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.

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Why Pinot is the Traditional Grape for Our Valley

September 23rd, 2014 by Rachel

Sept Blog 4 - Pic 1 The Yamhill and Willamette valleys have become the heart of Pinot Noir in Oregon. Here at Youngberg Hill is no exception.  We have recently grafted some Chardonnay grapes, but that is a new development.  Our main wine has been Pinot, which is the traditional grape for our valley, since we bought Youngberg Hill in 2003.

 

There are some very good reasons why Oregon winegrowers have concentrated so heavily upon the Pinot grape. Here are a few:

 

1. Pinot Noir is a very finicky grape that loves the temperate weather and fresh ocean breezes provided by our valley.

2. Oregon wine country is a lot like Pinot Noir’s native Burgundy. This means the grape does great in the area. To give you some perspective, in California wine country, Pinot Noir is only 8% of the state’s wine grapes.  Here in Oregon, Pinot Noir is 55% of the our state’s wine grapes.

3. Pinot pairs with many local foods like chanterelle mushrooms  as well as many foods in general, so it makes our inner foodie jump for joy. Sept Blog 4 - Pic 2Oregon is all about its food, wine, and beer.  We experiment and Pinot matches along with many, many of those experiments. And, if our food experiments fail – we still have it to drink as consolation.

4. Finally, as we all know – Pinot is delicious. We love how our Pinot showcases the terroir and has distinctive tastes, depending on where we planted. With our Burgundy-like land, we can pull off amazing Pinot Noir that is unlike any other created on earth. It is distinct to our land. This is something of which we are fiercely proud.

Oregon winemakers are, by nature, risk takers. We love picking the finickiest of wines, planting it in one of the most beautiful valleys on earth, and producing fabulous wine.

 

What is your favorite food to pair with Pinot Noir? Let us know!

 

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What is the Best Harvesting Method?

September 16th, 2014 by Rachel

Sept Blog 3 - Pic 1When it comes to our land, we always go for the most organic, sustainable and holistic  method here at Youngberg Hill.  This is because we believe the method that works for Mother Nature is the method that will work best for our wine.  Our wine philosophy extends to using the best harvesting method for our grapes.

 

That said, there are two basic ways to harvest grapes.  One is by hand and one is by machine.  Of course, a winery may choose to include some machines into processes before or after the harvest – like a destemmer or a tractor.  But the harvest itself can be done either by hand or by machine.  We will consider these two methods:

Mechanical Harvesting

One of the greatest advantages of mechanical harvesting – and why many large winemakers choose this type of harvesting – is speed.  Just as is the case in making manufacturing pretty much anything, when you add machines, things go faster.  This means a large, corporate winemaker might be tempted by mechanical harvesting to save money.

Another reason why speed is important to these large grape growers is  they don’t want their grapes to become overripe.  This can create bad wine that needs a lot of extra additives to make it palatable.

Hand Harvesting  

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Harvesting grapes by hand has a major advantage over mechanical harvesting.  That is: quality of fruit.

Hand harvested grapes are more precisely what we want in our wine.  This is because the person harvesting the grapes can consider what  they are harvesting as they go.  There is another process later, during winemaking, during which people are able to go through the harvest again and pick out any unwanted grapes, stems, leaves, etc.  But the hand harvest is the first line of defense against bad bunches.

This extra sorting power may not seem like it makes a big difference in the quality of wine produced, but it actually does.  Not only are there more eyes on the grapes that do go in  to your wine, many substandard grapes (unripe grapes or raisins) can be removed before they get to the crusher.  When you consider that it takes about 30  vines of grapes to make one barrel of wine – you see where the difference comes in.   Say there were 5 raisins and 10 unripe grapes, plus one leaf per cluster.  That’s about 200 raisins and 400 unripe grapes – plus 40 leaves that hand harvesting removed from that barrel of wine.

