Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’

Willamette Valley Geology 101 | Youngberg Hill

January 6th, 2014 by Nicolette Bailey

dirt 2As farmers, we wine grape growers have a strong interest in the soils our vines are planted in. When we explain to guests the different characteristics of our soils, we are often asked how the soils got there and why they are so different from one another. During such a discussion with some recent guests, we were fortunate to have among them a geologist who was visiting.  He not only took a strong interest in our explanation, but had additional information to share as well.  For all of our “dirt-geek” readers, and for those who just want to learn more, his research points can be read in the following pdf .  We are thankful to have such interested and passionate guests who want to join the discussion about wine farming, and welcome your comments on the topic of soil in the Willamette Valley!

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2013 Oregon Wine Vintage in Review

December 16th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Harvest 2013 104Oh what a beautiful October we had!  Many wine grape growers in the area say that September weather determines how good of a year we have for the vintage. I believe that October tells a good story of vintage quality but its not the whole story. While much of the ripening takes place in September, October is when everything comes together.

2013 Oregon wine vintage was no exception. The growing season started early with an early spring, and that timing continued throughout the season. The summer proved to be a little warmer than normal which also had things moving along a little faster. The combination resulted in ripening happening in warmer conditions, moving sugars and acids ahead of other ripening factors, which may throw the resulting wines out of balance. This caused some farmers to become concerned that the grapes were going to need to be harvested early and that the resulting wines would be high in alcohol.

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Wine Club at Youngberg Hill

November 25th, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

Thanksgiving 2013 edit 001It is release time for the 2011 vintage, and the perfect time to join our Wine Club!

Wine clubs are a great way to keep in touch with wineries that you enjoy, to keep your wine cellar stocked, to try new vintages before the general public gets to, and to receive and/or purchase wines or vintages that are only available to wine club members. In fact, there are some entire vintages that are only available to wine club members.

A Wine club membership provides discounts on purchases for semi-annual shipments and on other orders. Members are also invited to participate in special events throughout the year including winemaker’s dinners, free tastings, wine tours, barrel tastings, club pickup events, blending parties, and more. Wine clubs also provide opportunities to enjoy wines that are not released to the general public or stores.

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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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Growing Pinot Noir in Oregon’s Willamette Valley

July 31st, 2013 by Nicolette Bailey

vineyard2013 has been a relatively good growing season so far for Oregon Pinot Noir. We had an early spring in terms of warmer temperatures and drier weather in April and May. Budbreak and bloom were on time or slightly ahead and we just concluded fruit set. The clusters are very full and berry size is even. We will be counting clusters and weighing clusters in the next couple of weeks to determine how much fruit to cut off to maximize quality.

We have raised catch wires to the top of the posts and hedged the vines. We have also removed leaves on the east side of the vines to open up the canopy and expose the fruit to cool morning sunlight. We are cutting and plowing under more cover crop to eliminate competition for water, as we are having a few more hotter days than normal and drier ground water. In fact, our number of hours hotter than 50 degrees is similar to California’s Sonoma County so far this year. We have had a few more days of higher than normal humidity, as well, that increases propensity for mildew pressure. Therefore, we have been more diligent in our spray program to ensure the vines are protected. The drier than normal conditions have made this easier to manage.

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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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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.

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.