Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’

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.

Read the rest of this page »

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).

Read the rest of this page »

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.

 

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.