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Youngberg Hill Vineyards and Inn
by Kathy. Sullivan

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnSummary: Youngberg Hill offers vineyard views, wines and an eight room bed & breakfast. The wine tasting room is located in the inn. Visitors can enjoy their wine tasting in the tasting room or on the large deck. The vineyards are farmed with environmentally, friendly methods.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnYoungberg Hill wines are available for a tasting at the Youngberg Hill Inn, a bed and breakfast in the high hills of Willamette Valley. On clear days, visitors can see Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and Three Sisters Mountains. Far from city lights and noise, when one of the Bailey's children was four, she said, “It’s so quiet I can hear the stars.”

Norm Barnet established Youngberg Hill in 1989. Norm had purchased the 700 acres of farmland that the vineyards and inn now occupies in 1987. Since 1855 the Youngbergs, a Swedish family, had farmed the land. Norm called the property Youngberg Hill to honor the family that farmed the land.

While Ken Wright was looking for areas to grow Pinot Noir, he talked with Norm and planted vineyards on the property in 1989. The first vintage fruit was 1994 and the fruit was sold to Panther Creek Winery. The first vintage Youngberg Hill label was in 1996.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnIn 1997 new owners decided to keep the Youngberg Inn and sell most of the fruit to the other wineries. In 2003 Wayne Bailey and his partner, Nicolette Nickolau purchased the property based on the vineyards. Wayne had been looking for vineyard property that would include a cool climate. As part of his research, he asked, "If you could buy grapes from a vineyard, what vineyard would you buy from?” Youngberg Hill was on the list of many respondents.

Wayne had grown up on a farm in Iowa and liked the farming community. The Youngberg property was very agriculturally oriented. Wayne likes the sense of community among winery owners and winemakers noting that wineries see each other as neighbors.

Today Youngberg Hill has 20 acres of vineyards that include 15 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. According to Wayne, he has a pragmatic approach to biodynamic farming. He focuses on sustainability for the vineyard and the environment. Vineyard practices include a focus on insect diversity, the use of tea spray preparations and biodynamic farming based on the biodynamic calendar.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnWines

We began our wine tasting in a relaxed setting with comfortable seating in front of a fireplace. The first wine was the Pinot Gris 2013 Aspen Vineyard McMinnville AVA. The gold color wine offered notes of yellow stone fruit. The wine was medium-bodied with 11.75% alcohol. The wine retails for $25.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnPinot Noir Cuvee 2012 Willamette Valley AVA was produced with three blocks of fruit from three different vineyards. The wine was an opaque, dark ruby color with 14.5% alcohol. The wine offered notes of red raspberries, leather, spice and bold tannins. This full-bodied, crisp wine retails for $35. Pinot Noir 2011 Natasha Block of Vineyards McMinnville AVA was crafted from 25-year-old vines. The wine was a translucent ruby color with 11.5% alcohol. The wine was spicy especially pepper with notes of cedar and raspberry. The crisp wine had medium/bold tannins. The wine was full-bodied. The retail price is $40. Pinot Noir 2011 Jordan Block McMinnville AVA was produced from 25-year-old vines. The translucent ruby color wine had 12% alcohol. The wine offered cedar, pepper, and raspberry notes with a hint of licorice. The wine had medium/bold tannins, and was crisp and full-bodied. Oregon Syrah 2011 Rogue Valley AVA had 12.2% alcohol. The wine was an opaque, dark ruby color. The wine had plum, licorice and black raspberry notes. The wine had bold tannins, was full-bodied and crisp.

The wines are produced in McMinnville. Wayne wants the wine in a glass to reflect the terroir of the vineyards. He keeps the wines separated by the blocks the grapes are from. The soil, elevation and temperature in the vineyards vary. The vineyards have six different soil types and temperature differences of about 4 degrees. The vineyards are at an elevation of 525 feet to 800 feet.

How did Wayne find his way from farmland in Iowa to a vineyard in Oregon? After college, while in California for an interview, Wayne visited his uncle who was an engineer at Chevron. His uncle took Wayne to a restaurant where Wayne had a great wine. Then his uncle took him to visit wineries in Sonoma. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wayne visited his uncle and learned more about wine.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards and InnAs the years went past, Wayne an engineer began working for the food and beverage industry. He was sent to Burgundy and then decided to stay in Burgundy for an additional two years during which time he learned about grape growing and winemaking.

Enjoy a visit to the Youngberg Hill wine tasting room and inn with countryside views of vineyards, hills and mountains.

Youngberg Hill Vineyards & Inn
10660 SW Youngberg Hill Road
McMinnville, Oregon 97128

GPS: N45º 11.438’ W123º 17.420’

For more information


Article written September 2014

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