Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’

Budbreak 2013

May 4th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

budbreak blogWe started seeing budbreak on April 15th this year.  We haven’t had budbreak this early since 2005!  Why are we excited about this?  Budbreak is the “official” beginning of the seasonal growth cycle of the vines.  Although weather and temperatures may have a slight impact on the speed at which the vines grow through the season, everything hinges on and calculates back to the number of days since budbreak; whether it be the timing of bloom, fruit set, veraison, or harvest.

Why is this so important for us here in the Willamette Valley?  We are in a cooler climate than most grape growing regions and therefore do not get as many degree hours of heat per day.  So it is important for us to get as many days above 60 degrees as possible.  An earlier spring and later fall both help in providing those additional days.  Regardless of the weather, it still takes the vines about 180 days from budbreak to harvest (full ripening of the fruit).  It is approximately 110 days from bloom to harvest.

We consistently are pushing against the envelope in October to get fruit ripe before the rains start in earnest. So the more dry time we get, the better.  And an earlier budbreak helps to give us that time.  We hope we are blessed with equal good fortune throughout the summer months!

Winemaking is a Celebration

April 27th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

060Wine drinkers often drink wine as a celebration.  I like to think of it as a holistic celebration of life.  First comes the growing of the grapes.  This process requires us to work in concert with nature (and we choose to do this organically and holistically) for approximately nine months, to produce the best possible fruit.  During that process, there are dozens of workers using their eyes, hands, minds, and feet to work the vines and nurture the soil.  We must dance with the weather and sing to the sun.  And thus we celebrate the harvest of the fruit we have toiled to grow all summer long.

In the winery, it is a concert of activity mostly performed by the fruit itself; fermenting, fermenting again, and then growing and aging in barrel.  And there are many of us performing different activities to ensure a safe environment for the grapes to do what they do best.  So it is a cadence and movement that are performed in the winery to evolve the wine into something new.  At the time of bottling, we again celebrate the completion of another stage in the evolution of the wine.

With the wine in bottle, there is a dance and song that many individuals perform as the wine is marketed, transported, and sold throughout the world to the end consumer.  Everything that goes into grape growing and winemaking and wine selling, I do not view as many individual businesses just doing their jobs.  We are all working in concert, in the celebration of life, as family.

 

Do The Glasses Really Matter?

March 30th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

wine glasses matterYes!

Wine glasses are designed for different varietals and for different reasons.  Is it necessary to use the “correct” glass every time?  No.  And probably not practical. However, there are a couple of guidelines that may help you enjoy your wines more.

A larger glass is always better, regardless of a red or white wine.  White wines typically do not need as large a bowl to aerate, but it doesn’t hurt.  It is unfortunate when wines are tasted and/or served in a small glass, because the aromas are stifled.  Red wines especially need bigger bowled glasses so they can be agitated more to open up, stir the aromatics, and warm to the occasion.

 

 

White in Time!

March 16th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

white wineWith the approach of spring, warmer weather and white wine comes to mind.  We are preparing to bottle our 2012 Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc in April.  Which is timely, because we sold out the last of our 2011′s in September.  We leave our white wines in stainless steel tanks after fermentation, then cold stabilize, and bottle.  Different from our Pinot Noir, we make our Gris and Blanc to drink young, so they will be available in May – just in time for warmer weather and sunny skies.
Come join us on the Hill for a taste of Spring!

 

I am an Oregonian!

February 23rd, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

I am an OregonianHow does one become an Oregonian?  Those of us who’ve moved here from a different state to live understand what I’m asking.  We moved here 10 years ago from Chicago and sometimes I still feel like I am not considered to be an Oregonian by some.  Oregonians are proud, easy going people, and very friendly, but like many people everywhere, some Oregonians have a hard time accepting change.  I’m still told regularly that I’m not an Oregonian.  I walk too fast and talk too fast and drive too fast.  Many things that used to drive me crazy I now accept as part of the culture, like never pumping my own gas.  I use to be  frustrated that I am not allowed to do this basic task when I have been doing it for almost 20 years.  Now I think of having a gas station attendant pump my gas as a little gift so I don’t have to get out of the car on a rainy winter day.

I’ve discovered there isn’t a magic formula for becoming an Oregonian.   I do know that you feel like one before you are one.  You can’t change Oregon, but it changes you. These days I am slowing down.  I am starting to understand small town living, look forward to talking to people on 3rd Street, and I have found that as I’ve made friends and gotten to know my neighbors, I’m not too concerned anymore about not being considered an Oregonian.  I just absolutely love living here and I can’t think of any place I would rather be than this wonderful place called Oregon.

Hey, I am an Oregonian!

~Nicolette

 

Pruning 101

February 9th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

pruningIts pruning time in Oregon and all the vineyards are hard at work.  Pruning is the most important function we do for the health of the plants and the production of wine grapes.  We are not pruning solely to obtain the highest yield or get rid of the old growth, although these factors are important.  Primarily we are pruning to provide the best flow of nutrients, water, and energy from the vine through to the shoots, the leaves, and ultimately, the fruit.

So what is pruning?  For most of us who are growing Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, it is cutting off almost all the vegetative growth from the previous growing season.  At the end of each season, all that’s left is the stock, two fruiting canes – growing from and perpendicular to the stock, and about 14-16 shoots coming off the fruiting canes.  The beautiful canopy of leafy shade is gone, and all that remains is the skeleton of the plant.

