Archive for the ‘Youngberg Hill’ Category

Four Tips for Planning Your Destination Elopement

May 20th, 2014 by Rachel

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You and your partner have decided: you’re getting married.  There’s no need for a big wedding, it would be more fun to get hitched away from all that stress.  Even better, you’re getting married at a destination of your choice.  This opens up the option of honeymooning at your marriage location.

We understand your needs here at Youngberg Hill. That’s why we provide services for just such an occasion.  Even though you’re not having “the big wedding,” there is still planning involved in an elopement. Here are are four tips for planning your perfect destination elopement.

Tip 1: Location is important.

Whether you will be honeymooning at your marriage location or not, it’s important that you find the spot that you will remember forever.  Even though this is not a huge wedding with a reception, catering, and crowds, you and your significant other will remember these moments for the rest of your lives.  So, pick a place that you will love to remember – together.

That brings us to the next tip:

Tip 2: Be sure to get a great photographer.

Your marriage location may be able to recommend some great, local photographers, or perhaps you can find someone on your own for your special day.  Either way, remember that you are only sharing this day with your partner.  No one else will be around to snap candid moments or grab Uncle Bill’s camera for a few shots.  You will want a professional you can trust to capture the moments of your marriage so you can your partner can look back on this special day and smile together.

Tip 3: Don’t forget the marriage license!

Here in Yamhill county there are specific requirements for obtaining a marriage license.  One such requirement is a waiting period which may be waived for a fee.  There’s also an age requirement (18 years of age, 17 if a parent or guardian gives consent.)  It’s really simple to obtain a marriage license here, so be sure to get one before the elopement.

Tip 4: Do something special post-marriage.

There won’t be any big reception, cake cutting, or bouquet toss after your nuptials.  That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!  Whether you head out for dinner, share a bottle of wine, or have a giant party when you get home, be sure to do something fantastic to celebrate the amazing, life-long commitment you both just made.

An elopement is incredibly personal and special.  Here’s to yours being the perfect day to start the rest of your lives together!

 

 

Why Attend a Winemaker Dinner?

May 13th, 2014 by Rachel

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One of our favorite events here at Youngberg Hill is our winemaker dinners.  Why attend a winemaker dinner? This is where we invite guests up to our vineyard for food and wines paired in perfect harmony.  But the amazing food and wine is not the main reason we love this event.  Our greatest joy is sharing stories and knowledge with our guests.

Larger or corporate wineries may claim that a “winemaker dinner” is a simple pairing while someone speaks to you about their wines.  This is not the dinner party we throw.  Ours is a close-knit affair.  Wayne and/or Nicolette are right there, eating with you, answering questions about wine, their wine-making philosophy, sharing stories, and having discussions.

The conversation and exchange of stories and ideas is the real point of a winemaker dinner.  With new friendships forming and old friendships re-forging, it’s no wonder that food can become a secondary aspect of such a dinner.  That said, we could write lengthy articles dedicated to the food alone.  Here’s just one example – the menu from our Spring winemaker dinner:

We began with a glass of Champagne and olive and onion tarts as the hors d’oeuvres. After meeting everyone who came, we moved on to the first course: grilled shrimp and creamy polenta paired with our 2013 Pinot Gris. The next course was a spring salad with strawberries and cheese paired with the 2011 Cuvee.  After that, the herbed rack of lamb with a Pinot demi-glace, asparagus, and black potatoes paired with the 2011 Jordan filled everyone up.  With so many courses, we were able to take time to enjoy the food and our guests could ask questions and share stories.  Good conversation always follows great wine, and this dinner was no exception.  The meal was topped off with bread pudding with Pendleton sauce and Pinot Port.

With intimate dinners like this one, we are able to make new friends and impart a deeper understanding of wine to our guests.  Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated winery and we hope to make guests feel like family.  Come dine, drink, and laugh with us at our next winemaker dinner on June 7th.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Why is May so Ah-May-Zing?

May 6th, 2014 by Rachel

May is a special month to many people.  Ancient Romans went wild for it.  Mexican Independence Day is May 5th.  It’s the last official month of Spring.  May is considered a time when flowers are fully in bloom, the bikes come out of the garage, and the snow has fully melted in most of the coldest states (sorry Alaska).  But, there are several very exciting reasons we at Youngberg Hill love this month.