Another reason behind our hand harvesting preference is that Pinot Noir is a delicate fruit.  The process of machine harvesting punctures the fruit slightly, so in order to maintain a full cluster of intact grapes, we have to hand harvest.

Hand harvesting is one of the many ways we stay true to our grapes and the land which produced them.  Come taste the difference!

 

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Fall Foods and Perfect Pairings

September 9th, 2014 by Rachel

When Autumn arrives, we often turn our thoughts to comfort and warmth. With the harvest season, we also turn our thoughts to sumptuous meals and comfort food. Here are recipes with Fall foods and perfect pairings that promise to delight:

Oregon’s wine country is world renowned for Pinot Noir, a light to medium-bodied, food friendly red wine with red berry and cherry flavors. Come to our tasting room at Youngberg Hill Inn and try ours!

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What pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir? Local Golden Chanterelles. When prepared, Chanterelles have a delicious, buttery chicken flavor with fruit notes of apricot and a mild peppery taste. How about a smooth, golden, pureed Wild Mushroom Soup?

Try this recipe here.

 

Or try a few of of these recipes for a celebrated meal that your family and friends will love.

At Youngberg Hill we make a very fine Pinot Gris. With ours, you’ll find bright fruit aromatics range from grapefruit, mango, to apricot, leading to a flavor palate of lemon, grapefruit, apricot and tropical fruit. Its texture gives way to a wonderfully smooth and round finish that is easy to drink sitting out on the front deck. With a little higher acidity, it is very crisp with a soft, clean finish.

For the perfect complement, try this delectable dish. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser. You can also try these great recipes. They are positively divine.

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Lasagna with Fall Vegetables, Gruyere and Sage Bechamel 

Fall vegetables such as spinach, onions, and sweet potatoes combined with portobello mushrooms, herbs, parmesan, French gruyere, and exquisite sage bechamel for a savory and aromatic treat for the senses.

You can add or substitute parsnip, butternut squash, and pumpkin.

Now that’s what I call a perfect pairing!

 

Rare Pinot Blanc features fruit notes of apples and pears. Ours is wildly popular and often sells out. Pinot Blanc pairs well with chicken, lemon, custards, and white, soft cheeses such as brie and French gruyere.

Pinot Blanc’s light fruit compliments this Autumn Quiche perfectly. Sept Blog 2 Pic 3

The recipe makes use of a few fall harvest staples that are abundantly available: butternut squash, kale, thyme, and onion. You could also add zucchini, acorn squash and white mini pumpkin as well.

This recipe calls for a smoked gouda cheese. Yum!

As you can see, there are many great fall recipes that compliment our wines winningly.

We’ve shared just a few of our favorites with you, and we are positive you will enjoy our wines with them. Come visit our tasting room today and bring a bottle home with you.

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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.

 

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A Few Fun Reasons to Visit to McMinnville in the Fall

August 26th, 2014 by Rachel

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Autumn is the perfect season for a Pacific Northwest adventure. As leafs change and the nights chill, McMinnville is full of unique events for the perfect vacation this fall.

 

August 31—Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon

Admittedly, it’s at the tail end of summer, but if you’re a runner, this race is a can’t-miss! The 13.1 mile course weaves through the heart of Oregon Wine Country here in the Yamhill Valley. The whole weekend is packed with events, starting with Friday’s Welcome Reception in Carlton. The race is followed by a free Wine and Music Festival and local winery tour.

September 5th-7thOregon Brews and BBQ

McMinnville is certainly well-known for the local wineries, but the Willamette Valley has an amazing selection of craft brews, too! This three-day event highlights more than 35 local breweries with live music and delicious BBQ, all supporting a great local cause, the St. James Catholic School andGhana Hope Foundation. The beer, food and fun can all be found at the Granary District in McMinnville.

