamette Valley?

September 15th, 2015 by Rachel

Visiting the Willamette ValleyYoungberg Hill isn’t just a working winery and vineyard, it is a B&B as well. We know there are many places to stay throughout the Willamette Valley, but recommend staying at a Bed and Breakfast for many reasons. Here are a few thoughts on why you should choose a B&B when visiting Oregon wine country:

1-Personalized service. Hotels often can’t give you the one-on-one attention a Bed and Breakfast can provide. We love getting to know our guests and helping them have a wonderful trip. Additionally, our guests may have the opportunity to participate in one of our winemaker dinners – like the upcoming harvest dinner on October 17th!

2-Unique location. Bed and Breakfasts are placed in interesting and unique locations. For example, Youngberg Hill overlooks our active vineyard in the middle of Oregon Wine Country. You can see the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and the Willamette Valley from here.

3-Local knowledge. Because of the one-on-one relationship the innkeeper is able to have with her guests, our B&B can provide personalized and local information that a hotel wouldn’t have the time to give. For example, we know all of the best Willamette Valley restaurants and can notify you about upcoming festivals and other local events.

4-Delicious breakfast. Breakfast is always an event here at Youngberg Hill! We have a fabulous chef that will get your day started out right with a fantastic breakfast.

5-Wonderful rooms. We are constantly working to improve our accommodations. Currently we have four suites and four luxurious guest rooms along with a library, salon, and large dining room.  

We think B&Bs have a certain air of romance and give you wonderful service. Be sure to check out our Bed and Breakfast when planning your next visit to the Willamette Valley!blog action photo Inn

Why You Should Take Advantage of Local Vineyard Events

September 8th, 2015 by Rachel

Vineyard EventsWe host events all year round here at the Youngberg Hill vineyard and winery. These events include winemaker dinners, music nights, a 5K and 10K run, concerts, and more. We love putting on events for our friends and hosting events for wonderful organizations like the Linfield College.

However, the love and time that our Willamette Valley vineyard puts into making each event wonderful is just one of the many reasons to take advantage of these events. Here are a few other reasons why you should mark your calendar and come to our vineyard events:

  • Unique location. We feature the best views in the valley here at Youngberg Hill, along with a sustainable vineyard, winery, and Inn. Our events give you an excuse to spend plenty of time in a beautiful, natural environment.

Vineyard Events

  • Exposure to local wine, music, food, and more. Many wine country activities pair up with other local businesses. For example, we not only have wonderful music at our Wine Wednesday performances, a local food cart comes out to feed attendees.
  • Fantastic people. Those attending local events are people with similar interests as your own. Many of the wonderful community members that come to our winery for fun events are wine lovers with storied pasts.
  • Exclusive opportunities. We recently were able to feature a wonderful chef all the way from Burgundy, France. This and other exclusive chances often only occur at smaller, local events.

We will be having our last 2015 Wine Wednesday performance on September 16th and our next winemaker dinner is on October 17th. There are also many local Willamette Valley harvest festivals and events coming up. Some of our favorites that are coming up are the Carlton Crush, Newberg Oktoberfest, Wine Country Thanksgiving, and the Oregon Truffle Festival.

Get all of the details on the calendar and keep an eye out for more wonderful events!

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Growing Wine Grapes, from Budbreak to Harvest

August 11th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine GrapesThere are many significant parts of the wine grape growing process. Any plant growth is slow and steady and wine grapes are no exception. However, we wanted to share the points in the growth of our grapes that make us jump for joy each and every year. Here is a rapid breakdown of what it takes every year for us to grow the grapes we use to create delectable wines:


Our wine varietals are planted on 20 acres of vineyard space. They produce grapes each year, beginning in spring with budbreak. This is when the first buds of the season emerge from the vine after winter.Wine Grapes

The next spring activity is usually flowering. This is when the vine develops tight bunches of flowers. These flower clusters will eventually grow into grapes. We are extremely excited to see flowers bursting forth throughout the vineyard during this time.


