Posts Tagged ‘wine country’

November Wine Touring in the Willamette Valley

November 16th, 2015 by Nicolette Bailey

Is thGregor Halenda Travel Oregon Jessis a good time to go wine touring in Oregon?  November wine touring in the Willamette Valley is a great time to taste Pinot Noirs. There are over 300 tasting rooms throughout the valley, and most all of them are open through the Thanksgiving weekend. Additionally, most of us in the valley are releasing new wines, having pick-up parties, wine club events, and winemaker dinners throughout the months of November and December. It is a great time to be out in wine country, celebrating the bountiful harvest.

With the holidays approaching, it is a great time to stock up on your party wines and dinner wines for the festive season. Many wineries offer wine specials during this time of year.

When you’re traveling through Oregon’s Wine Country, the restaurants in the area offer great dining experiences. Which dining experience is best for you? Ask around and be prepared to have a lot of options. To make your wine tasting tours easier there are several touring businesses to drive you from tasting room to tasting room. Most also offer dinner service, which is a ride to and from dinner.Fall vineard

It used to be that the “season” for tasting in Willamette Valley wine country was from Memorial Weekend until Thanksgiving. Today the “season” is all year long as many wineries are open for tasting, restaurants are open for lunch and dinner, and warm and cozy B&Bs are open to with nice fireplaces to cuddle up and enjoy that bottle of Oregon Pinot. Even after the holidays, there are plenty of places to go, wines to taste, and places to stay and eat. In January, the Oregon Truffle Festival takes place. In February, there are many Valentine events. And as March rolls around, white wines for spring and summer begin to be released.

There is never a “closed” time in the Willamette Valley.

Bottling 2014 Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley

November 2nd, 2015 by Nicolette Bailey

IMG_1059When do we bottle Pinot Noir in Willamette Valley? It’s about this time of year when Oregon Wineries move the previous year’s harvest from barrels to bottles. This is a great time to revisit last year’s harvest, and explore this wine after it’s spent some time in the barrel. 2014 was a rare year for Oregon Pinot Noir. Across the board, Willamette Valley vineyards harvested not only a large quantity of fruit, but more importantly the harvested fruit was of a high quality. All too often one is sacrificed for the benefit of the other, but not in 2014. That year began with an early spring that continued into warmer than normal weather throughout the growing season. This combination brought in a harvest two to three weeks earlier than normal, a time of year that saw very little precipitation. Often times, late in the growing season, vineyards are at the mercy of the weather, hoping for enough dry days to pick ripe fruit. As a combined result, the 2014 wines in barrel are showing ripe, voluptuous body and weight.

Bottling Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley typically takes place right before harvest in late August and September. The machines used to bottle wine are large, and require specially trained operators. Because of this, a lot of smaller wineries hire a mobile botting unit. When it is time for bottling the mobile unit is pulled to the winery.DSCN1218

Once bottled, the wine is left to age in bottle for at least another 6 months before release. However, Youngberg Hill typically release our Pinot Noirs 2 years after the fruit was harvested, so don’t expect to see these wines before November of 2016. At Youngberg Hill, our Pinot Noirs are bigger and bolder than most of the other wines produced in the valley. Because of this, we give them more time in the barrel. We normally keep our Pinot Noir in barrel for at least 12 months or more. With the 2014 vintage being special, we will hold the wine in our French White Oak barrels for 14 months. This additional time in the barrel will impart more of the oak flavor, complementing the bigger fruit flavor of the 2014 harvest. We believe this will ultimately create a superb and well balanced Pinot Noir.


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Making White Wines in The Willamette Valley

October 19th, 2015 by Nicolette Bailey

IMG_2086What is the difference between making white wines or red wines in the Willamette Valley? The main difference is that rather than leaving the juice from the grape on the skins after destemming, whites wines typically are not destemmed and the grapes juice is immediately pressed off the skins, stems, and seeds. Second, while red wine is fermented over a 12 to 14 day period at warm temperatures (75 to 80 degrees), white wines are typically fermented over a longer period, 30 plus days, at cooler temperatures around 60 degrees. Red wines are also typically fermented to dry meaning all the sugar has been converted to alcohol. With white wines, that could vary significantly from a very sweet wine (stopping fermentation before the sugar is all converted) all the way to bone dry (no residual sugar).

Depending on the varietal, white wines may go directly from stainless steel tanks to bottle within four months or go into barrel for several months before bottling. For example, our Pinot Gris goes directly from tank to bottle and is released about six months after harvest. Our Pinot Blanc goes into neutral oak barrels for a couple of months just to allow the wine to age a little more. Our Chardonnay is put in once used barrels for six to eight months to provide some slight oak character while retaining all the fruit profile. They process isn’t done just in the Willamette Valley but are standard practices in the wine industry.

