Welcome to binNotes, a blog for those who consider wine an art, not just a beverage.
Part I of a 2-part series.
How one Iowa farm boy’s passion for Pinot brought him to Burgundy and back…all the way to the Willamette Valley.
By L.M. Archer, FWS
Youngberg Hill owner Wayne Bailey considers himself a farmer first, a wine grower second. It’s the Iowa farm boy in him – and the same philosophy he found among the Burgundian vignerons with whom he worked as a food and wine consultant in the late 1990’s.
A mechanical engineer by training, in Burgundy Bailey found kindred spirits, mindful of the land, the seasons, the soil, and community. He quickly fell in love with Pinot Noir and the world of wine growing.
Returning to the United States, Wayne settled on Willamette Valley, purchasing Youngberg Hill in 2003. Legendary wine maker Ken Wright planted the first Pinot Noir there in 1989 for Panther Creek. Located on a promontory high above McMinnville, Youngberg Hill overlooks Mt. Hood to the north, Mt. Jefferson to the east, Sisters to the south, and the Coast Range to the southwest.
But Youngberg Hills isn’t just about the views. Wayne purchased Youngberg Hill on the advice of Jimi Brooks, the late, great, and beloved vineyard manager at Maysara Winery. Jimi Brooks advised “This hill has a good vein going through it.” Brooks assessment proved astute.
Youngberg Hill Vineyard, comprised of 21 acres on a 50 acre estate, sits on diverse soils. These soils include marine sediments, volcanic, and shale. All are dry farmed. Many vines date back 22 years. Most have southeastern exposures. Three blocks feature Pinot Noir: Natasha, Jordan and Camelot blocks, each 60% Pommard and 40% Wadenswil. One block contains Pinot Gris: Aspen. Elevations run 600 ft. – ~800 ft.
Bailey honors his children by naming the Natasha, Jordan and Aspen blocks after them. And he honors the spirit of his late friend Jimi Brooks through the biodynamic farming practices Brooks taught him. Youngberg Hill incorporates a pragmatic, holistic approach to sustainable farming that focuses on proactive, preventative methods to ensure healthy biodiversity and fruit truthful of the terroir.
Youngberg Hill also includes gracious Youngberg Hill Inn, featuring four queen and four king luxury suites, gourmet breakfast, and specialty packages. It offers a serene, central staging point for exploring Willamette Valley.
Thank you to Wayne, his family, staff and consultants for their assistance. binNotes declined a stay at the Inn, though offered.
Part II: Youngberg Hill Vineyard Tasting Notes and binNotes exclusive video interview with Wayne Bailey.
Copyrighted 2013. All rights reserved.