The History of Our McMinnville Winery and Inn

Nicolette and Wayne took a great leap of faith in 2003 and moved to the Willamette Valley to make wine. Having found Youngberg Hill, they knew they had found their future forging a dream come true.

They rolled up their sleeves and got to work, endlessly putting their heart and soul into making the best wines by focusing on creating the best vineyard. They were able to forge ahead with solid and stable winemaking practices through loving improvements to the vineyard and expansion to over 23 acres under vine.

Originally, only offering Pinot Noir, Nicolette inspired Wayne to expand the vision, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Grenache, Syrah, Port, and Sparkling Wine.

As they continued to work towards building their business, Wayne focused on farming practices and winemaking while Nicolette concentrated on company direction, brand building, and product expansion.

With the continued development of new varietals, expansion, and improvement of the vineyard, it was the right time to create their new reserve brand, Bailey Family Wines, the crown jewel of the winery.

Nicolette is the force and inspiration that continues to expand ‘Wayne’s World’ (party on…).

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Youngberg Hill Wine Philosophy

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Founded in 1989, Youngberg Hill aspires to create the very best wine from the grapes grown in each vintage. We focus our attention on growing the highest quality of grapes possible and then managing the fruit through the fermentation process. By limiting yields and restraining barrel treatment, we are able to produce fine wines that give a pure expression of our beautiful vineyard and its terroir.

Wine is a wonderful gift from nature, and its qualities vary according to the year and all of the different elements in a vine’s growing environment. The French term which describes this concept is terroir – meaning not just the soil, but also the rainfall, drainage, exposure and climate specific to a given site.  The journey of a vine through its growth cycle, within its specific terroir, is an amazing thing:  the vine sends its roots deep into the living earth. It struggles in search of water and nutrients, in communion with the unseen but vital world of soil microbes. Above the ground, the vineyard teems with life. A large community of grasses, herbs, and wildflowers supports a complex array of insect life, and the vine, with its verdant canopy, sends out its flowers and produces a crop of grapes. During the warm days of summer, the grapes soak up the sun and ripen. When the seasons begin to change and autumn is arriving, it is time to begin the harvest, not too soon and not too late.

The attentive grower watches over the vines as nature works its miracles, feeling the energy of life in the air and tending the vineyard sensitively and with a light hand.  It is the winegrower’s job to bring out the potential of the grapes and to let the story of this place- the terroir of the vineyard and the year of the vintage- be told with clarity in the wine.  Here at Youngberg Hill, we aim to accomplish just that with every bottle of wine we make.

Wine Making

Wayne Bailey’s winemaking journey started 28 years ago when he worked as a consultant in the food and beverage industry with a focus on wine for over 15 years. He then received an opportunity to consult for wine brands in France and he knew it was something he had to do. Wayne discovered that winemakers in Burgundy identified themselves as “farmers first,” which he related to immensely since he grew up on a farm in Iowa. His three-month journey turned into two years, creating meaningful relationships with winemakers, appreciating their organic farming methods as he worked side by side those vignerons learning “hands on” and to find his love of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Ever since, Wayne has taken the most holistic approach to the wines he crafts and aims to portray that in every Bailey Family wine made.

Founded in 2019, Bailey Family Wines aspires to create the most elegant, biodynamically farmed wines from the Willamette Valley from the fruit grown in each vintage.

We focus our attention on growing the highest quality grapes possible and parent the fruit through the fermentation process. By limiting yields and restraining barrel treatment, we are able to produce fine wines that give a pure expression of our sustainable vineyards and their terroir.

Wine is a wonderful gift from nature (an agricultural product), and its qualities vary according to the year and all of the different elements in a vine’s growing environment. The French term that describes this concept is ‘terroir.’ Terroir is the combination of the soil, rainfall, drainage, exposure, and climate specific to a given site and the vigneron’s intervention.

It is Wayne’s job to draw out the potential of the grapes and to let the story of this place–the terroir of the vineyard and the year of the vintage–be told with clarity in the wine.

As his experience has grown from making wines in the Willamette Valley, the wines have grown in stride. With everything from bright fruit characteristics, new clones, variations in fermentation, and various barrel coopers Wayne has more options to enhance the wines to new heights.

The result is a wine portfolio that reflects both the “terroir” and characteristics that typify each varietal to their optimum expression. These wines show both great fruit characteristics coming from the vineyard and great expressions of the wine, via selecting the best barrels from the top fermentation batches from the most pristine sections of the vineyards for each varietal.

These wines display the perfect balance of fruit and earth tones, acid and tannins; front, mid, and finish palate, demonstrating a totally integrated wine from beginning to end, accessible at a youthful age and old world ageability.

Our Vineyard

We practice holistic farming and natural winemaking to allow our wines to express where the fruit is grown on our hill, in different soils and weather of that growing season. As you sip our wines, you will sense the farm we care for, the passion we have, and memories we share with you.

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 today.

The vineyards are 20 total acres with three distinct blocks of Pinot Noir and one block of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. The Natasha block at 6.5 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 5 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 60% Pommard and 40% Wadenswil clones, planted in 1989. The Bailey block, Dijon 777 on 10114 root stock, is our third block of Pinot Noir planted in 2008, has an area of 3.5 acres located between the Jordan and Natasha blocks. It grows in primarily volcanic rock with a wide band of shale running through the middle about 18 inches down. The Aspen block, planted in 2006, consists of 2.5 acres of Pinot Gris, 148 and 152 clones on 3309 root stock at approximately 525 to 600 feet; and 2.5 acres of Chardonnay, 75, 76, 95, and 548 clones on the same root stock.  These clones are more suited to ripen in our cooler climate.

We started farming organically in 2003, have been practicing biodynamic farming since 2011, and dry farm, meaning no irrigation. We are totally in balance and sync with nature. Youngberg Hill has 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.

The soils are complemented by distinct weather here in the coast foothills.  Located only 25 miles from the ocean, the coast range provides a shadow for the weather coming from the coast.  We receive slightly less precipitation and more sunny days. We enjoy long days in the summer, cool day temperatures of 83 degrees, coastal breezes every afternoon, and cooler night temperatures of 55.  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.

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Wine Tastings Daily 10 am to 4 pm

Our tasting room is just 10 minutes from downtown McMinnville.  Come on up to Youngberg Hill for our amazing views of the Willamette Valley and for a tasting of our award-winning wines.

Do you want a more exclusive experience?  Book a tasting with our experts for a very unique experience.