May is Oregon Wine Month

We in Oregon are serious about our local wines, and we feel that everyone should discover or re-discover our fantastic wines.  You can come visit us all month long for a quick tasting or for the full, Youngberg Hill experience at our Inn and winery.  Either way, enjoy the wine, watch the spring flowers blooming up and down our hill, see the vines as they branch out for another great wine year, and cast your eyes upon the best views in the valley.

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Wine Flies Free      

As if you needed more incentive to come to Oregon for our wine month, Alaska Airlines is hosting another year of Oregon Wines Fly Free starting this month.  This means, when you visit participating wineries (and you better believe we’re participating) you can taste wines for free as long as you:

a) Are an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member and

b) Have an Alaska ticket from a participating airport that is in use for travel.  

PLUS, when you want to bring a case of our lovingly made wines home with you, you can check it for free as baggage.

The McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend

The first weekend of May is the McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend.  This is our town’s way of really kicking off Oregon Wine Month.  Visit all participating locations over the weekend and enjoy a tasting.  We’ll stamp your passport – and once all five stamps are collected, you will enjoy free tastings and receive 10% off purchases for the whole month of May.  Additionally, you will have a chance to enter for five premium bottles.

Mother’s Day

Our winery is family-owned and operated.  This means that Mother’s Day holds a special significance for us.  We know how hard you moms work, the struggles you must overcome, and the bountiful rewards of motherhood.  That’s why we are inviting you to come and take a load off for Mother’s Day.  If you’re a mom, come to our tasting room and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.  Our glasses are raised to you!

Memorial Day Weekend

We are wrapping up the month with a three day weekend that will feature our new release!  The 2013 Aspen Pinot Gris will be in our tasting room for your enjoyment.  Not only that, our new deck will be open so you can sip wine and enjoy the best views in the valley.

So, as you can see, May is a big month for wine in Oregon.  We hope you can make it out and discover the fantastic wines available here in wine country.  Cheers!

Six Tips for Pairing Wines

April 29th, 2014 by Rachel

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Finding the perfect meal for your wine can be a daunting process.  There seems to be a ton of rules and regulations which you should follow – and often these are contradictory.  This can make any wine lover feel as if they need a personal sommelier in their home at all times.  Unfortunately, that option is rarely practical. Instead of giving up and resorting to water at your mealtimes, here are six tips for pairing wines with your meals – or vice versa.

 

Tip #1: It’s all a matter of taste.  While there are some very general rules – like whites usually go with fish and chicken, while reds often go with red meat, these aren’t hard and fast rules.  Instead, think about wine and food pairings which you have enjoyed in the past.

Perhaps you had a great Pinot Noir with a delicious mushroom dish.  Be sure to consider what about the wine pairing worked for you.  What were the notes and textures you enjoyed most about the wine? Consider why that wine worked well with the food you ate.

Tip #2: When in doubt, try a medium-bodied wine.  The middle of the road may not make the perfect pairing, but it can be a great safety net when you really have no idea what to pair with your food.

Tip #3: Take a look at the label.  Does it say what kind of flavors the wine has?  Match those flavors with your meal.  For example, the note of pineapple in your white may go great with fish or some asian cuisines, but could taste very strange with pesto.  A young red wine may work really well with bitter foods like olives or radicchio, but could taste pretty odd with pecorino.

Tip #4: Experiment.  One of the best ways to discover your own taste and what food and wines work best for you is to try and pair foods with wines.

Try this: Buy or make small appetizer portions of your forthcoming meal.  Next, taste the wine, then the food and see if they pair well.  If not, look at the characteristics of the food and the wine.  Were you pairing a high acidity food with a high acidity wine?  Was the wine so full bodied that it overwhelmed the delicate dish?  Experimentation may lead you down a culinary path you would not have otherwise discovered.

Tip #5: Don’t just consider the type of food – also look at how it’s cooked.  A rule we all hear is to pair fish with white – but if you’re eating a hearty fish stew, a Pinot Noir might be a better match than a Chardonnay.  Additionally, beef is normally paired with a big red wine, but a super spicy beef chili may work better with a Pinot Grigio or other white wine.

Tip #6: Don’t make things too complex.  If you know you have a wonderful, complex bottle of wine that you really want to enjoy, keep the food simple.