The flowers eventually turn into tiny green spheres. This is fruit set. We work tirelessly to make sure these little spheres grow into juicy grapes using canopy management and other farming techniques.

By late summer the grapes have gained fullness and color. This is called veraison and is the time of year when you can tell which grapes are green and which are purple.


Wine Grapes

Harvest is in fall. This exciting time is when we are out in the vineyard every single day, deciding when the grapes are at the perfect ripeness for plucking. Once this is decided, we pick every bunch by hand.

After harvest, we crush the grapes and begin the winemaking process.


In many farms, winter is the quietest time of year. However, since we create our Willamette Valley wines onsite, we are working hard during winter to make sure fermentation is going correctly and the wine is developing beautifully. Additionally, we must prune the vines to get them ready for budbreak next year.Wine Grapes

Every season is exciting in Oregon wine country. We hold our breath for budbreak, rejoice in seeing our grapes gain fullness and color, and keep a watchful eye out for harvest time. Not only are these times exciting, they are incredibly beautiful. If you haven’t visited us here at Youngberg Hill, pick anytime of year and come. You won’t be disappointed.


Five Fun Things to Do at a Winery

July 28th, 2015 by Rachel

WineryHeading out to a winery for a visit is always a great time. There are wines to taste, questions to ask, and sights to see. However, there is more to do at a winery then simply go wine tasting. Here are five activities that you should plan to do when you visit an Oregon winery:

#1. Stay. Many wineries, Youngberg Hill included, have an inn or bed and breakfast attached to the vineyard. These are gorgeous places to stay – and they are often right in the middle of wine country. In our case, we are surrounded by over 150 wineries and tasting rooms.

#2. Take a driving tour. Wine country is absolutely beautiful. Don’t miss a minute of it searching for street signs or worrying about where you should go next. Instead, schedule a driving tour and let someone else take you through wine country.

#3. Schedule a tour of the vineyard and/or barrel room. Many wineries will offer a tour of the vineyard or barrel room if you schedule one ahead of time. Call them up and ask if it is possible to get one. You will have the opportunity to see how the grapes are grown, the winemaking process, and possibly have a chance to taste some wine right out of the barrel.

Winery Tour#4. Pack a picnic. Many wineries and tasting rooms don’t offer food, but will allow you to eat on their porch and enjoy the scenery. Pack a picnic, buy a bottle, sit on the deck and soak in the beauty of the surrounding countryside. You won’t be disappointed.

#5. Attend a winemaker dinner. Winemaker dinners are a fantastic opportunity to sip great wine, eat perfectly paired food, and pick the brain of the people who put their heart and soul into creating the wine. Not only does this give you a chance to understand what you are drinking in an in-depth way, you will have interesting conversations and you may even make a friend or five.

Visiting a winery is not just about the tasting – although that is always delightful. You have an opportunity to get an in-depth look at the wine, those who created it, and the vineyard in which it was grown.

We would love to hear your favorite part of a winery visit. Let us know!


A Great Big THANK YOU from Youngberg Hill

July 14th, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg HillYou may wonder why we wanted to take a moment this month to give all of our friends, visitors, guests, and fellow wine enthusiasts a warm thank you. We have a number of reasons to thank you all this year. We want to thank you for trying our wines. We want to thank you for joining our winemaker dinners. We want to thank you for challenging us to do better and to grow as a winery and an inn.

Recently, we won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. Because this is such a customer-driven award, we were blown away by all of the fantastic reviews we received. It’s not always easy for individuals to take the time to stop and write a review about a location they have stayed at or just visited, but many of you took the time. That action is more important than you may think – and here is why:

We read every review written about us that is on the internet. That is a pretty tough task, but we do it. This is not just because we like to pat ourselves on the back. We read these reviews because we want to challenge ourselves to do better.