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7 Ways You Can Add Organic Charm to Your Wine Country Wedding

September 1st, 2015 by Rachel

 Wine Country WeddingWe are sure you’ve seen all of the amazing boho-chic and rustic organic charm featured in Pinterest weddings. You have also probably seen the “Pinterest fails” when someone tries to duplicate the beautiful photos and projects featured on that popular website. In this article, we have compiled seven beautiful ideas that will add organic charm to your Willamette Valley wedding. We have seen these ideas in action, so we know you won’t have to take a “fail” picture when using them in your wedding.

1 – Incorporate seasonal flowers. A spring/early summer wedding may bloom with soft pink peonies and roses while a summer wedding can feature glorious dahlias and sunflowers. Using seasonal flowers can only enhance the natural surroundings found here in Oregon Wine country.Wine Country Wedding

2 – Speaking of flowers… think about where you want the flowers.
When we think about boho-chic weddings or weddings with an organic feel, we usually think about flower crowns adorning the bride’s hair, trailing bouquets, and flowers in containers big and small. While you may think to just adorn everything with flowers, that can get pretty expensive. So, consider how and where you’d like to place the flowers so that you get the biggest bang for your buck.

3 – The cake can be anything from crazy creative or super au naturel. Generally, organic or rustic weddings have a cake that either looks like a flower or has flowers involved in the decoration. The other side of the boho/organic coin is to have a very plain looking layered cake. If you want the flower look, but don’t want to actually eat petals, you may want to look at silk flower cake toppers or other faux flower decorations.

Wine Country Wedding4 – Decorations can be creative. Organic weddings have a flowy, wild garden, and vintage feel. This means you can use your imagination when decorating. Think about different fillers you can use. Some ideas include hay, snapdragons, rosemary, feathers, wildflowers, or thistle. Also, look at materials like lace and burlap to decorate your chairs or vases. You can have a ton of fun decorating for your wine country wedding.

5 – Mismatching is okay. We have seen more and more couples use adorably mismatched vases and mason jars, wood and metal buckets, fun wood signs, and more. When you go for a boho-chic look, mismatching goes with the overall look.

Willamette Valley Wedding6 – You aren’t stuck with a traditional dress or only wearing white. Modern brides are not stuck with pure white, traditionally cut dresses. Wedding dresses can be any color and any style.  Pick the dress and color that makes you feel gorgeous and you have your wedding dress!

7 – Have fun with it! Pinterest weddings are always gorgeous, but this is your wedding. You and your partner are celebrating your unique and one-of-a-kind love. So, don’t feel restricted by Pinterest or a set theme. Create your own beauty and we guarantee your wedding will be just as wonderful as your love for one another.

We hope our tips have helped you as you plan your big day!Willamette Valley Wedding

Looking for Youngberg Hill Wines?

February 26th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey



If you aren’t able to visit us at Youngberg Hill to enjoy our wines in person, here is a list of retail shops where you can find our wine.  If these shops are inconvenient to you, we are happy to ship direct to wherever you are.  If the store listed doesn’t have our wine in stock, ask them to order it in as it is available to them.

Of course if you are in the area, we would love for you to visit our tasting room on the Hill, and sample all of the vintages of Youngberg Hill wines we have to offer.  We’ve recently added a beautiful deck, and the view is outrageous!


Portland, OR ( and surrounding area) – Korkage, Primrose & Tumbleweeds, Lamb’s Stroheckers, Fred Meyer – Burlingame, Whole Foods – Bridgeport, Blackbird Wine Shop, Wine Up, Whole Foods – Tanasbourne, New Seasons, QFC -Stadium

Eugene, OR – Sundance

Jacksonville, OR– Corks, Jacksonville Inn, & Chateaulin-Ashland

Bend, OR– Rays-Sisters, Good Drop Wine Shop, Wine Shop next to 900 Wall

Salem,OR– Roth’s

Oregon Coast – Cellar on 10th in Astoria, Wine Shack in Cannon Beach

Seattle, WA – Wine World & Bottlehouse.

Minnesota– Byerly’s ( Burnsville, Golden Valley, Maple Grove and Ridgedale),  Excelsior Vintage, Lake Wine and cheese Shop, Lund’s Plymouth, Lund’s Wine & Spirits Downtown, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop wine and Spirits, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Mike’s Liquor, North Loop Wine and Spiritis, Skyway Wine & Spirits, Sorella Wine & Spirits, Thomas Liquors, Wine & Spirits at 7 & 41, Zipps Liquors.

Chicago – Wine Knows, Everetts Liquor, The Noble Grape (will special order), Five Forks Market All Wined Up, Select Beverages, The Tasting Room and City Winery.


Wine Country Lodging Getaway – Jura Suite

August 12th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

JuraRm-01The Jura Suite was originally two, small, separate guest rooms in the Inn that were combined in 1994 to make a larger suite.  Although it was always a beautiful room, we knew that we could improve it, and in late December of 2012 we took on the challenge of welcoming in the coming year by giving the Jura a complete makeover!

