Month: December 2011

Seriously? Organic!

On several occasions we have discussed the differences between organically, sustainably, and biodynamically grown wine grapes; organic and natural wines; and other aspects of growing grapes and making wine. It’s time to set the record straight (at least from our point of view).

First, growing grapes and making wine naturally is not a marketing ploy. It is the right thing to do. It is better for the earth. It is better for the plants. It is better for the quality of the grapes. It is better for the wine. It is better for the consumer drinking those wines. So why wouldn’t you produce wine this way.

Second, we are trying to produce distinguishing wines from the hundreds that are available. We believe the best way to do that is to produce wines that most reflect the place where the grapes were grown. That is the one element no other producer can duplicate. Our wines are one of a kind.

Third, at Youngberg Hill we celebrate the differences of where the fruit is grown on our hill and from vintage to vintage. While there is consistency from year to year in how we grow the grapes and make our wines, and therefore, the underlying characteristics of our wines; every year’s wines will demonstrate the unique characteristics of that growing season. And each section of our vineyard brings forth distinct characteristics year over year that makes the wines produce from those different sections of the vineyard distinguish themselves.

As a grape grower and winemaker, it is the most challenging and most rewarding aspect of our work. Much like raising children, every child is different and being  raised in similar and different circumstances, therefore, every child is unique and must be parented uniquely. And of course, each child will grow to be a completely unique adult. That is both the challenge and the reward. At Youngberg Hill our passion is to have the opportunity to start with natures beautiful ingredients, to nurture them, to keep them safe, and to provide for them all they need.

 What do you like most about your favorite wine?


This is the time of year to reflect on all that we have been blessed with, to remember those we have lost, to share what we have, and to be thankful for all that is in our lives.

We are blessed by an interesting growing season in the vineyard that challenged our ability to grow the best fruit possible. In the winery that stretched our ability to make wine naturally and make the best wine we could with what nature gave us.

We were blessed with so many weddings where brides and grooms chose to begin their lives together at Youngberg Hill. We met families and friends who are now part of the Youngberg Hill family.

We have continued to be blessed with great reviews of our wines and to continue to gain more fans that love what we do and choose to share in our love for wine by helping during harvest, joining our wine club, sharing our wines with others, and continuing to order our wines.

We are so fortunate to be able to share this spectacular hill with all of our guests from around the world who stay as our guest at The Inn. Our guests are wonderful people who really appreciate the special place Youngberg Hill is and in sharing it continue to be reminded how blessed we are to be living on this special place.

When times are tough as they are for many of us, it is important to remember how great life is and what we do have, whether it be our health, family, loved ones, or good friendships.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Youngberg Hill.  From our family to yours have a joyous new year.


Winter Wine Tasting in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Now that winter is here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the perception may be that the wine tasting and touring season is over. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many wineries and tasting rooms, like Youngberg Hill, are now open year round. Though the weather does not continue to be as perfect as during the summer, the weather in the Willamette Valley is much more pleasant than in much of the country during the winter. So come one, come all to Oregon and the Willamette Valley to tour and taste any time of year.

Where to go? The tendency has been for travelers to fly into Portland and make day trips down to the Valley for a few tastings closer to Portland. Many are now beginning to realize that going farther south beyond Newberg and Dundee opens up a whole new world of wineries, wines, restaurants and places to stay. While only an hour from Portland, McMinnville has all these and more; and at the same time one will feel like they are in Northern Italy without the language barrier.

The McMinnville AVA (American Viticulture Area) is the furthest west and generally higher in altitude than the other AVAs providing fruit characteristics and, therefore, wines that are distinctive in their depth and intensity of black fruit and earthy characteristics.  However, the McMinnville area is made up of the 7 wineries setting on vineyards in the Coastal Foothills and 10 wineries and tasting rooms in urban McMinnville.  One of these wineries is Eyrie Vineyards started back in 1965 by the legendary David Lett, the father of Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. Because many of these wineries source fruit from AVAs other than the McMinnville AVA, there is great variety in the wines and their characteristics.

So make McMinnville your next wine tasting and touring destination to enjoy great wines, beautiful and diverse scenery, fabulous restaurants, and welcoming Inns like Youngberg Hill to relax and enjoy the quiet times of this time of year.

Winters in Oregon’s Wine Country

Winters in Oregon’s Wine Country are beautiful.  The crowds are gone and the weather is not always as sunny and warm, but the wine experience is amazing!  I often wondered why so few people come to tour during December through March because the experience our guests have is priceless.  There are plenty of wineries/tasting rooms open in each of the AVA’s to make more than a day’s worth of touring in each one.  The best part about touring wine country during this time of year is that much of the time you’re having your wine tasting with the winemaker, assistant winemaker, or owner instead of a tasting room employee.  This is always a great experience.

You have heard of the ‘Made In America’ support streaming across the country.  Well there isn’t anything more American in Oregon then the wine.  Think of the support you give to many of the small businesses that make up 90% of the Oregon Wine Industry.  Buying one bottle or a case of Oregon wine instead of those from other countries you are helping the country come back and thrive.  So this year, impress those at your table with a bottle of “Made In America Wine”.

While two local restaurants in the area close in January (Bistro Maison and the Joel Palmer House) there are others to experience;  LaRambla, Nick’s, and Thistle are ready to serve you.  There are still many events scheduled through the Winter.  Some great local calendar of events lists are: Travel Yamhill Valley , McMinnville Chamber of Commerce , McMinnville Downtown Association, Travel Oregon.  The Evergreen Museum   is offering Christmas movies at the IMAX as well as other holiday and winter specials through the season.

As for Youngberg Hill, we are offering a Winter Inn special of Double Down and Outta’ Town:  Book any Inn room and get a second equal room for the same night complimentary.  Visit our newsletter for more details at

We look forward to having a wonderful winter with you!  From everyone at Youngberg Hill thank you for your support and we look forward to an amazing winter with you.

Do you have a winter winery experience?  Write your story below.

The Fruit is in the "Barn"!

2011 has been an epic year for Oregon’s Wine Country. As always, weather impacts everything we do. With a cool late spring followed by a normal summer after July 4th, we entered the ripening of the grapes over 3 weeks behind the average growing season. That meant the time required to ripen the fruit would require letting the fruit hang into November. We have never harvested in November and the weather can begin to get a little dicey towards the end of October.

Fortunately, the weather held out for us and we harvested on Nov. 2nd. The fruit was clean, well developed, low in sugar, and higher in acidity. The most important development was that the flavors and complexity set into the fruit ahead of the maturity of the fruit and the increase in sugar. As a result the grapes were ripe in measures of brown seeds, tannins, flavor profiles, and  pulp liquidation. Just low in sugar and high in acid.

The  holistic/biodynamic/natural way of making wine Youngberg Hill follows doesn’t add things to the wine making process.  The opposite approach is a more manipulative process to make a wine fit standards rather than what the vintage may dictate. In a manipulative process you can add sugar, deacidify, use different yeasts, or any other number of things to augment what may may be perceived as a fallen short in the vineyard.

As somewhat of a purest, Youngberg Hill tends to resist the adjustments to stay true to the vintage and what that year had to offer. At the same time, we do want the wine to be as good as it can be. So we work very hard in the winery to protect the integrity of the vintage and to maintain the characteristics of the vineyard and of that vintage.

2011 will be a classic vintage that will herald back to what our founders of Oregon Pinot Noir thought great. Elegant, low alcohol wines that will drink fabulously with food and age extremely well.  I look forward to raising my glass of 2011 Pinot.

If you helped out at any of the vineyards/wineries over the 2011 year we would love to hear about your experiences.

Scroll to top