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The Heart of Burgundy or the Heart of Willamette Valley

beaune blog mapBeaune is the capital and heart of the Burgundy: a historic and storied Pinot Noir region. McMinnville is the capital and heart of Willamette Valley, which is home to many wineries that specialize in Pinot Noir.  In addition to geographic similarities, McMinnville is also home to the IPNC, or the International Pinot Noir Celebration.  McMinnville is in many ways the Beaune of the New World.

Now in its 30th year, the International Pinot Noir Celebration is held the last full weekend of July in McMinnville, Oregon. The event offers Pinot noir consumers and industry members the chance to enjoy an unparalleled selection of Pinot noir from around the world via a full schedule of seminars, walk around tastings, winery tours, and unforgettable meals prepared by top Northwest chefs. With the exception of vineyard and winery tmcminnville blogours, the IPNC is held on the beautiful and historic campus of Linfield College. The IPNC offers three experiences for guests to choose from: The Full Weekend (Friday-Sunday), Salmon Bake (Saturday evening), and the Passport to Pinot (Sunday afternoon).

IPNC is open to the public as a celebration to Pinot Noir and is truly international. Wineries and winemakers from all the major Pinot Noir growing regions in the world are represented including Willamette Valley, Burgundy, New Zealand, California, as well as other regions like Austria, Germany, Canada, and Chili. It is a great way to experience Pinot Noirs from all over the world along with learning about terroir and what differentiates Pinot Noir from around the world. The weekend is laced with one of a kind eating and wine tasting experiences. For more information, go to IPNC.com.ipnc blog

Prior to IPNC, it is customary for wineries in the valley to have welcoming dinners on Thursday night. Similar to years past, Youngberg Hill will be hosting one of these culinary experiences. This year, renowned chef Michael Smith, of Michael Smith Restaurant in Kansas City, will be the guest chef. The dinner will be held outside in our new event building overlooking the most fabulous views in the valley.  It’s in this very relaxed environment, that you will enjoy an intimate evening of wine and food. Go to www.youngberghill.com for more information and to reserve your seats now.

The IPNC is separate from another Pinot event: OPC, or Oregon Pinot Camp. OPC, on the other hand, is for educating individuals from all over the world, who are involved in the wine trade.  They spend time learning about what makes growing Pinot Noir grapes and making Pinot Noir in the valley so special. With this experience, these lucky individuals become ambassadors for Oregon Pinot Noir around the world.

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Becoming a Flow Hive Beekeeper at Youngberg Hill

IMG_0442Since vineyard grapevines are self-pollinating, you may question why we’ve recently begun beekeeping up here at Youngberg Hill.  Quite simply, bees play an essential role within our bio-dynamic farming practices.  Becoming a beekeeper initially seemed out of my comfort zone but as the time goes by I find myself learning and enjoying bees more and more.  Bees are one of the most studied creatures on the planet with a highly complex society, who are essential to the production of a majority of our fruits, nuts, and vegetables.  Without these pollinators our diet would consist primarily of grains and wine.

I first became intrigued in beekeeping years ago but didn’t have the time to devote to it.  More recently, I came across a Facebook post about the Flow Hive.  They made beekeeping look easier than the traditional method so I asked my girls if any of them would be interested in doing it with me.

I was met with pure enthusiasm from my youngest, Aspen who is nine. With an adventurous twinkle in both our eyes we began our bee journey as partners.  I quickly learned that just because the Flow Hive offered some time savings when harvesting the honey we still needed to learn a lot about how to take care of the bees.

Our first step to becoming beekeepers was to attend a beekeeping class put on by the Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association. They presented a basic level of information on how bees work together, communicate, propagate, and survive. I was both intrigued and a bit overwhelmed at the information we were learning.  One thing that did become evident is the need for bees in order to maintain a healthy environment.  In a way, I felt like beekeeping would be one way that Aspen and I could work together to help save the world.  To be honest, for me the altruistic part of this venture is second to the enjoyment I experience spending time with Aspen. As for Aspen, she plans on speaking and giving presentations about bees to guests at Youngberg Hill and at school.

