Wine with a View in the Willamette Valley

In Hotels, Northwest, Wine and Beverage by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch2 Comments

Life can be filled with pleasant surprises when you are open to new experiences. Such was the case with our visit to Youngberg Hill in the Willamette Valley.

A visit to Youngberg Hill is the ultimate Willamette Valley experience in Oregon. Treat yourself to a stay here for the best views and wine in the area.

Daryl Hirsch Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

As we departed Portland, we questioned why we were leaving the vibrant city and its myriad of wonderful restaurants to drive fifty miles to the tiny town of McMinnville. Although we already knew that Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces some of the best Pinot Noir wine in the world, we speculated as to what we would do in Oregon’s wine country during the rain. Our doubts abated as the rain stopped and the fog magically lifted to reveal a breathtaking scene of mossy vegetation and hidden vineyards. This is when we knew that we were in for something special during our stay at Youngberg Hill.

Youngberg Hill stands like a crown jewel at the top of a Willamette Valley hill. It's placement provides epic views from every window and angle. ine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Youngberg Hill stands like a crown jewel at the top of a Willamette Valley hill. It’s placement provides epic views from every window and angle.

Our Stay at Youngberg Hill

Arrival

Youngberg Hill is a winery that is also a luxury bed and breakfast. (Or is it a luxury bed and breakfast that is also a winery?) Located at the top of a verdant hill, Youngberg Hill provided us with a welcoming sense of grandeur that started at the bottom of the slope and grew as we ascended to the top.

Emplooyee Jacob Muti warmly greeted us as we arrived at Youngberg Hill. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Employee Nathan Muti warmly greeted us as we arrived at Youngberg Hill.

Nathan Muti gave us the grand tour as he walked us to our room. He showed us the dining room replete with bottomless coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, beer and cookies. He made sure to point out various details in the recently renovated 1989 building and let us peek into the nine unique rooms so that we could see multiple views of the property.

Our first impressions of Youngberg Hill showed a warm decor with a focus on wine. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Our first impressions of Youngberg Hill showed a warm decor with a focus on wine.

Hotel Room

Entering the Mariafeld Suite, we breathed in deeply as we soaked in the views of the valley and vineyards through the windows. Then we plopped onto the comfy king bed and plotted when we could use the fireplace later that evening. Before leaving, we took a few minutes to admire the stylish details that contribute to a luxurious room that is true to the region – a headboard constucted of old wine barrels and a bathroom sink forged from recycled bottles.

The luxurious Mariafeld room sports a comfortable bed, a fireplace and perfect views of the vineyard. Note the headboard made from repurposed wine barrels. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

The luxurious Mariafeld room sports a comfortable bed, a fireplace and perfect views of the vineyard. Note the headboard made from repurposed wine barrels.

The bathroom sink in the Mariafeld Room is made from recycled wine bottles. The bathroom also sports a double shower and other high-end amenities. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

The bathroom sink in the Mariafeld Room is made from recycled wine bottles. The bathroom also sports a double shower and other high-end amenities.

Wine Tasting

After dropping off our bags and checking out the room, we headed directly to the tasting room. The tasting room is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm each day plus an additional hour for hotel guests who come from all over the world.

Wayne Bailey has owned Youngberg Hill since 2003. He produces estate grown Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Wayne Bailey has owned Youngberg Hill since 2003. He produces estate grown Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Youngberg Hill was awarded winery license no. 49 from the state of Oregon, with the original vines planted back in 1989. Owner Wayne Bailey bought the property in 2003 and has embraced the “beauty of farming” considering wine making to be a “labor of love.” Bailey grew up on an Iowa farm and later lived in Chicago and Burgundy before moving to the Willamette Valley. While he poured samplings of five wines from vintage years ranging from 2009 to 2013, he explained each wine, focusing on the grapes, soil, climate and aging.

Local cheese and meats go perfectly with the pinot served at Youngberg Hill. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Local cheese and meats go perfectly with the pinot served at Youngberg Hill.