Not only do we work hard to take time out and listen to our customers on the internet, we take the time to talk to visitors and guests while they are here. Our goal is to make your experience at our inn, vineyard, and winery the best experience possible.

People come to Youngberg Hill for many reasons. Some of our guests are bursting with joy on their wedding day. Others are looking for a good glass of wine, while still others are simply here to put their feet up and relax for a few days. Our goal is to meet the needs of every one of our guests.

Now, here are just a few of the many fantastic reviews for which we are so grateful. Again, thank you to the reviewers!!

Perfect Getaway

“Great hospitality and some of the best views in the area. Stayed here for 2 nights and it was the perfect spot to explore the wine region. The Inn manager was awesome, and the owners were on site to talk about the vineyard, which was nice. Very unpretentious, helpful hosts. We had a lovely time.” – TripAdvisor Member May 24, 2015


“This is our 4th visit to Youngberg Hill Inn over the past 15 years. We were very happy with our stay. You cannot beat the views, hospitality, or food. The wine tasting is also great. We were fortunate to stay in the beautiful Jura suite. The pictures on the internet are great, but even better in person. All rooms are nice. Mariafeld would be a close second choice of room, but all rooms are beautiful.” – Margaret F. May 12, 2015

Bed and Breakfast Gem in McMinnville

“We have stayed in several bed and breakfasts in the Oregon wine country and this one is top on our list. Our room had a fireplace, but we didn’t use it as the weather was fantastic. We had a balcony to an incredible view. There was a complimentary wine tasting each evening and the breakfasts were great. Nathan was the chef and he was super helpful.” – Elaine B. March 22, 2015

Loved our tasting

“We stopped here one afternoon for a tasting. Becky, the friendly host, took a lot of time with us and we loved the gorgeous outdoor setting and views. Just beautiful. It made us wish we had booked a room here, too!” – TripAdvisor Member September 4, 2014

These are just a few of the 299 reviews written about Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn on TripAdvisor! So, thank you again for taking time out to tell us about your stay with us. Thank you for coming to visit us. We cannot wait to see each and every one of you again soon!

Ten Fun Reasons to Come to the Willamette Valley This Summer

June 23rd, 2015 by Rachel

Come to the Willamette Valley this summerSummer is a fantastic season to spend time here in the Willamette Valley. There are a ton of events and activities going on throughout the valley. Here are ten fun reasons to come to the Willamette Valley this summer!

Every Thursday beginning May 21st is the return of Farmer’s Market in McMinnville. We love pairing our wine with the local goodies provided by surrounding farms.

Wine Wednesday beginning June 17th we are featuring our Wine Wednesday music on the deck. Enjoy great tunes, lovely sights and delicious wine.

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, which means it’s a great time to check out all of our local craft breweries. The Willamette Valley is both Oregon wine country and Oregon beer country, so be sure to taste both!

July 12th is the date on which we are hosting the McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Fundraiser. From 2pm-5pm we will be hosting wonderful people supporting a delightful cause. Come to the Willamette Valley this summer

July 22 we will be celebrating 25 years of Youngberg Hill and 50 years of Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley with a fantastic winemaker dinner. Internationally acclaimed chef Katherine Frelon will be creating amazing food to pair with our wine.

July 24th-26th is the International Pinot Noir Celebration here in McMinnville, Oregon. This three day event is the mecca for Pinot Noir lovers and northwest cuisine. World-renowned winemakers will join chefs, epicures and wine lovers in our little town of McMinnville. Tickets are available through our website.

August 8th is the annual Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. Run through the Willamette Valley, past Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Chehalem Mountains, and Ribbon Ridge.

August 9th- 24th will be peak watching conditions for the Perseid Meteor Shower. You can watch for this lovely astral event from anywhere here in the Willamette Valley… but we have the best view of the stars here at Youngberg Hill!

August 24th is Carlton’s Walk in the Park Golf Tournament. Signing up to this activity provides a golfer with a dinner, 18 holes of golf on the Chehalem Glenn Golf Course, a free mulligan, tournament prizes and more.