What about Bee Stings?

In our 13 years no one has ever been stung by a honeybee at Youngberg Hill.  We have received a number of stings from the wasps that live in all area vineyards and farms.  Wasps, like honeybees are beneficial in pollinating plants, but they aren’t our friends. Wasps are natural enemies of honeybees, so to be successful beekeepers we now need to take wasp management to a higher level.  When honeybees sting you they die so they really do want to avoid it at all cost.  They really don’t want to sting you!

Wasps sting and continue to live. For the most part if you leave bees alone they won’t bother you. You can work around them in the garden without fear. All they want to do is collect nectar and pollen.

Honey Goals

Our goal is to have successful hives to produce both honey and honeycomb that we can use at the Inn and sell in our gift shop.  Aspen is the CEO of the project and along with learning about beekeeping, she will be learning how to manage a business including keeping records, buying supplies, marketing, managing the hives and of course sampling the product to make sure it is the highest quality.

We are excited about this new experience, and will be sure to update our progress and knowledge with you as we move forward with our bee journey.

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Aspen & Nicolette Bee Day!

5 ways to Celebrate Oregon Wine Month in the Willamette Valley

Oregon wine month 2016May is Oregon Wine Month in the Willamette Valley, and we couldn’t think of a better time to enjoy all that this area has to offer. The following are five ways to get out and explore the lesser visited parts of the Willamette Valley.

  1. 3rd Street in downtown McMinnville: This is a hub for a variety of activities. Wander the sidewalks exploring the many locally owned boutique shops lining the street, or enjoy one of the several top notch restaurants such as Bistro Maison, Nick’s, Thistle, and the Barberry. While also on 3rd Street, stop by the Elizabeth Chambers Cellar for a wine tasting.
  2. McMinnville AVA: This viticulture area is the place to enjoy exquisite wines that are distinguished for their depth, complexity, bold structure, and black fruit. Enjoy less crowded tasting rooms, unique views, beautiful structures, and friendly hospitality at these family owned wineries. You’ll be treated to all of these things at Youngberg Hill, Coeur de Terre, Yamhill Valley, Maysara, Coleman, and J Wrigley.
  3. Eola Hills AVA: Travel over to McMinnville’s neighboring wine growing area to taste the difference that a few miles can make. Spend a day visiting Brooks, Bethel Heights, and Cristom. Make a lunch stop in Amity at the Blue Goat for fresh, local fare before continuing your wine tasting adventures at Coelho Winery.
  4. Yamhill-Carlton: This town is where you’ll find many small wine producers making great quality wines that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Carlton is also home to several tasting rooms for wineries from other parts of Oregon pouring bigger red varietals.
  5. The Oregon Coast: Ok, this may not be technically part of the Willamette Valley, but it is only a short trip from the heart of the valley. Many people don’t know that McMinnville is only 45 to 50 minutes from the Pacific Ocean.  Not only are there great beaches and views in Pacific City, there are many great restaurants along Hwy 101 from Pacific City to Newport. Take a break from wine tasting and head to the beach, enjoy some fresh seafood, and Oregon wines.

Meg Maker (Maker’s Table) 2/15 Meg writes about sustainably made Oregon Pinot Noir and includes the 2011 Jordan & Natasha in the article.

The article was picked on 2/17 by Wine Business Monthly – both daily email and home page. You can read the article by clicking here.

Emily Grosvenor (Via Magazine) Spring 2016 Emily visited Youngberg Hill last year, and recommends visiting the tasting room and Inn in her article for AAA’s magazine

Emily Grosvenor (Via Magazine) Spring 2016 Emily visited Youngberg Hill last year, and recommends visiting the tasting room and Inn in her article for AAA’s magazine: http://www.viamagazine.com/attractions/mcminnville-ore-gourmet-weekender#ifyouregoing

Top 6 Wedding Tips from the Mother of the Bride – M.O.B.

