Our goal is for life on the farm including the soil, the vines, and all other plant and insect life to be healthier 50 years from now than it is today.
The vineyards are 20 total acres with three distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and one block of Pinot Gris. The Natasha block at 7 acres is the largest of the three Pinot Noir blocks, and is located at an elevation of approximately 600 feet on marine sedimentary soil. The Jordan block of Pinot Noir is 4 acres in area and grows on a steep slope of volcanic rock at an altitude of approximately 750 to 800 feet. Both blocks are own-rooted of 60% Pommard and 40% Wadenswil clones, planted in 1989. The Bailey block, 777 on 10114 root stock, is our third block of Pinot Noir which was planted in 2008, has an area of 3 acres and is located between the Jordan and Natasha blocks. It grows in a blend of volcanic and marine sedimentary soils and has a wide band of shale running through its middle. The Aspen Pinot Gris block, planted in 2006, has 148 and 152 clones on 3309 root stock and is located at an altitude of approximately 525 to 600 feet. In 2014, we grafted over half of the block to Chardonnay clones 75, 76, 95, and 548. These clones are more suited to ripen in our cooler climate.
We started farming organically in 2003, have been biodynaically farming since2011, and dry farm, meaning no irrigation. So we are totally in balance and sync with nature.
The soils are complemented by distinct weather here in the coastal foot hills. Located only 25 miles from the ocean, the hills provide a shadow for the weather coming from the coast. We receive great precipitation, long sunny days in the summer, cooler steady day temperatures, coastal breezes every afternoon, and cooler night temperatures. All of these elements are excellent for growing Pinot Noir and enable us to produce extremely high quality fruit with rich, intense black fruit flavors, earthy minerality, and high acidity, giving structure and complexity to our wines.
We practice organic and sustainable farming here at Youngberg Hill. Some of our current sustainable practices include reducing soil erosion through the planting of beneficial cover crops, employing safe, controlled spraying using soft pesticides such as biodegradable oils, soaps, and plant extracts, and conducting and participating in ongoing research on environmentally-friendly methods of pest control. Youngberg Hill has been aggressively pursuing the goal of 100% sustainability in our vineyards. In 2005, we earned third party sustainable certifications for LIVE (liveinc.org) and Salmon Safe (salmonsafe.org), and in 2010 we were certified “Sustainable” by the Oregon Wine Board. We are currently utilizing biodynamic farming practices with the intent of being a certified “Biodynamic” vineyard in a couple of years.