In the end, it’s always about the “yuk or yum” factor.  Meaning, if you like the wine pairing – that’s what really counts.  These tips are just a way to help you get to the “yum.”

The Oregon Difference

April 22nd, 2014 by Rachel

April 2014 - Blog 3 - Pic 1Pinot Noir was first planted here in the Willamette Valley since 1965.  Oregonians have been taking care of their land and keeping family wineries going ever since.

As custodians of the land, we hold ourselves to a very strict standard.  We work to follow holistic and biodynamic farming practices which allow the soil, the grapes, and nature to work in perfect harmony.  This produces a higher quality grape and wine.

Not only do Oregon farmers in general and Youngberg Hill in particular take environmental stewardship seriously – the state requires our wines be the best in the country as well.  Oregon’s wine labeling regulations are the strictest in the US. There are many reasons we work so hard to preserve our land while making some of the best Pinot Noir out there.

The Oregon Difference

1st: The Willamette Valley is not just a place to live.  It’s a slice of Tuscany transplanted into America.  With proper stewardship of our land, we will be able to enjoy this land for generations to come.

2nd: We are passionate about wine.  The beauty of young grapes ripening into that perfect harvest.  The joy harvesting our grapes at just the right moment.  The shared excitement of shaping that harvest into a reflection of our land, the seasons, the weather, and the year.  These are what we love – and it’s a passion we want to share with you.

3rd: Our home is a part of a greater heritage.  That of the Oregon wine country.  We share it with you in the form of our wine and in the hospitality of our Inn.  We want that heritage to continue through our family and this winery for many, many years to come.

The wines produced here at Youngberg Hill are a reflection of our home and the land on which we live and grow.  Here’s hoping you have a chance to enjoy a little slice of Oregon.  Cheers!

Eight Tips for Planning Your Destination Wedding

April 15th, 2014 by Rachel

Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding

We host many weddings every year at Youngberg Hill.  Our recent award from the Oregon Bride Magazine for the Best All-Inclusive Venue in the Valley – and the fact that we win this “Best of” competition year after year goes to show that we are pretty great at providing the bride, groom, bridal party, and guests with exactly what they need.

 

This is why we are qualified to provide you with eight tips for planning your destination wedding:

Tip #1. Pick a location that is naturally beautiful.  You picked your out-of-town location because it had something about it you love.  Perhaps it is the surrounding wine country with the rolling hills which are reminiscent of Tuscany, maybe it’s the beauty of the vines themselves, or perhaps it’s the delicious wine.  No matter what it is you love about your destination, be sure to celebrate and capture its natural beauty during your special day.

Tip #2. Shop locally for your favors.  You may not be able to buy all your guests a bottle of Pinot, but perhaps you can give a bottle to each member of your bridal party.  Additionally, look at local chocolatiers, candle makers, and more for favors that would fit with your wedding and your budget.

Tip #3. Decide if you are planning an elopement or a wedding.  A destination elopement is completely possible and may be a better fit for you and your fiancé.  Many locations – including Youngberg Hill – are providing an elopement package along with personalized wedding options.

Tip #4. Get recommendations from the venue.  Chances are, your wedding venue has hosted many weddings and has an idea of which vendors will serve you best in the majority of scenarios.  If you aren’t from the location at which you are getting married – and you are planning from afar – a little local advice may go a long way in helping you plan the wedding of your dreams.

12884666534_6b9c66435a_b.jpgTip #5. A Save the Date is definitely required for your destination wedding.  It doesn’t have to be formal – an email sent out to all those you wish to attend about 8-12 months in advance will give your guests time to book flights and make arrangements.

Tip #6. Make a list.  List out anything you may need before you head to your destination location.  This way you can decide what you must bring to the location and what you can purchase or get done on-site.

Tip #7. Get there in advance.  You don’t want to be worrying about the details of your wedding on your wedding day.  Consider visiting your wedding location in advance and ironing out any details.  This will also give you the opportunity to shop locally, get an idea of the local flavor, and have a little pre-honeymoon getaway with your fiancé.

Tip #8. Plan to stay.  One great thing about having your wedding away from home is that you are already on vacation.  This means you can incorporate at your destination location into your honeymoon and enjoy the local landscapes, go wine tasting, or make day trips to local sights.