MOBAfter many years of helping brides and their families at weddings, I found myself on the other side of the experience as a M.O.B. Mother Of the Bride.  I learned that being on the planning side of a wedding can be a daunting task, but with my unique perspective on weddings, I’d like to offer the following tips for planning a wedding.

Be Flexible with Wedding Dates

Being flexible with the date opens up many different options for location and costs savings.  Friday and Sunday weddings are often less expensive than a Saturday wedding.  If you can make a weekday wedding work, that will be a great value for not just the venue but your other vendors as well.  In addition to saving money, an alternative day of the week will afford you greater options for venue choices.  The popular days of the week book first, so if you’re willing to be flexible, you can seemingly have your pick of places.

Find the Venue First

The bride, groom, and the venue, are the three most important parts of a wedding.  So after becoming engaged, the next step is to find the venue.  Don’t make the mistake of starting to plan anything with vendors until the venue is set.  Often times each place has its own special requirements that will allow you to narrow down the plethora of options that are available to you.

Send “Save the Date” Cards as Soon as Possible

After you have venue and date, I suggest sending “Save the Date” cards out as soon as possible.  This allows your guests ample time to begin making save the date at Youngberg Hill weddingtheir travel arrangements.   A lot could go into attending a wedding like purchasing flights, taking time off of work, arranging hotels, etc.  For the many people calendar email notifications work well, but everyone still enjoys getting a “Save the Date” card in the mail.

Use Pinterest to Gather Wedding Ideas and Set the Theme

You’ve got the big things planned, now let’s start planning this wedding! Pinterest will quickly become your best friend.  Make a Pinterest board just for the wedding.  If you’ve already began a “wedding board”, now is the time to create a realistic one by pinning what you truly want to do for your wedding, and not just pins of things you like.  Doing this will help you determine the theme of your wedding.  If you find that most things you are pinning on your board are black tie and crystal, you are leaning towards a formal style wedding.  If you are pinning burlap and mason jars, you’re probably leaning more towards a country themed wedding. After you know your theme, start going crazy and have fun!!!

Organize Your Helpers and Supplies

Your caterer and your event planner should become your right hand men, or women.  When I was helping to plan my daughter’s wedding, we had a caterer that was also the wedding planner.  She had access to our Pinterest board so she could see how we wanted things.  When it comes to things that you need for your wedding don’t be afraid to ask for favors. I found that most of my friends considered it an honor to help, not a burden.  When recruiting the help of multiple people, write out a list of everything you need, a time line of when you’ll need them, and then draw out how you want everything to come together on the day of the wedding with all with names of the people responsible for each. Remember, you can never have too many lists J

Enjoy the Day

“You can try and plan every last detail, but when your wedding day comes,” I told my daughter, “it’s most important to have fun.” Remember that ultimately your wedding day is a celebration.  Don’t stress if something doesn’t work out according to plan, because they seldom do.  If the flowers show up in the wrong shade, oh well!!! If the weather is not what you thought it was going to be, oh well!!!! All those little details might make a wedding, but they don’t make a marriage.  Just enjoy your day for what it is: two people giving their lives to each other.

Youngberg Hill Wedding

4 Reasons to choose a Bed & Breakfast in the Willamette Valley

When trTripadvisor Certificate of Excellenceaveling through the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a bed & breakfast might not be your first lodging choice, but here are four reasons why it should be number one.

Let’s start at the beginning: breakfast. Nothing starts a day better than a delicious homemade breakfast, and that is exactly what you’ll get at a bed & breakfast.  Wake up to the wafting smells of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast being prepared by hand and with love. The breakfast you’ll enjoy is unique and different from that which you might normally prepare at home or have at a hotel.  Even if you don’t normally start your day with a full breakfast, while in the Willamette Valley, you may want to enjoy the morning meal.  After all, it is important to wake up your taste buds, and fill your stomach, prior to a day of wine tasting.  It will feel like home, but taste like a restaurant.