On each plant, we will cut off both last year’s fruiting canes with all the shoots leaving only two new fruiting canes that were new shoots grown last year. The selection of which shoots to leave as the next year’s fruiting cane is critical. We choose these shoots based on how the energy and balance flow in the vine.  This may be an easy selection on one vine and a very difficult one on the next.  It is important for the health of the vine and its production to select the shoots that are going to do the best job of transferring nutrients and energy throughout the plant. This takes a trained eye and an understanding of the physiology of the vines.

Ultimately, we strive to help keep the plant in balance as it prepares to burst forth once again.  If your visiting an Oregon winery in the next few weeks ask them to show you.  We would love it!

 

 

Pinot Noir=Oregon

January 20th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

oregon=pn2There continues to be a lot of discussion in the industry regarding the perception of Oregon wines, the relationship with Pinot Noir, and how to best market. I think the relationship is reciprocal. What do I mean by that?

Oregon (in particular the Willamette Valley) is a great place to grow Pinot Noir. We are producing Pinot Noir that rivals any produced anywhere in the world. We continue to gain accolades such as those published in the latest Wine Spectator. Therefore, Pinot Noir = Oregon.

Oregon is also growing other varietals and producing some very fine wines, however, Pinot Noir is what has put Oregon on the map as being a viable wine producing state and over 50% of Oregon wine production is Pinot Noir. Therefore, I say Oregon = Pinot Noir.

So from a marketing perspective, Oregon should put its best foot (product) forward by promoting Oregon Pinot Noir across the world, differentiating Oregon Pinot Noir from others produced around the world by our unique growing conditions, soils, quality, and sustainability. The more we do that, the more awareness there will be, the more wine sold, the more tourism, and the more non-Pinot Noir wines will be recognized. Let’s not be another California.

 

Wine Serving Temperatures

January 12th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

temperaturesSo at what temperature should you enjoy your favorite wine?  As depicted in the diagram, it depends on what type of wine it is.  But also heavily factored is how you prefer it.  Just as what kind of wine you like, and what food you pair it with, the temperature of the wine is a personal preference, but a little guidance may help.  Most wine is consumed either too cold which masks the taste (in the case of white wine) or too warm (in the case of red).  Why?  Because most of the time we pull a bottle of white out of the refrigerator or a bottle of red off the wine rack in the dining room.

Ideally, both are kept in a wine cellar or other temperature-controlled environment at a temperature of 55 degrees.  White wine could then be pulled from the cellar, opened, and drank immediately.  Red wine could also be pulled out of the cellar, opened to breathe, poured into a larger glass (warmed by the hands), and drank.

Another factor to consider is whether or not you are eating food with it, and if so, what is the temperature of that food?  If the wine is closer in temperature to the food temperature, there is better exchange of flavors. I don’t mean to suggest your wine should be as hot as your soup!  But a white wine could go a little cooler with a salad and a little warmer with a crab cake.

It also depends on the weather.  A refreshing cool wine (white or red) hits the spot on a sunny day, while a warmer wine by the fire on a winter night is just right!

 

 

Times They are A-Changing!

January 5th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

wine packagingI never thought I would see a French wine bottled with a screw cap. Well, it has happened, and more than once.  As we consider ALL aspects of storing, transporting, serving, and drinking wine, our priorities can change.

In regards to closures, it was once believed that cork was the only way to seal wine in a bottle. Now we know that other closures may be better for the wine, the consumer, and the environment. The “right” answer may vary from wine to wine, and even change over time as we get more information.

Wine used to be transported in barrels to its destination of consumption, similar to beer. That changed with the development of glass bottles, making wine purchasing more economical and convenient.  The 750ml bottle became the standard of the industry, and remained so for many years.  Today, barrels (or kegs) are again being used to transport wine to the point of consumption and purchase.  Furthermore wine is currently available in boxes, bags, plastic bottles, and can even be purchased by going to a retailer and “filling up” your container as if you were at a gas station.  To date, none of these alternatives have jeopardized the quality of the wine.  In fact, in many cases, the quality has been enhanced, just as we have seen with the screw cap.

In what alternative packaging have you obtained your favorite wines recently?

 

 

Winning Wines

December 29th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

robert parkerOpinions on wine ratings can range as wide as the ratings on the bottles of wine themselves.  The most interesting thing to me is that all the attention tends to be paid to those wines that rate a 90 or above, which are considered by the rater to be outstanding or better.  Are we all drinking outstanding or better wines every night at dinner?  Are those the only bottles of wine we are purchasing at our favorite wine retailer?  Probably not.  What about the 80 to 90 point wines, considered to be very good to great wines? In most cases, those are the wines we drink on a regular basis.

Also interesting is the point to price relationship.  A producer may have a wine priced at $50 dollars receive a rating of 87, and another wine priced at $30 rated 90. How could that be? The producer certainly would argue that the higher priced wine is the higher valued (better) wine. What went wrong?

I would suggest remembering two factors when deciding to purchase wine based on ratings. First is the condition under which a wine is rated. Typically a wine is rated in a group of several wines at the same time, so a singular wine cannot help but be rated relative to the other wines being tasted.  Second, the rater is biased by what he likes and does not like.

When using ratings to make a purchase, use the critic’s description of the wine rather than the number to decide whether that is a wine you would like.  Second, use the ratings of someone whom you have found to have a similar taste to yours. If you have not identified that particular wine critic, that is when the fun begins!