Posts Tagged ‘Youngberg Hill’

Making Pinot Noir in The Willamette Valley

October 6th, 2015 by Nicolette Bailey

DSC_6902Many of us who make Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley either learned our wine-making trade in Burgundy or aspire to make wines in a manner similar to Burgundy. What does that mean? It means using a light touch in the winery to let the wine reflect where the fruit was grown and what weather the fruit was grown in. This philosophy creates wines that will be very different across the valley and vary significantly from year to year.

How is this done? We do this by doing as little as possible in the winery to change the natural characteristics coming from the fruit. An example of that is “crush”. While we all envision Lucy stomping on the grapes in that classic TV episode and in some regions with some varietals, we take great care in not “crushing the grapes before going into fermentation. Because Pinot Noir is a feminine grape with thin skins, it is important not to bruise the fruit, which will change the characteristics of the wine. We also take care not to make any adjustments to the wine like adding acid if it is a low acid year, adding sugar if it is a low sugar year, or adding water if it is a high sugar year. We use the saying “It is what it is”.

I often use the analogy of raising children to wine-making. If you try to make a rocket scientist out of a child with innate skills as a concert pianist, he probably wouldn’t be as good a rocket scientist as he would be a concert pianist. In the same way, if one tries to manipulate the wine to taste a certain way, it is most likely not going to be as good a wine as if it is left to reflect the fruit it is made from.

Finally, the wine will go into barrel, typically French white oak for our Pinot Noirs) for anywhere from 14 to 24 months depending on the vintage and the fruit. After barreling, we will bottle and hold for several months before releasing typically  two years from the time it was harvested.

blog action photo tasting room sing

The History of Pinot Noir and Why it is THE Willamette Valley Grape

September 22nd, 2015 by Rachel

Pinot NoirPinot Noir is one of the earliest varieties of grape cultivated and used for making wine. Pinot has been grown in the “Slope of Gold” in Burgundy, France for many hundreds of years. There are many factors that make Burgundy an amazing place to grow Pinot Noir. These include:

  • Gentle sloping hills
  • Longer spring and fall seasons
  • Soil that drains well
  • Cooler temperatures

Fortunately, the Willamette Valley and Yamhill Valley have very similar growing conditions. We have the cooler temperatures, the longer spring and fall seasons and unique soil. The terroir here in the Willamette Valley imparts specific tastes to our Pinot Noir that makes it very uniquely our own.

One aspect of our land allows us to really bring out specific and unique tastes in our wine. That is: the soil. Each block here at Youngberg Hill has very specific soil types, and you can taste this in the wine itself.

For example, the Bailey block is composed primarily of volcanic rock and shale while the Natasha block features mainly marine sedimentary soil. When you taste Pinot Noir created from each of these distinct blocks in the same year, you can tell they are distinct.

To compare the different soils in another way: the 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir pairs well with red meat and game, while the 2012 Natasha Pinot Noir pairs with duck, salmon, and pork. Both are created from Pinot Noir grapes, but they have distinct flavors.

We are very lucky to have such a perfect climate for Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley. It’s much like living in a little slice of Burgundy, France.

Don’t believe us? Come visit and enjoy our lovely rolling hills, temperate climate, and fabulous wines for yourself!blog action photo tasting room sing

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

Five Fun Things to Do at a Winery

July 28th, 2015 by Rachel

WineryHeading out to a winery for a visit is always a great time. There are wines to taste, questions to ask, and sights to see. However, there is more to do at a winery then simply go wine tasting. Here are five activities that you should plan to do when you visit an Oregon winery:

#1. Stay. Many wineries, Youngberg Hill included, have an inn or bed and breakfast attached to the vineyard. These are gorgeous places to stay – and they are often right in the middle of wine country. In our case, we are surrounded by over 150 wineries and tasting rooms.

#2. Take a driving tour. Wine country is absolutely beautiful. Don’t miss a minute of it searching for street signs or worrying about where you should go next. Instead, schedule a driving tour and let someone else take you through wine country.