In the end, your wedding day is about the love you share with your significant other.  Be sure you are able to celebrate it with as little stress as possible.

 

Does the Order You Taste Wine in Matter?

April 9th, 2014 by Rachel

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There are many methods of wine tasting, so does the order you taste wine in matter? Generally, when you go to a vineyard for a tasting, the winery will provide wine from their latest bottling. This is a great way to get a feel for the variety of wine provided by the winery as well as a feel for the terroir (meaning soil, climate, and area in which the grapes were grown.)

Another fantastic way to get an in-depth understanding of a vineyard and its wines is a vertical tasting.  This is the process of tasting the same wine from the same winery, but from successive years.  For example, you could taste our Jordan Pinot Noir from 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.  This type of tasting allows you to identify the thread that ties the wines together.  As you taste progressively older wines, the tannins mellow, which can help you understand the evolution of the wine itself.

Finally, there is a horizontal tasting.  This is often not something you will do at a winery, but is something you may participate in at a wine bar or wine shop.  A horizontal tasting involves trying similar wines from similar regions – all of the same year.  For example, you could do a horizontal tasting of Pinot Gris produced in the Willamette Valley.  This type of tasting gives one a concept of how the wine in the area can vary due to the style and relative location of each winery within one region.

A fun way to spice up a horizontal tasting is to do a “blind” tasting.  You could blindfold yourself and taste each type of wine – but we think that way may lie accidental spillage – and no one wants to waste good wine.  Instead, the server providing you with the tasting simply puts a bag over the label of each bottle.  Once the tasting is over, they reveal the wineries you tasted.  You may want to try a second round of tastings after the wineries are revealed, just so you know which producer’s wine you enjoyed the most.  The answer may surprise you, which is the point of a blind tasting.

No matter how you go about tasting wine, the point is for you to enjoy the experience.

Should You Let Your Wine Age?

March 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glasses

Wine cellar with wine bottle and glassesDo you “cellar” any of your wines? Almost 80% of wine that is purchased is consumed within 24 hours.  So, we can assume that most people might answer “no” to that question.  The main thing a lover of wine would normally have to worry about is keeping their wine in a cool-ish area (not in the trunk of their car in the height of summer) before opening and drinking it.

One of the reasons why folks don’t often cellar wine is they believe they simply don’t have the space for a wine cellar.  In fact, when many people think of a wine cellar, they often get images of a cavernous vault beneath a giant mansion.  This most certainly does not have to be the case.  Wines are best preserved by keeping them in a cool (55 to 60 degree), dark, relatively high humidity (60 to 80%) environment. It need not cost a lot. A perfect choice for all of us who do not own a mansion could be a corner area in the back of an unfinished basement, an old time root cellar or that old storage cave that your grandmother stored potatoes in.

This brings us to the question of: should you let your wine age, in other words, cellar your wine?

This really is a matter of personal taste – the “yum or yuk” factor we have mentioned in previous blog posts.

Do you most enjoy bright, flush, fresh fruit flavors that jump into your mouth and beg for the next sip?  You are more apt to find pleasure in drinking young, un-cellared wines for these characteristics. But, if you love the taste of bigger and softer tannins; if you enjoy fruit flavors integrated with savory components balanced throughout the time in your mouth – then lingering on long after the wine has trickled down your throat, you will like older (cellared) wines.  The more you enjoy the latter characteristics, the older (longer cellared) you will want your wines to be.

In the end, there really is not a “right” answer.  Should you let your wine age?  It’s all about your personal taste.

Holistic Farming: Our Approach to Growing Grapes

February 18th, 2014 by Rachel

Organic farming is inherent in the culture here in Oregon.  Our state is among the top five states in number of certified organic farms.  Even more farms utilize organic practices, but don’t go through the costly certification process.  Instead, they farm organically because it’s the right thing to do.

seriously organic winesGenerally speaking, organic farms are those which do not utilize synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  At Youngberg Hill, we take it a step farther by using a biodynamic philosophy when growing our grapes.  This means we do not poison our soil with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.  Instead, we consider the farm from a holistic perspective.  We look at the balance of our ecosystem and work to generate health and fertility naturally – within the farm itself.

There are a number of grasses and other local plants growing on our farm.  These give a home to local insects, which feed local birds.  These plants give and take nutrition from the soil.  Their lives and their deaths enrich the ground in which our vines grow.