The second reason to stay at a bed and breakfast is for the serene experience. Unplug, and detox from all the hustle and bustle of your everyday life in a beautiful Willamette Valley bed and breakfast.  Located in rural locations, these establishments provide spectacular views, quiet and serene environments, limited light pollution, easy access to nature, and the relaxation of not having to do anything but drink wine.

Reason number three on why you should stay at a bed & breakfast is the people.  Bed and breakfasts are congregation areas for people that are passionate about good wine, good food, and enjoying both while relaxing and taking in the beautiful surroundings.  You’ll have unique opportunities to meet new people from all over the world. It is always amazing how many connections are made, new friendships established, and storiea Inn guest review of Youngberg Hills shared by people from different places and lives. At Youngberg Hill, you have multiple opportunities to meet with your fellow travelers not only at breakfast, but also during the exclusive wine tasting reception hour; just another opportunity to taste great pinot noirs of the Willamette Valley!

The final reason you need to stay at a bed & breakfast is the service.  Guests have exclusive access to some of the most knowledgeable people around: the owners and innkeepers.  These people are your built-in concierge service, there to help you navigate the innumerable wineries, dozens of restaurants for lunch and dinner, and other activities during your time in the valley. Knowing the local scene, logistics of getting around in the valley, realistic travel times, and where to have the best experiences are all worth their weight in gold when it comes to making your Willamette Valley experience remarkable.  They are there to make your trip as effortless and enjoyable as possible.

So the next time you think about visiting the Willamette Valley in Oregon, treat yourself and stay at a bed and breakfast.

Taylor Eason of TaylorEason.com reveals her love of the 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir vintage, and includes YHV in her article on Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs

Taylor Eason (TaylorEason.com) 1/25 Taylor reveals her love of the 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir vintage, and includes YHV in her article: http://www.tayloreason.com/corkscrew/wine_review/impressive-oregon-pinot-noir/

Enjoying February Wine in the Willamette Valley

Couple drinking wine in Oregon at Youngberg Hill.Have you thought about enjoying Willamette Valley wine country during February? True it rains much of the time, but what better excuse than the weather to snuggle up next to a warm fire with your loved one and enjoy a delicious Pinot Noir? There is a lot happening in the Willamette Valley during the month of February with many Valentine’s events at different wineries with chocolate and wine pairings, new releases, and winemaker’s dinners.   Don’t forget about the local restaurants, which will be having spectacular dinner specials.

Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley

It is fun to taste throughout the Willamette Valley this time of year because of the unique and serendipitous experiences one might have. To start, it is typically not as busy in the tasting rooms so you can have a more intimate tasting experience, learn more about the wines and why they taste the way they do. This gives you the opportunity to meet the winemaker or owner hanging around who are willing to share their experiences with you and maybe even break out a library wine or take you to the barrel room. Many of us wineries are family operations and you may have the opportunity to meet other members of the family developing a more intimate relationship with the family, the winery, and the entire operation.

There are plenty of wineries open for tasting throughout the winter months which means that there is no lack of both old favorites and new experiences to enjoy. Visit Youngberg Hill’s tasting room and relax next to the fire while tasting the newly released 2013 vintages, or join us on February 12th for our annual Valentine’s dinner with outstanding chocolate charged menu items paired with some of our favorite Youngberg Hill wines.

And there nothing that puts a little heat back in the relationship than a couple of nights at our cozy intimate inn overlooking the vineyard. Snuggle up in front of your private fireplace and enjoy a glass, or a bottle, of your favorite Youngberg Hill Pinot Noir with the person you adore.

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Fredric Koeppel reviews the 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir for his eponymous blog – Bigger than your Head – and includes it in his 50 Great Wines of 2015

Fredric Koeppel (Bigger than your Head) 1/9/16 Fredric includes the 2012 Jordan Pinot Noir with wines from around the world in his “50 Great Wines of 2015 article: http://biggerthanyourhead.net/category/willamette-valley/

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