#3. Schedule a tour of the vineyard and/or barrel room. Many wineries will offer a tour of the vineyard or barrel room if you schedule one ahead of time. Call them up and ask if it is possible to get one. You will have the opportunity to see how the grapes are grown, the winemaking process, and possibly have a chance to taste some wine right out of the barrel.

Winery Tour#4. Pack a picnic. Many wineries and tasting rooms don’t offer food, but will allow you to eat on their porch and enjoy the scenery. Pack a picnic, buy a bottle, sit on the deck and soak in the beauty of the surrounding countryside. You won’t be disappointed.

#5. Attend a winemaker dinner. Winemaker dinners are a fantastic opportunity to sip great wine, eat perfectly paired food, and pick the brain of the people who put their heart and soul into creating the wine. Not only does this give you a chance to understand what you are drinking in an in-depth way, you will have interesting conversations and you may even make a friend or five.

Visiting a winery is not just about the tasting – although that is always delightful. You have an opportunity to get an in-depth look at the wine, those who created it, and the vineyard in which it was grown.

We would love to hear your favorite part of a winery visit. Let us know!


Let’s Elope! Six Do’s and Don’ts for the Perfect Elopement

July 21st, 2015 by Rachel

ElopementElopement has become a trend recently. While this spur of the moment decision may be just right for your relationship, there are still some do’s and don’ts you should watch out for:

DO Share the news with your loved ones. Even if your mother will be disappointed that you and your partner are not having an all-out Disney princess wedding, it is important to include your loved ones in your happy news and your joy.

DON’T Feel the need to justify your decision. There may be questions about why you decided upon an elopement over a wedding. Some people may even have negative emotions surrounding your decision. Be prepared to simply acknowledge that other people may feel left out and move on with your new, married lives.

DO Work out a budget. This is still your wedding day and there are things you may still want. Perhaps it’s a special outfit, the rings, or an amazing location. It is the “little things” that are extremely important when it comes to the day you and your partner are married.

DON’T Fail to follow legal rules. Some states require that you get married a certain number of days after obtaining a marriage license. Others may demand that you have witnesses at the ceremony. Make sure to research and follow the legal rules so that you and your partner are actually married once all is said and done.

DO Have a celebration. You may want to wait until after your honeymoon to share your joy with friends and family, but make sure to have a celebratory “we tied the knot” dinner or low-key party once the deed is done.

DON’T Forget the photographer. Even if you are just running to the courthouse or you are booking an elopement package at your local winery, you will want pictures of your special day. There are some expenses which should never be spared, and one of those is your photographer.

Every couple has a reason for their decision to wed or elope. No matter how you decide to get married, know that you are making the right decision for your relationship. And… Congratulations!!


A Great Big THANK YOU from Youngberg Hill

July 14th, 2015 by Rachel

Youngberg HillYou may wonder why we wanted to take a moment this month to give all of our friends, visitors, guests, and fellow wine enthusiasts a warm thank you. We have a number of reasons to thank you all this year. We want to thank you for trying our wines. We want to thank you for joining our winemaker dinners. We want to thank you for challenging us to do better and to grow as a winery and an inn.

Recently, we won the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. Because this is such a customer-driven award, we were blown away by all of the fantastic reviews we received. It’s not always easy for individuals to take the time to stop and write a review about a location they have stayed at or just visited, but many of you took the time. That action is more important than you may think – and here is why:

We read every review written about us that is on the internet. That is a pretty tough task, but we do it. This is not just because we like to pat ourselves on the back. We read these reviews because we want to challenge ourselves to do better.

Not only do we work hard to take time out and listen to our customers on the internet, we take the time to talk to visitors and guests while they are here. Our goal is to make your experience at our inn, vineyard, and winery the best experience possible.

People come to Youngberg Hill for many reasons. Some of our guests are bursting with joy on their wedding day. Others are looking for a good glass of wine, while still others are simply here to put their feet up and relax for a few days. Our goal is to meet the needs of every one of our guests.

Now, here are just a few of the many fantastic reviews for which we are so grateful. Again, thank you to the reviewers!!