There were four main focus areas for design; the view, the headboard, the larger bathroom with glass wine sinks, and the fireplace.  Everything else fit around these elements.   The beautiful original panoramic windows always filled the room with light and gave guests a full view of the valley, so we decided to keep them.  It felt great to kick off the Jura remodel by making an energy efficient update that corresponded with our convictions to uphold good environmental practices here at Youngberg Hill .  Although we loved the original trim, the chance to change the trim color throughout the entire room in order to give the room some special flare that set it aside from all the rest was simply too fun to pass up.  We now enjoy a dark chocolate trim that picks up the tones of the other new additions in the room – the headboard and the wood grains in the exposed beams above.

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Veraison! Oregon’s Wine Country Changing Colors

August 6th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Veraison blog

No, it’s not fall yet in Oregon Wine Country, but we are starting to see the first glimpse of Veraison in the Willamette Valley! Veraison is the ripening process as wine grapes change color from green to a deep blue purple for red wine grapes, autumn colors for grey grapes (or gris), and frosty light green for white grapes. This color change typically takes place in late August/early September. Bergström just facebooked that they are seeing the first signs of Veraison.  This is a month earlier than normal. California typically is going through Veraison at this time, and afterward Oregon follows suit, but every year brings something different! Specific to the Willamette Valley, the north end of the valley typically starts Veraison earlier. Since Youngberg Hill is located at a higher altitude, we are usually a couple of weeks behind the majority of vineyards.

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Oregon Winery Live Music

July 27th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

music blog2As a small, local vineyard, we love to stay connected with and give back to our community.  One of the most fun ways to bring people together is through music, and we are excited to be hosting a number of benefit concerts on the Hill this summer, along with free, live music up on the Hill every Thursday night through mid-September!

We are featuring both local McMinnville and Portland-based musicians, who have been making waves state and nationwide, at our events. Some of these artists include The Djangophiles, who are among the world’s masters of Parisian Swing and Gypsy Jazz, singer/songwriter Sara Jackson-Holman, whose powerful compositions have been featured on a number of television shows including “The Ringer,” “90210,” “Castle,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and pianist Mike Strickland, whose music has appeared on CBS Sports PGA Golf for multiple seasons, along with NBC, FOX, ABC, and in the major motion pictures “This Christmas” (2007) and “Obsessed” (2009).

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The Wonder of Weddings!

June 8th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

02 powers grapesWe prepare for wedding season all year long at Youngberg Hill.  The site preparation, the upgrades, the vegetation – the small things that make the Hill such a special place to get married.  From the first time a future bride and groom see the vineyard and the view, there is an energy and enthusiasm that carries through the entire planning of their big day.  Some couples we meet with want everything simple and elegant, while others are working off a list that they have been compiling for years.  They are both equally charming and delightful.  After choosing a venue the next step is choosing the vendors that make the day so complete – caterers, photographers, cake artists, florists – we enjoy helping clients choose from the vast array of talent available in the Northwest.

The first vendor that is typically selected after the venue is the caterer.  Youngberg Hill has a preferred caterer and offers options for any caterer you choose.  Capturing the wedding day through poignant photography is easy to do with an experienced photographer (and a great setting!), and many offer a variety of packages and options.  The spectacular setting of the Hill seems to capture each wedding as serene and blissful, and every sunset backdrop sets a tone of tranquility and ever-afters.

Then there are music choices to make, florists to hire, cakes to taste.  (To all the grooms, go to the cake tasting!)  Take good notes,  keep a sense of humor, and embrace the random craziness.  And if all else fails, hire a wedding coordinator!



Wine Travel

May 11th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

wine travel1smNot all wine enthusiasts have the opportunity to travel to Oregon’s wine country to explore the wonderful valley where grapes are grown and wine is made.  Therefore, it’s important for us as winemakers to travel to markets across the country to share our life’s work with others.  We have had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to do just that.  You might ask: “why travel to the midwest this time of year?”  The answer is simple – right now is the slow period in the vineyard.  In April the vines will begin the new growing season and there will be work to do.  Most of us are farmers first, and without close attention to the vineyard, we are not able to produce the quality of Pinot Noir that is expected from the Willamette Valley.

So we found ourselves in Minnesota, Iowa, and Chicago during one of those late winter snow storms that reminds us that spring is still a ways off.  But fortunately the storm passed quickly and travel carried on.  We are very excited about the increased awareness of Oregon Pinot Noir in Minneapolis.  It seems to align with Minneapolis’ recognition as the “foodiest city” in the country and its new-found love of holistic culinary eateries.

Chicago continues to be one of the best restaurant cities in the country, and where there is good food, there is good wine.  Chicagoans are beginning to discover the great versatility of Pinot Noir with food pairing and that Oregon’s more elegant and higher acidic pinots are a perfect match for the foods they love.


We had great success in both markets, with new retail placements and glass pours at many of the top restaurants.  We look forward to returning next year, to rekindle friendships and cultivate new ones, over a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir.