Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill Wine’

Team Lucy to Dominate Carlton Crush

September 8th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

The stomp team proudly representing Youngberg Hill is training with daily climbs up the vineyard slopes, readying for the Carlton Crush! They have been training since the main “Lucy Event” back in May, which included the Lucy Look-alike Contest. From that we culled our four Lucy beauties, ready to take on all comers in the first annual Carlton Crush stomping competition. While the practice of crushing the grapes is typically not done with bare feet here in the New World, the idea has us all flash back to one of the most popular Lucy episodes. In fact, in Oregon, and especially concerning the Pinot Noir grape, the concept of crush applies more to the time of year and harvest than it does to what actually happens to the grapes. Because Pinot Noir skins are thin and fragile, we take great care in keeping the grapes whole and not bruising the skins prior to fermentation. Therefore, the idea of crushing Pinot Noir grapes makes most of us winemakers cringe. But harvest, otherwise known as crush, is a great time of celebration, and Carlton Crush is one of many celebrations that will take place during the month of September. We will also be hosting our annual harvest dinner on September 29th up on The Hill to celebrate the season’s harvest, to share the bounty with guests and neighbors, and to thank those that helped all season long. So whether you enjoy wine, beautiful weather, fun and games, or are just looking for something different to do, come out to Carlton and watch as Team Lucy begins its reign as the #1 stomp team at the Carlton Crush!

It’s All About the Weather

September 2nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

As farmers of wine grapes, like most other farmers, our main topic of discussion is, more often than not, the weather. Fortunately, the weather in the Willamette Valley this year has been more cooperative  than in most of the country. Coming from the Midwest, we know what hot, dry weather can do to crops, and we sympathize with our fellow farmers who are currently experiencing drought conditions there.

We are getting a little heat ourselves right now, and this summer was slated is to be about 5 degrees above normal.  This type of weather and humidity levels are conducive to  grape growing in the valley. It was an earlier, warmer spring and the weather during bud break, bloom, and fruit set was favorable.  Humidity has been low, so mildew pressure has been less problematic.

So, what does it mean for this year’s vintage?  It’s too early to determine.  There are still two and a half months of growing season AND weather that could either destroy the crop or make it the best vintage ever. Not to mention other natural influences like birds, that love to pick the grapes before we do!

The grapes will begin “veraison” in the next couple of weeks, which is the beginning of the ripening process when the grapes turn color. September is when we hope for sunny, mild weather to ripen the fruit.  Too much sunshine and heat will result in higher sugars, bigger fruit, and potential raisoning. Not enough of these, and we may have to intervene to get suitable fruit.

But Mother Nature is in charge now, and we are patient and watchful, and optimistic.




August 17th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

Oregon’s 2012 fruit set is now complete in and we have our first idea of what our crop might be like when it comes time to harvest. The size and shape of the newly formed clusters suggests more even ripening and cleaner fruit than last season. A looser cluster, which we’re currently seeing, allows air to flow through, keeping the fruit cleaner.

What else is going on in the vineyard? Removing leaves on the east side of the fruit zone. Shoot positioning. Raising catch wires. Hedging. Making a second pass with the in-row cultivator. And mowing.

The vines are now slowing down vegetal growth and focusing more of their energy on the fruit itself. The next month will see the growth of little green BB’s, which will bloom into full-sized grapes prior to ripening.

Mother Nature is right on schedule!



Working Together, Learning Together

August 4th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

Steamboat Inn, on the North Umpqua river east of Roseberg, Oregon, is a beautiful and remote fly fishing area.  It is also the birthplace of the annual Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference, which was founded in July of 1980.  This conference originally brought together colleagues within the Oregon wine industry for a week of sharing and problem-solving like no other gathering did.  In an impressively cooperative effort, they met year after year, bringing samples of their wines to share with their counterparts, and learning from each other how they could make better Pinot. The tradition and collaboration continues, with the 31st annual Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference took place the last week of July.