September 12th is the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival. This fun local event is host to tons of wine-themed activities from a grape stomp competition to a barrel rolling race, classic car display and more.

Throughout summer and winter you will be eligible to win wine from Willamette Valley wineries. The entire valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir. Check out the Willamette Valley website to get all the details on how to win some fantastic local wine!

All of these great activities are at our Willamette Valley Inn and vineyard or are nearby. So, if you need a hub from which to enjoy your summer in Oregon wine country, consider Youngberg Hill!


Twenty Ways you can Customize your Wine Country Wedding

June 9th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country WeddingA wine country wedding is always gorgeous. You have wonderful wine, fabulous scenery, and those you love. However, it can be tough to decide what design ideas to incorporate into your special day. Here are twenty ideas to help you make your Oregon wine country wedding uniquely “you.”

1. Celebrate nature. Use your natural surroundings by making them your inspiration for your wedding theme and decorations.

2. Include a nod to wine country in your invitations. Use paper with a handmade feel, include grape vines as a part of the invitation design, or incorporate a picture of the winery.

3. Use barrels and corks as props. Two things every vineyard has a lot of are wine barrels and wine corks. Use this to your advantage by using corks as place holders or including them in your centerpiece. Wine barrels can hold signs, display flowers or be utilized as a cake stand.

4. Make wine part of the ceremony. Both of you are passionate about wine. You can bring that passion into the ceremony by using wine to celebrate your love. Wine Country Wedding Ideas

5. Go vintage. Often an outdoor wine country ceremony feels vintage or rustic. Go with this feel by utilizing found or vintage items. A found window can be written on and used as a sign. Vintage wood fruit crates can be flipped and make a great cake stand. A vintage box may be used to receive gift cards and notes of congratulations from guests.

6. Decorate with wine bottles. Wine bottles can hold anything from candles to flowers to wine. Utilize wine bottles to help you stay on-theme.

7. Save special moments. Save the bottle from the first bottle of wine you and your partner enjoyed. You can decorate it later or use it as a display at home.

8. Incorporate local flowers. Your wedding bouquet can be made even more beautiful by using flowers local to the winery. You aren’t stuck with local blooms, but try to use a few as accents.Wine Country wedding favors

9. Use a bottle as your guest book. Allow guests to sign a special bottle just for your wedding.

10. Set aside special bottles for your wedding party. While you may not be able to afford a bottle of wine for each guest, give a bottle of your favorite vintage from the winery to your wedding party. They will think of you as they savor their special wine.

11. Look at the local area for guest gift inspiration. While wine may not work as the gift for your guests, take a look at local goodies for gift inspiration. There may be anything from wine-inspired jam to personalized wine stoppers available.

12. Go for a formal feel. While outdoor weddings will never be a completely formal event, think about giving your wedding a classic feel. Perhaps the groom could wear a tuxedo or the wedding colors can reflect more classic jewel tones. These colors can be set off beautifully by the natural surroundings.

13. Consider serving local and seasonal foods. Wine country is often filled with locally grown foods like mushrooms, asparagus, or strawberries. Take a look at what is available locally before deciding upon your menu. By serving fresh, local foods you can buck the tradition of bad wedding food.

14. Instead of serving a full meal, go for a wine and cheese reception. If you are having an afternoon or late morning wedding, skip the full meal and take advantage of your winery location. Serve local wine along with local cheeses. Your winery can likely give you pairing ideas. Wine Country wedding photos

15. Make sure your photographer takes advantage of the location. Wine country photos are always gorgeous. Make sure your photographer gets all of the shots you would like for your special day.

16. Use wine tones in your color palette. Your wedding party doesn’t have to wear wine colored dresses, but you can use wine tones on napkins, have flowers with wine tones, and even use wine-colored ink in your wedding invitations.