After the tasting, we splurged and bought a bottle of Youngberg Hill’s 2013 Cuvée, a young but striking and fruity Pinot Noir. We picked our spot on the hotel’s wrap-around balcony so that we could soak up the view of the lush, hilly scenery while we sipped on the rich and silky red wine. Seriously, can life get any better than this?

There are no bad views at Youngberg Hill, even on an overcast day. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

There are no bad views at Youngberg Hill, even on an overcast day.

All that was left to our day was dinner and relaxation back in the room. We had needed a break from our exhausting but fun North American road trip, and Youngberg Hill was the ideal spot to meet our needs

Tasting Tip: There are many well-regarded restaurants in McMinnville. However, consider venturing to nearby Blue Goat Restaurant in Amity for casual food, much of it cooked in the huge wood-fire oven designed by Kiko Denzer.

The dishes at Blue Goat feature locally sourced meats and produce. ine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

The dishes at Blue Goat feature locally sourced meats and produce.

Blue Goat Restaurant is located at 506 S Trade St, Amity, OR 97101, United States.

Breakfast

Youngberg Hill’s dining room features a communal table that comfortably seats eight, plus additional two-top tables for couples looking for a more private breakfast experience. Our breakfast was two courses, starting with refreshing rosemary melon salad and ending with salted caramel french toast served with sausage links. The hearty morning meal gave us a good base for the wine tastings that lay ahead in our day.

The salted caramel french toast was the star of our two-course breakfast at Youngberg Hill. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

The salted caramel french toast was the star of our two-course breakfast at Youngberg Hill.

Youngberg Hill is located at 10660 Southwest Youngberg Hill Road, McMinnville, OR 97128, United States. Reservations can be made over the phone (503-472-2727) or on the hotel’s website.

Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley

We couldn’t leave the Willamette Valley without tasting more wine. Our favorite tasting spots were the historic The Eyrie Vineyards and The Carlton Winemakers Studio. Both offered different wine tasting experiences, with the similarities being friendly education and fantastic wine.

Located right in McMinnville and founded by David Lett in the 1960’s, The Eyrie Vineyards is one of the region’s original wineries that embraced the Pinot Noir grape as essential to the region’s terroir.  During our visit at the region’s pioneer winery, we shared an exploration flight, which allowed us to try seven different Dundee Hills AVA wines including a limited production release and a 1990 library vintage. The cost of the tasting was $20.

Eyrie Vineyards is located at 935 NE 10th Avenue, McMinnville, OR 97128, United States.

The Carlton Winemakers Studio is a hip tasting spot that also functions like a cooperative for 14 smaller producers. The sun-drenched tasting room is modern and comfortable with an expansive counter and large windows. Christine Andrus guided us through the tasting process with colorful stories about each wine and a personal tour of the LEEDS certified facility. We shared a $15 wine flight and bought a bottle of crisp rosé to enjoy later.

The Carlton Winemakers Studio is located at 801 N Scott Street, Carlton, OR 97111, United States.

Tasting Tip: After tasting wines at The Carlton Winemakers Studio, stop for lunch at The Horse Radish. The menu includes local cheese and charcuterie as well as freshly made soup, sandwiches, salads and quiche.

Salad and Quiche at The Horse Radish in the Willamette Valley. Wine with a View in Willamette Valley Youngberg Hill 2foodtrippers

Salad and Quiche at The Horse Radish in the Willamette Valley.

The Horse Radish is located at 211 W Main Street, Carlton, OR 97111, United States.

We left Youngberg Hill more rested than when we arrived. Filled with happy hearts, full bellies and wine for the road, we were fully energized for our return trip to Portland.

We thank the fine folks at Youngberg Hill and Select Registry for facilitating our stay for the purpose of this review.


Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience in this intreresting place in Oregon. I am a wine lover and did not even know there is winerys in Oregon. But actually I don’t know so much about winemaking in USA. Of course I know they make wines in California and 2014 in May we were visiting Niagara falls in Canada and we went also to beautiful little city called Niagara on the lake and visited one winery on the area. There was also fine dining restaurant and I had there one of the best lunches ever.

    1. Author

      We’re happy to introduce to Oregon wine country. If you make it back to the USA, you would surely love it this area. Are there good wine regions where you live?

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