Perfect Getaway

“Great hospitality and some of the best views in the area. Stayed here for 2 nights and it was the perfect spot to explore the wine region. The Inn manager was awesome, and the owners were on site to talk about the vineyard, which was nice. Very unpretentious, helpful hosts. We had a lovely time.” – TripAdvisor Member May 24, 2015


“This is our 4th visit to Youngberg Hill Inn over the past 15 years. We were very happy with our stay. You cannot beat the views, hospitality, or food. The wine tasting is also great. We were fortunate to stay in the beautiful Jura suite. The pictures on the internet are great, but even better in person. All rooms are nice. Mariafeld would be a close second choice of room, but all rooms are beautiful.” – Margaret F. May 12, 2015

Bed and Breakfast Gem in McMinnville

“We have stayed in several bed and breakfasts in the Oregon wine country and this one is top on our list. Our room had a fireplace, but we didn’t use it as the weather was fantastic. We had a balcony to an incredible view. There was a complimentary wine tasting each evening and the breakfasts were great. Nathan was the chef and he was super helpful.” – Elaine B. March 22, 2015

Loved our tasting

“We stopped here one afternoon for a tasting. Becky, the friendly host, took a lot of time with us and we loved the gorgeous outdoor setting and views. Just beautiful. It made us wish we had booked a room here, too!” – TripAdvisor Member September 4, 2014

These are just a few of the 299 reviews written about Youngberg Hill Vineyard and Inn on TripAdvisor! So, thank you again for taking time out to tell us about your stay with us. Thank you for coming to visit us. We cannot wait to see each and every one of you again soon!

Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley: Then and Now

July 7th, 2015 by Rachel

Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley

Pinot Noir in the Willamette ValleyNot only are we at Youngberg Hill celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, the entire Willamette Valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir. In honor of both of these anniversaries, we wanted to talk about the development of Pinot Noir here in our beloved valley.

Brief History of Pinot in the Valley

Back in 1965, David Lett planted Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley. By 1970 there were just five bonded Oregon wineries. In the ’60s and early ’70s, winemakers were simply matching varietals with climate. They ordered the cool climate varieties and crossed their fingers – hoping the match would be perfect. Luckily, it was and Oregon Pinot Noir blossomed throughout the Willamette Valley.

By 1974, Oregon State University was able to help create clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay imported from Burgundy, France. The Burgundy weather and land is very similar to the Willamette Valley climate, and these clones thrived. Oregon wine was put on the map as a force to be reckoned with and in 1975, Portland restaurant L’Omelette created the very first wine list featuring Oregon wines.

Over time, more and more wineries sprouted up throughout Oregon. By 1980 there were 34 bonded Oregon wineries and in 1985 Oregon wine saw a huge triumph. Our local Pinot Noir outshined the French in the Burgundy Challenge at the International Wine Center in New York. By 1990 – when Youngberg Hill came to the Willamette Valley – there were 70 bonded Oregon wineries and by 1997 sustainable winegrowing became a hallmark of Oregon winegrowers. There are about 400 wineries in the Willamette Valley now, and that number is still climbing.

Here at Youngberg Hill Willamette Valley Winery

Over the years Oregon wineries have worked toward carbon neutral, sustainable farming practices. At Youngberg Hill, we work to embody these environmentally friendly strategies in both our farming and winemaking practices. We feel these processes don’t just help the environment, they allow our wine to express the terroir in taste and texture.

Not only have we made sustainable improvements in farming practices, we have added variety to our wine repertoire. At the moment we have three distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and one block of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

One thing that shows up strongly in Willamette Valley wines is the terroir (the taste and flavor imparted to a wine by the environment in which it was produced). We have 20 acres of vineyard and each block has a distinct taste based on varying soil types and microclimates just in those 20 acres. We feel this variety is what makes Oregon wine country produce such fine and distinguished wines.

There has never been a better time to visit Oregon wine country. We are excited to see what harvest this year has to bring us and are proud to present our 2014 wine selection. Be sure to visit us this year for our silver anniversary and look forward to our 2015 wines next year. We are thrilled to share them with you!