17. Accent your wedding with wine boxes filled with flowers. The boxes used to carry bottles of wine can be repurposed to hold anything, including lovely bouquets.Wine Country wedding photos

18. Sign an engraved large format wine bottle. Not only can you drink it on your Anniversary, but you can make it into a lamp or vase to remind you of your special day.

19. Stay in wine country for your wedding night. After your wedding, stay in a local Inn or Bed and Breakfast so you can enjoy a stress-free day in wine country on the day after your wedding day. We happen to know that our Inn is fantastic for any Oregon wine country wedding night!

20. Don’t lose your personality and style. No matter where your wedding is, make sure you include things that reflect your sense of style.

Your wedding is a display of your love and relationship. Try to make it as unique as your love for one another!


Wine Tasting Do’s and Don’ts

June 2nd, 2015 by Rachel

Wine TastingWe all know how to drink wine at home or in a restaurant. But things can get a little awkward when you visit a winery to taste their wine. You may be meeting the very person who poured his or her heart and soul into that wine. How should you act around this person? What if you don’t know much about wine? We’re here to help with some tips on the etiquette of wine tasting at a winery.

DO be considerate to those around you.

When preparing for a tasting, think about those who will be around you. This may mean using less perfume, or aftershave – or using nothing at all so that you and they can enjoy the bouquet of the wine. Additionally, you may want to eat a good meal before heading to the winery so that you can keep a clear head throughout your experience.

DON’T expect a meal.

Many wineries lay out crackers to help you clear your palette between tastings. However, small boutique wineries rarely have a restaurant or additional food available. One fun idea is to bring your own picnic lunch with you. Many wineries (including our Willamette Valley winery) have outdoor spaces where you can relax, eat, and enjoy the breathtaking views.

DO head to the winery earlier in the day or during weekdays.

If you want to make sure you have plenty of one-on-one time at the wine tasting, try arriving on days or hours that are likely to be less busy. Many wine tastings happen on the weekend or after lunch. However, most tasting rooms are open throughout the week and have longer tasting hours. For example, our tasting room is open 7 days a week from 10AM-4PM. So, pack a picnic and head out after breakfast to enjoy a leisurely tasting.

DON’T expect to taste every wine available on a winery’s website.

Wineries often keep specific wines available for tasting. The wines available for tasting depend upon many factors, including inventory, how much stock is promised to their wine club members, and which wines they feel best represent the winery. The wines available for tasting are often pre-determined. However, you can always ask if a particular vintage is available for tasting.

DO ask questions.

It is absolutely expected that you will ask questions and discuss the wine at a wine tasting. The person hosting your wine tasting has likely heard every question under the sun, so don’t be shy about asking him or her something you may think is silly. No matter how much or how little education you may have in the area of wine, there is always something to be learned.

DON’T try to pour your own wine during the tasting.

The tasting room attendant is there to pour your wine and discuss it with you. Be sure to allow them to do their job and serve you.

DO use the dump bucket as needed.

A wine tasting can help you discover wine that you love, without having to drink an entire bottle. However, there may be a wine that has characteristics which you do not enjoy served along with the other wines. Or perhaps you are planning on going to multiple tastings and you want to keep your palette and head clear throughout your experience. Either way, it is perfectly okay to use the dump bucket. That’s what it is there for!

DON’T head out into the vineyard alone.

Many boutique wineries have vineyards attached to the property. These are gorgeous spaces, but they are also active farms. If you’d like a tour of the vineyard along with your tasting, call ahead and see if the winery offers such tours.Enjoying Willamette Valley Wine Tasting

DO take time to enjoy the atmosphere and scenery.

Tasting rooms are there to showcase the wine and winery. There is often an atmosphere of leisure in a tasting room. Take your time and sip your wine. Look out at the scenery and enjoy the space. Concentrate on the wine and the beauty that surrounds you. We often forget what a pleasure it is to really taste and smell what we are drinking. Make sure to take time to do just that while at a wine tasting.

No matter where you go for your wine tasting, we hope you have a wonderful time!