We don’t use chemical fertilizers to pump up tired soil.  Instead, we work to maintain the rich soil nature provided us with when we first came to Youngberg Hill.

Why do we take so much care to create a natural environment in our farm?  There are two reasons:

1st: We want our wine to tell the story of the land in which the grapes were grown and how nature affected each and every grape.  We believe in letting nature speak for itself in the clarity and flavor of our wines.

2nd: Youngberg Hill is a family owned and operated farm.  Our girls are growing up here. We want to raise our grapes in the same healthy environment in which we are raising our girls.

Our philosophy and way of farming has kept our family happy and healthy – and has made us able to produce award winning wines year after year.

Have you heard of Holistic Farming? What are your thoughts on this with regard to wine? 

 

How to Taste Wine Properly

February 4th, 2014 by Rachel

youngberg hill tasting roomWe have all heard that wine tasting is a complicated process.  You have probably been given advice on how to taste wine – usually this includes:

a)     Look at the color of the wine to discover its clarity, depth, and saturation.

b)     Smell the wine

c)      Swirl the wine in your glass.

d)     Note how slowly it runs back down the side of the glass while you’re swirling.  This is called viscosity.

e)     Smell the wine again.

f)      Take a sip of the wine and roll it around your mouth so as to expose it to all of your taste buds.

g)     Note the aftertaste.

There can be more steps involved for the professional wine taster, but those are the basics.

However, when going wine tasting, the most important thing to note is what we like to call the “yuck” or “yum” factor.  That is: do you like it?  If so, what do you like about it?  If not, what don’t you like about it?

The first part is easy.  Just taste the wine and discover if you enjoy the texture, smell, and flavor.

The second part is more difficult.  Discovering what you specifically like or dislike about the wine can be tough to describe.  Taste is a deeply personal experience and how one person describes a taste can be completely different from the description of another person who is sipping the exact same wine.

So, how do you describe your taste in wine to a store, restaurant, or winery? Here are four tips:

  1. When you taste a wine you like – find out how the winery described it.  You can do this in the tasting room by speaking with the person who is conducting the tasting and asking them for tasting notes, discussing specifics of the year the wine was produced, and finding out how it was aged.However, you aren’t always in a tasting room when sipping a glass of wine.  You may be at home or out at dinner.  You can check the bottle for descriptions or note down the wine you ordered and Google the tasting notes later on.
  2. When you taste a wine you don’t like, do the same thing.  No one really wants to remember the wine they didn’t care for, but understanding why you didn’t care for it will help you buy wines you enjoy more in future.  So, find out about the wine, discover how the taste or smell you didn’t care for is described, and don’t buy wine with those characteristics in future.
  3. Consider what it’s paired with.  The way you perceive taste changes as you eat and drink wine.  You might be enjoying your food and wine more than you would if they were not paired.  On the flip side, you may really dislike your wine because of a bad pairing. 
  4. Find out what certain descriptive terms mean.  Some very common terms used when discussing wine are:

Rich – Wine which shows ripeness and viscosity.  This is something you can discern from the legs which form when you swirl your wine and from the depth of color.

High Acidity – This describes a tart and zesty taste.  When describing reds; “high acidity” usually means it’s lighter in color and tastes tart.  When describing whites; this often means a lemon or lime taste.

Oaked – This means the wine was aged in an oak barrel.  The type of oak used in the barrel itself can have a huge impact on the taste of wine.  But, when you’re talking tastebuds, the “oak” tastes in wine are the non-grape related tastes.  Common “oak” tastes are vanilla, butter, and coconut in whites and spice, vanilla, and dill in reds.

UnOaked – Wines are not always aged in oak.  Wines which are unoaked are often more zesty and tart.

Buttery – Often describes a white that has been aged in oak and has low acidity. It has a creamy texture and a smooth finish.

Floral – A smell or taste of flowers or blossoms.  This is opposed to a fruity taste or smell.

We could go on and on talking about terms used to describe wine, but these are some of the basics.

Just remember, when tasting wine, it’s all about your very personal taste.  Be sure to keep that in mind when you next go out for a wine tasting or sip on a glass of wine at a restaurant.

What are your personal wine tastes? COMMENT below and share with us…