Ten Fun Reasons to Come to the Willamette Valley This Summer

June 23rd, 2015 by Rachel

Come to the Willamette Valley this summerSummer is a fantastic season to spend time here in the Willamette Valley. There are a ton of events and activities going on throughout the valley. Here are ten fun reasons to come to the Willamette Valley this summer!

Every Thursday beginning May 21st is the return of Farmer’s Market in McMinnville. We love pairing our wine with the local goodies provided by surrounding farms.

Wine Wednesday beginning June 17th we are featuring our Wine Wednesday music on the deck. Enjoy great tunes, lovely sights and delicious wine.

July is Oregon Craft Beer Month, which means it’s a great time to check out all of our local craft breweries. The Willamette Valley is both Oregon wine country and Oregon beer country, so be sure to taste both!

July 12th is the date on which we are hosting the McMinnville Area Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build Fundraiser. From 2pm-5pm we will be hosting wonderful people supporting a delightful cause. Come to the Willamette Valley this summer

July 22 we will be celebrating 25 years of Youngberg Hill and 50 years of Pinot Noir here in the Willamette Valley with a fantastic winemaker dinner. Internationally acclaimed chef Katherine Frelon will be creating amazing food to pair with our wine.

July 24th-26th is the International Pinot Noir Celebration here in McMinnville, Oregon. This three day event is the mecca for Pinot Noir lovers and northwest cuisine. World-renowned winemakers will join chefs, epicures and wine lovers in our little town of McMinnville. Tickets are available through our website.

August 8th is the annual Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon. Run through the Willamette Valley, past Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton, Chehalem Mountains, and Ribbon Ridge.

August 9th- 24th will be peak watching conditions for the Perseid Meteor Shower. You can watch for this lovely astral event from anywhere here in the Willamette Valley… but we have the best view of the stars here at Youngberg Hill!

August 24th is Carlton’s Walk in the Park Golf Tournament. Signing up to this activity provides a golfer with a dinner, 18 holes of golf on the Chehalem Glenn Golf Course, a free mulligan, tournament prizes and more.

September 12th is the Carlton Crush Harvest Festival. This fun local event is host to tons of wine-themed activities from a grape stomp competition to a barrel rolling race, classic car display and more.

Throughout summer and winter you will be eligible to win wine from Willamette Valley wineries. The entire valley is celebrating 50 years of Pinot Noir. Check out the Willamette Valley website to get all the details on how to win some fantastic local wine!

All of these great activities are at our Willamette Valley Inn and vineyard or are nearby. So, if you need a hub from which to enjoy your summer in Oregon wine country, consider Youngberg Hill!


Why Choose Sustainable Food and Wine?

June 16th, 2015 by Rachel

Sustainable wineWhen we consider sustainability, we usually think about sustainable food farming practices or sustainable materials – but we don’t often think about sustainable wine.

Sustainability means many things to many people. However, in agriculture, sustainability means: an integrated system of plant and animal production practices. The long term goals include enhanced environmental quality, integrated natural biological cycles, and enhanced quality of life for farmers and the society as a whole.

When a farm works to become sustainable, it has often gone beyond organic to a point where the farm labors to grow useful products in a way that benefits the land and surrounding environment. In doing this, the farmers are not only creating a better environment, they are also adding vibrancy and flavor to their food.

Nothing expresses the flavor a sustainable farmland imparts more than wine. In wine, one tastes the terroir directly. The land expresses itself through the texture, body, and flavor of your wine. Our Willamette valley winery strives to accomplish this with every bottle of wine.

However, sustainable wine is not the only way to support environmentally responsible farming. It’s important to turn your attention to sustainable food as well. There are local Willamette and Yamhill valley farms which use sustainable practices as they produce vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy.

Foods created in a sustainable environment are uniquely delicious. When you pair these with local, sustainably produced wines, you experience true culinary delight.

