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biodynamic farming

The 2018 Vintage Recap

2018 vintage 2018 vintage has been a very pleasant growing season. Spring (bud break) was later than it had been the last 3 or 4 years, just slightly earlier than average. It was cooler and wetter which slowed down growth such that bloom was about average timing. As a result, the vines were healthy and bloom moved on to fruit set with no weather issues and all the clusters/fruit developed were very even.

Summer started on time but warmer than normal. Through August, while we did not have any extremely hot days of 95+ degrees as in the last few years, we did have consistently warmer temperatures ranging 8 to 10 degrees above normal over long periods of time. This accelerated the development of the fruit and moved us into veraison a little earlier than we would have expected based on the timing of bloom. What does earlier veraison mean? It means that the fruit begins to ripen in warmer temperatures, that has the potential to throw things a little bit out of balance as the fruit ripens faster.

Fortunately, as if the weather was trying to help the vines out, temperatures in September began to gradually go down below average. These lower temperatures slow ripening of the fruit which is a good thing. Slower fruit ripening in cooler temperatures keeps fruit development in balance. We also have had a couple of stints of moisture creep into the valley providing reprieve for the vines and slowing development even further.

All this, has me very optimistic for the wines out of the 2018 vintage. While it is still a little early to make predictions, I see great potential in the fruit to develop complexity and balance in the wines.

Sip Northwest Magazine has 4 questions for Wayne Bailey

Mark Stock (Sip Northwest Magazine) 2/26 Mark visits and stays on The Hill and discusses growing Chardonnay in Willamette Valley with Wayne: https://t.co/OHG5PgaAIe

Jade Helm interviews Wayne for WIN Top Accolade

Jade Helm (Wine Industry Network) 1/8/18 Wayne is selected as one of “Wine’s Most Inspiring People 2018”. Jade Helm provides the editorial coverage and editorial for the primary article https://t.co/ODqrGvWwA6 and a follow-up piece on sustainability & legacy titled “Sustainability: It’s Just the Right Thing to Do”: http://ow.ly/iaqb30i07De

The Vineyard Trail talks BioD farming with Wayne Bailey

Miki & Elizabeth (The Vineyard Trail) 12/14 The winers talk biodynamic farming in Willamette Valley http://ow.ly/gchY30hgg4d in their blog and newsletter communication

Celebrating Earth Day with Sustainable Wine

Sustainable Wine Practices for Earth DayWe take Earth Day seriously here at our sustainable Willamette Valley vineyard and winery. In fact, we celebrate Earth Day each and every day. Our goal at Youngberg Hill is not just to produce fine, delicious wine. We work hard to improve the health of our farm, including the soil, local plant life, insect life, and animal life.

After eleven years of organic farming, we can confidently say that our grapes are a true reflection of the the land. Additionally, we have practiced biodynamic farming since 2011, which means we work with nature to water and fertilize our crops.

Our current farming practices include planting beneficial cover crops which helps reduce the soil erosion that so often plagues farmland. These crops also allow nature to do quite a bit of work for us. Additional plants lower the acreage of bare soil, so fewer weeds can grow. Some plants also help keep the soil fertilized and attract beneficial insects like bees while discouraging destructive pests.

Pesticides are a huge problem in traditional farming, killing off destructive and beneficial insects alike. To end this problem, we utilize controlled spraying of soft pesticides like biodegradable oils,Biodynamic Farming soaps, and plant extracts. Additionally, we are participating in research that works to improve our methods so they are even more safe and environmentally friendly.

In the end, we want to become 100% biodynamic in our vineyard. In 2005, we earned sustainable certification for LIVE and Salmon Safe. In 2010 we were certified as “Sustainable” by the Oregon Wine Board. In the near future, we hope to improve the world around us and become certified as “Biodynamic”.

Sustainable farming practices are a big step toward making the earth a better, more beautiful place. So, this Earth Day, look into the practices of your favorite manufacturers. Are they sustainable, organic or biodynamic? What are they doing to help the environment recover from the pollutants humans have spilled into it over the years? Raise a glass to those who have responsible practices and write to any who aren’t. Who knows, you may just change the face of the earth.

Cheers and Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day

Running a Holistic Vineyard

Holistic VineyardWe take care to create a healthy and holistic vineyard. This means a number of things.

1st. We farm organically and biodynamically. We work with the existing soil, the weather in our Yamhill and Willamette valleys and the local wildlife to create a natural, nutrient-rich environment for our vines. The goal here is that all life on our farm, including plants, soil, and insect life, will be healthier 50 years from now than it is today.

2nd. We work to reduce soil erosion by planting cover crops and local plants to keep the land healthy. We also spray soft pesticides like biodegradable oils and soaps. Additionally, we are participating in ongoing research to find more environmentally-friendly methods of pest control.Holistic vineyard

3rd. Our environmentally conscious actions extend to the Inn as well. We have taken recycling a step further. Let me explain. We recycle all the standard items: newspaper, glass, aluminum, plastic, etc. However, a few years ago we realized how many water bottles our guests used. So, instead of crossing our fingers and hoping those bottles were recycled, we began offering a main water station for our guests. This was very well received and has reduced waste in a big way.

4th. As you can imagine, we end up emptying a lot of wine bottles around here. While we recycle glass at the recycling center, we also have expanded to include Youngberg Hill Pinotthem in DIY projects. This not only beautifies the Inn, it makes the environment healthier too!

We constantly work to lower our carbon footprint and create a better environment. No one is perfect in this regard – but we’re certainly aiming for it! It’s like that quote from Mr. William Clement Stone: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

What most concerns you about the environment? Let us know below!

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