Today, winemakers from all over the world come to Steamboat to compare winemaker notes, share trouble wines, discuss vineyard and winery practices, and develop relationships that keep the exchange of ideas going throughout the year. The focus is Pinot noir, but many discussions go beyond that varietal and benefit all.  Every region of the world benefits from each other as different experiences bring new ideas to light.  For example, in Australia, they started using whey as a substitute for sulfur in the prevention of mildew, and now many of us in the Willamette Valley are doing the same.  The examples go on and on.

While the wine industry in Oregon is quite young, our learning curve has been much steeper than that of old world countries due to our cooperation and communications.  It has always been a belief here that it is bad for everyone in the region if one producer makes a bad wine.  Conversely, if we all make good wines, we all benefit.  That has happened in spades for Pinot noir in the Willamette Valley.  And it is pioneers like Stephen Carey of Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Myron Redford of Amity that have kept that spirit alive in a formal way at Steamboat.



Wedding Fun!

July 7th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

Oregon Bride Magazine  recently voted Youngberg Hill as the Best All-Inclusive Venue and Best Oregon Destination Wedding Site Statewide for 2012.  We have been honored and humbled to win such recognition in an industry where family-owned locations don’t always garner as much attention as the large corporate venues.  We have been doing weddings at Youngberg Hill for the past eight years and enjoy being part of a couple’s “new beginnings”.  While the images of the bride and the vineyard countryside will take your breath away, it’s our goal to otherwise have everyone breathing easier during a wedding at Youngberg Hill.

There are many components to a successful wedding, and finding the right location is key.  Our spectacular 360 view, the vineyard backdrop and complete outdoor venue all come together to make Youngberg Hill a stunning setting for the perfect wedding.

Like a lot of weddings, those on the Hill have their share of unexpected moments – from the flower girls and ring bearers that make everyone laugh; to the mother-of-the-bride who was asked to hold a glass of wine for a unity ceremony but drank it instead; to an NBA cheerleader’s breakout dance performance!  Other moments, though expected, still draw the emotions to the surface – such as the look of happiness in the faces the newly married couple.  Very few things can top that!

To all of you who voted for us, thank you so much.  It means a lot to us to know that we are a part of so many brides’ happy memories of their special day.  Here’s to love!



IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration)

June 30th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

The IPNC, located in McMinnville Oregon, is now in its 26th year as one of the world’s premier events focused solely on Pinot Noirs.  It is a rare opportunity to taste some of the best Pinot Noirs from around the world, side by side, paired with specifically chosen food, and centered around educational sessions to learn more about what makes Pinot Noir special.

While the focus of the event was originally Oregon Pinot Noir (as is Oregon Pinot Camp today, or OPC, held in mid-June each year), it quickly expanded to include Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Australia, New Zealand, California, Germany, Austria, and Canada. To have the opportunity to taste Pinot Noir from these very different regions of the world and compare them to each other is a rare experience.

Rarer still is the gathering of winemakers from these regions, as they discuss the challenges in their particular growing area and what makes their terroir distinctive.

IPNC always runs the last weekend in July and promises to be even more highly attended than in the past.

We are looking forward to running into old friends who share our passion for the grape, and welcoming new vintners into the fold.  The guest speakers are well chosen and the group will benefit from their expertise.  But mostly the IPNC is about celebration – a celebration of Pinot Noir and the beauty of the wines produced from this special grape.

Enjoy Your Stay

June 23rd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

With the vineyard, tasting room, weddings, and the rest of the buzz going on at Youngberg Hill, it’s nice to slow down as the evening arrives, and get to know the guests that are staying with us at the Inn.  They hail from all over the world, and have found us through our website, their friends or other avenue, and have decided to make Youngberg Hill their place to retreat and recharge throughout their vacation stay.  Many return each year, and we like to consider them our friends.  When they come down for breakfast in their bathrobe, we know they feel the same.  Our guests are those travelers that are looking for a relaxing, out-of-the-way experience where it is peaceful, laid back and unassuming.

We have an instant connection with our guests through our shared love of wine.  Over 90% of our guests are in the valley to taste Oregon Pinot Noir, and they relish the idea of staying on a vineyard, seeing where the fruit comes from that is going into the wine they are enjoying.  Sharing our wine and our story with the guests that join us every afternoon at our wine tasting reception gives both them and us an opportunity to really get to know each other, our families, our wines, and the valley.  And we get to hear of their other adventures – driving to the coast for the day, hiking at Silver Falls, visiting the Gorge or Mount Hood, or hot air ballooning.