If you’d like to experience sustainable wine for yourself, come visit us for a tasting or one of our many events here at Youngberg Hill. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Twenty Ways you can Customize your Wine Country Wedding

June 9th, 2015 by Rachel

Wine Country WeddingA wine country wedding is always gorgeous. You have wonderful wine, fabulous scenery, and those you love. However, it can be tough to decide what design ideas to incorporate into your special day. Here are twenty ideas to help you make your Oregon wine country wedding uniquely “you.”

1. Celebrate nature. Use your natural surroundings by making them your inspiration for your wedding theme and decorations.

2. Include a nod to wine country in your invitations. Use paper with a handmade feel, include grape vines as a part of the invitation design, or incorporate a picture of the winery.

3. Use barrels and corks as props. Two things every vineyard has a lot of are wine barrels and wine corks. Use this to your advantage by using corks as place holders or including them in your centerpiece. Wine barrels can hold signs, display flowers or be utilized as a cake stand.

4. Make wine part of the ceremony. Both of you are passionate about wine. You can bring that passion into the ceremony by using wine to celebrate your love. Wine Country Wedding Ideas

5. Go vintage. Often an outdoor wine country ceremony feels vintage or rustic. Go with this feel by utilizing found or vintage items. A found window can be written on and used as a sign. Vintage wood fruit crates can be flipped and make a great cake stand. A vintage box may be used to receive gift cards and notes of congratulations from guests.

6. Decorate with wine bottles. Wine bottles can hold anything from candles to flowers to wine. Utilize wine bottles to help you stay on-theme.

7. Save special moments. Save the bottle from the first bottle of wine you and your partner enjoyed. You can decorate it later or use it as a display at home.

8. Incorporate local flowers. Your wedding bouquet can be made even more beautiful by using flowers local to the winery. You aren’t stuck with local blooms, but try to use a few as accents.Wine Country wedding favors

9. Use a bottle as your guest book. Allow guests to sign a special bottle just for your wedding.

10. Set aside special bottles for your wedding party. While you may not be able to afford a bottle of wine for each guest, give a bottle of your favorite vintage from the winery to your wedding party. They will think of you as they savor their special wine.

11. Look at the local area for guest gift inspiration. While wine may not work as the gift for your guests, take a look at local goodies for gift inspiration. There may be anything from wine-inspired jam to personalized wine stoppers available.

12. Go for a formal feel. While outdoor weddings will never be a completely formal event, think about giving your wedding a classic feel. Perhaps the groom could wear a tuxedo or the wedding colors can reflect more classic jewel tones. These colors can be set off beautifully by the natural surroundings.

13. Consider serving local and seasonal foods. Wine country is often filled with locally grown foods like mushrooms, asparagus, or strawberries. Take a look at what is available locally before deciding upon your menu. By serving fresh, local foods you can buck the tradition of bad wedding food.

14. Instead of serving a full meal, go for a wine and cheese reception. If you are having an afternoon or late morning wedding, skip the full meal and take advantage of your winery location. Serve local wine along with local cheeses. Your winery can likely give you pairing ideas. Wine Country wedding photos

15. Make sure your photographer takes advantage of the location. Wine country photos are always gorgeous. Make sure your photographer gets all of the shots you would like for your special day.

16. Use wine tones in your color palette. Your wedding party doesn’t have to wear wine colored dresses, but you can use wine tones on napkins, have flowers with wine tones, and even use wine-colored ink in your wedding invitations.

17. Accent your wedding with wine boxes filled with flowers. The boxes used to carry bottles of wine can be repurposed to hold anything, including lovely bouquets.Wine Country wedding photos

18. Sign an engraved large format wine bottle. Not only can you drink it on your Anniversary, but you can make it into a lamp or vase to remind you of your special day.

19. Stay in wine country for your wedding night. After your wedding, stay in a local Inn or Bed and Breakfast so you can enjoy a stress-free day in wine country on the day after your wedding day. We happen to know that our Inn is fantastic for any Oregon wine country wedding night!

20. Don’t lose your personality and style. No matter where your wedding is, make sure you include things that reflect your sense of style.

Your wedding is a display of your love and relationship. Try to make it as unique as your love for one another!