September 13thCarlton Crush Harvest Festival

Fall in Yamhill Valley is always harvest time at the vineyards. To celebrate our collective love of wine, and all the vineyards mean to our community, there are many harvest festivals in the area. The Carlton Crush Harvest Festival is a free, all-day event with games, an arts and crafts market, contests and live music. Oh, and there’s plenty of wine too! If you really want to get your crush on, sign up for the Grape Stomp Competition and experience the most entertaining part of the winemaking process.

October 31stSafe and Sane Halloween on Third Street

Halloween seems to be the perfect mix between fun and hectic. So this year, why not let the businesses in Downtown McMinnville do all the planning for you? Bring the kids with you for hay rides, games, cartoons and more. From 4:00-5:30pm, they can even go trick or treating on Oregon’s Favorite Main Street!

Thanksgiving Weekend—Wine Country Thanksgiving

Over 160 local wineries open their doors on Thanksgiving weekend. There are special tasting events, live music and discounts. No two wineries celebrate the same, so try to see as many as you can! A nice glass of Pinot Noir and those beautiful autumnal colors across the vineyards make the perfect pairing.

 

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All About the Crush

August 19th, 2014 by Rachel

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The harvest season is often referred to as “The Crush,” taking its name from a very important step in the winemaking process. Though foot-stomping instantly comes to mind, there is a lot more to the crush than that.

Harvesting begins once the grapes reach peak ripeness. Knowing when to harvest is not an exact science, but it usually occurs with summer turns to fall. Each grape cluster is then carefully sorted to ensure only the best fruit goes into the wine.

 

 

That’s when the crushing begins. The purpose of this stage is to break open the skins, exposing the juice and pulp. The grapes’ seeds and stems aren’t crushed because they contain the very important tannins. Not only do tannins contribute to the texture of the wine, but they are invaluable to the color and bitterness of it as well. The sooner the stems are removed in the crushing process, the less tannic a wine will be. Sometimes the stems aren’t removed until right before fermentation and pressing, which is why red wines tend to be more bitter than their white counterparts.

The crush is a very symbolic portion of the harvest season, and of winemaking in general. In fact, there are many festivals celebrating it, including the local Carlton Crush next month. These festivals are family-friendly and delight in one of our area’s greatest traditions. And, of course, there’s a lot of foot-stomping!

 

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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

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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.

 

 

 

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Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn

July 29th, 2014 by Rachel

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Founded in 1989, Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn has become a staple of the Yamhill Valley and McMinnville Winegrowers Association. We focus on premium Oregon Pinot Noirs and excellent service for all our guests.

 

The Vineyard

The vineyards at Youngberg Hill lie in the coastal foothills of Yamhill Valley, just 25 miles away from the coast. The unique location has given us rich and diverse soil to grow amazing Pinot grapes for the past 25 years. Our first two Pinot Noir blocks in the vineyard were planted in 1989, followed by our one block of Pinot Gris in 2006 and our third Pinot Noir crop in 2008.

We are on a mission to practice organic and sustainable farming at Youngberg Hill. In 2010 we were certified “Sustainable” by the Oregon Wine Board, after gaining certifications from other third party organizations. In an effort to leave the earth healthier than how we found it, we only employ soft pesticides, such as biodegradable soaps and oils, on our vines. The caution and care shown to the plants is evident in the quality of Youngberg Hill wines.

Youngberg Hill, McMinnville, Willamette Valley, OregonThe Inn

With views from the deck overlooking the Coast Range, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood, and of course the vineyards, the Youngberg Hill Inn offers a chance for a breathtaking getaway. Whether you stay in one of the five king suites or three queen guestrooms, you’re guaranteed to feel comfortable and pampered. In the mornings you can treat yourself to a gourmet breakfast or relax in the first floor library or salon. In the evening there are complimentary wine tastings where you can enjoy a famous Oregon Pinot Noir out on our deck.

Whether you come for a tasting or an overnight stay, Youngberg Hill’s goal is to provide high-quality service for a relaxing and satisfying visit.

Have you stayed with us before? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

Book your stay today!

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