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Wine with a View in the Willamette Valley

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.

Daryl Hirsch Wine in Willamette Valley Oregon

As we departed Portland, we questioned why we were leaving Oregon’s weird city and its myriad of wonderful restaurants to drive fifty miles to the tiny town of McMinnville. But we had committed to taking an Oregon road trip in the Beaver State, so away we went.

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

Our Stay at Youngberg Hill

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?

Arrival

Inside Youngberg Hill Willamette Valley Hill Oregon
Our first impressions of Youngberg Hill showed a warm decor with a focus on wine.

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.

Jacob Muti at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
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.

Hotel Room

Mariafeld Room at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
The luxurious Mariafeld room sports a comfortable bed, a fireplace and perfect views of the vineyard. Note the headboard made from repurposed wine barrels.

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.

Bathroom Sink in the Mariafeld Room at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
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.

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 constructed of old wine barrels and a bathroom sink forged from recycled bottles.

Wine Tasting

Wayne Bailey at Youngberg Hill in Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
Wayne Bailey has owned Youngberg Hill since 2003. He produces estate-grown Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

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.

Youngberg Hill was awarded winery license no. 49 from the state of Oregon, with original vines planted back in 1989. Owner Wayne Bailey bought the property in 2003 and has embraced the “beauty of farming” considering winemaking to be a “labor of love.”

Cheese and Meat Plate at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
Local cheese and meats go perfectly with the pinot served at Youngberg Hill.

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.

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?

View at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
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.

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.

Salted Caramel French Toast at Youngberg Hill in Willamette Valley Oregon
The salted caramel french toast was the star of our two-course breakfast at Youngberg Hill.

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.

Pro Tip

There are many well-regarded restaurants in McMinnville where you can eat dinner. However, consider venturing to Blue Goat Restaurant in Amity for casual food, much of it cooked in the huge wood-fire oven designed by Kiko Denzer.

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

Salad and Quiche at The Horse Radish in Willamette Valley Oregon
We ate Salad and Quiche at The Horse Radish in the Willamette Valley between Willamette Valley wine tastings.

The Willamette Valley is an ideal spot for a romantic weekend in the Pacific Northwest for wine lovers.

During our visit, our favorite tasting spots were The Eyrie Vineyards and The Carlton Winemakers Studio. Both offered different wine tasting experiences, with the similarities being friendly education and fantastic wine.

The Eyrie Vineyards

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 our tasting was $20.

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

The Carlton Winemakers Studio

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.

Hungry for More?

Check out our guide to the Portland food scene.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Disclosures

Sponsorship
We thank Youngberg Hill and Select Registry for facilitating our stay for the purpose of this article. Click here to find the best rates for this winery bed & breakfast near Portland.

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Eija Kaarina Pöllänen

Monday 18th of April 2016

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.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 19th of April 2016

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?