When their vacation comes to a close, and they go home to New York, Atlanta, Germany, Australia, Seattle, Dallas or China, they will sometimes check in with their friends on the Hill, to let us know they’ve opened our wine, they are missing Oregon, or that they are passing this way again.   And we love to hear from them, and look forward to sharing another glass of wine.

Play with your Food and your Wine

June 9th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

When selecting a wine for dinner, many of us typically play it safe.  We tend to choose a wine we know and like.  It’s like driving the same route home every day without even thinking of it because we do it so often.  We recently had a wonderful experience playing with our food at the Wine Country Cooking Studio in Dundee with Chef Wendy Bennett.  It was an experience that was interactive, educational, creative, and hands on.  Something as simple as making a salad with ingredients you hadn’t thought of before but were right in front of you.   We played with the food and gained an appreciation we didn’t have before.  It got me thinking, why not play with wine the same way?  We love when we are able to share with guests how the grapes are grown and the wine is made; you can see them light up with discovery.    Everything comes together with an understanding of what you’re enjoying and why.  Yes, wine can be fun if you play with it.  We see it daily in our tasting room when a guest might taste our Pinot Blanc, or something else they haven’t tried before.  Or when someone visits us from another state, and experiences Oregon Pinot Noir for the first time.

 When was the last time you played with your wine?

A Wine Club with Lagniappe

June 2nd, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

What was the funny word again, lagniappe (lan-yap)? It is a tradition in Spanish business trade for the seller to offer something beyond what is being purchased as a gesture of appreciation toward their customer.  We at Youngberg Hill have also adopted this tradition, to ensure that our wine club members receive a little something more than our wonderful wines with their membership.

It starts with no sign-up fees.  Ours is a pay-as-you-go membership and the shipments are fully customizable.  Care to pick up your shipments at the tasting room?  We throw two pick-up parties a year so you can save some cost on shipping and sample your latest acquisitions.

Additionally, the discount assigned to your wine club membership level is good for all Youngberg Hill purchases, including stays at the Inn.  Tasting fees are waived for you and your friends.  You can restock your cellar any time, again using your discount, and for those special occasions you might be able to talk us out of something from our wine library.

And for those in the Pinot Club, they also receive passes to two winemaker’s dinner served at Youngberg Hill.

As an added token, if you as a wine club member bring an empty 375ml bottle with you on your next visit to Youngberg Hill, it will not leave empty.

It is time for you to join us!   Click on this link and you will soon be sipping some of the best wines in the Valley, and enjoying the royal treatment atop the Hill.



Biodynamics and How Nature Works

May 26th, 2012 by Nicolette Bailey

We are often asked what the term “biodynamics” means. My response is simply that it’s an holistic approach to farming.  Just as a naturopath looks at an illness by considering all aspects of the body, we solve agricultural  problems by looking at the entire farm, and seeing where improvements can be made.  Just as one’s own body health includes diet, exercise, cleanliness, etc., so the farm’s health is made up of different elements all working together.  We are constantly aware of how changes in one area of the farm impacts other areas, either positively or negatively, and work to minimize the negative.

One such example is the need to reduce the impact of an particular insect on the farm – yellowjackets. We will not use poisons because it will have an adverse effect on other, non-harmful insects. We do not even necessarily want to kill off the yellowjackets – just reduce their numbers, which in turn will reduce their negative impact on the farm.

To achieve this, we capture several of them in a trap. We then use a biodynamic process to combine the remains of the yellowjackets with some other materials to make a tea.  That tea, which acts as a natural repellant, is then sprayed in those areas that we want the wasps to avoid.

Not only have we noticed a significant reduction in yellowjackets in the areas that were treated with the tea, but we have also seen an increase in beneficial insects and birds in those same areas.

Nature helps us strike a balance on the farm, and as long as we are working  with that balance in mind, we, along with our grapes, garden, animals and ultimately our wine, all thrive.

Wayne Bailey will be hosting a Biodynamics class at Youngberg Hill on July 26th.  Visit our calender of events  for more details.