Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tasting Xylem Wines 2012 Rose'

I have in front of me a bottle of 2012 Rose, made by my friend Jason D. Brumley  and his partner Forrest Schaad. I met Jason during my wine gathering in 2008 when I showed up at Cana's Feast to beg one bottle and we have stayed in touch ever since.
The Barrel-Aged Rosé is made from a conglomeration of warm climate grapes from eastern Washington. The look is almost like a DrueskallI: orange like the sunset! I smell ripe Kiwi, gooseberry, and lime zest. The taste is soft fruit with melon and citrus stacked atop a great mouth-feel. Long finish of honey and melon.

Lovely wine! Made in a  basement! I recommend it as a companion to fresh salads, fruit, and spiced meats.  Xylem Wines. Here is what they say:

Xylem Wines is a fully functioning, residence-based winery located in McMinnville, Oregon - in the heart of Oregon's wine country. It is the result of two friends sharing a passion for viticulture and winemaking. 

Forrest Schaad began planting Vitis vinifera (wine grape) vines in 2007 on his family's farm on Rex Hill in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. The farm was established by Forrest's grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Schaad, in 1951 and was originally planted with Italian prunes, cherries, a variety of berries, and English walnuts. Doug 'Fish' Schaad, Ben's son, was the first to plant vinifera vines on the property in the mid 1980's.

In 2009, Jason Brumley started assisting Forrest with the planting of vines on the farm. They honed their viticulture and winemaking skills and expanded their knowledge by working professionally in Oregon's wine industry, making home wine, engaging in formal studies, and working continuously on their project at the farm. By Spring 2012, Forrest and Jason had planted over 5,000 vines and some were mature enough to produce fruit for the upcoming 2012 Autumn harvest. 

They had the fruit, but not the capital with which to build a conventional winemaking facility or even enough to lease space at an already established winery. They concluded that the next logical and feasible step to attaining their dream was to build a licensed and bonded winery in the basement of the house that Jason shares with his wife, Cokie Anderson. Summer 2012 saw the basement renovated and approved for commercial production.

2012 will be the inaugural vintage of Xylem Wines, with release to the public in Summer 2013. 
You can contact Jason via Facebook and ask for a bottle of ANY of the fine wines. 
These guys know what they are doing!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Meal fit for Royalty

Best meal of the month tonight. Soubise nailed it! Our friend Rebecca Marie Pittock Shouldis wine savant for Ghost Hill Cellars among others, joined  my wife Linda Lawrence (my Princess) and me for a long relaxing dinner and we were treated wonderfully. We brought a bottle of '12 Gypsy Dancer Pinot Noir the Rebecca now makes and they brought out the new Zalto hand blown glasses and the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses so we could taste the difference. Remarkable how much the glass shape changed the wine. The Burgundy glass was made to open and reduce the acid in a long aged wine so it ended up bringing more fruit forward, which was fine, but the finish was not as good as in the Oregon glass. They brought out a foie gras plate with quince and mushrooms for us to taste against the wines it it was just the perfect pairing. We had a fall vegetable salad with perfectly done beets, carrots, beans and more with a buttermilk dressing. I chose the pork shank paired with chorizo sausage and shrimp. Unbelievable!
Linda is a vegetarian and was pleased with the variety of the foods available to her. She had a Gnocchi that she seemed intent of finishing with a huge smile. Rebecca went for my second choice, the smoked steak.
They make everything on site so fresh and elegant is the rule. We finished with a small sample of Johan Cellars'  Drueskall Pinot Gris, an orange wine made by prolonged skin contact. We imagined sliced apricots on warmed goat cheese with this. Last was a wonderful Port, deep and red and thick with flavor.
Truly one of the finest meals I have had of late.

We felt welcomed and embraced and will soon return. Look for the Gypsy Dancer and perhaps the Ghost Hill Pinot Noir Blanc when next you visit!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Youngberg Hill's Last Winemaker Dinner of 2013!

Wine It Up!
Last Winemaker Dinner of 2013!
November 2nd
Time to give thanks for a wonderful year.  2013 has been a beautiful growing season and we are blessed to share it with you.  Join us for a our last winemaker dinner of the year.
For menu information click here
Reservation needed at 503.472.2727 or email
6pm Reception, 6:30p Dinner
Harvest Review
Click here to take a look at our harvest photos on Facebook.  "Like" us to follow along.
Wine Club Pre-Release
November 23rd
We are excited to releasing our 2011 Natasha, Jordan, and Cuvée wines.  Wine Club pre-release and pick up. Wine pairing with chocolates from Smitten Artisan Truffles. 10 to 4.  Please email us at in advance to have your wines ready to take home with you.
Blog Fun!
Have you read our blog lately?  
Youngberg Hill- Oregon Wine Country

Monday, October 21, 2013

Travel Lane County Launches Oakridge/Westfir GeoTour Edition

Travel Lane County Launches Third Edition of Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour

-Kickoff event set for
Saturday, Oct. 26 in Oakridge-

Eugene, Ore. -
Adventure seekers will have yet another Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour edition to explore. The Oakridge/Westfir Edition kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 26 in the Cascades region.
The new leg will lead geocachers to 36 sites along Highway 58, between Pleasant Hill and Willamette Pass, guiding treasure hunters to the area’s state parks, lakes, trails, waterfalls, hot springs and other attractions.
The success of the first two editions prompted Travel Lane County to expand its GeoTour, which has already attracted more than 2,000 participants since its initial launch last fall. The McKenzie River Edition got under way in October 2012, followed by the  Florence Edition in March 2013. Travel Lane County is already looking to launch a fourth edition next Spring.
Like the previous editions, the Oakridge/Westfir tour will challenge people to find at least 24 hidden sites to earn a locally-crafted, trackable geocoin—a coveted prize in the geocaching world.
The public and press are invited to join Travel Lane County and geocaching experts from at the official launch. The event is free and open to experienced and first-time geocachers, who can learn how to get started. Attendees can pick up the new Oakridge/Westfir edition passport and view the new geocoin.

     When:     Saturday, October 26, 2013                      9 to 11 a.m.

     Where:    Brewers Union Local 180 (family-friendly)
                     48329 E 1st St. Oakridge

     Contact: Travel Lane County
                     (541) 484-5307

Geocachers can use GPS units or smart-phone devices to follow coordinates to lead them to the hidden caches, usually comprised of small water-proof containers. Each cache the usual trinkets and treasures, along with a log book and password, which cachers record in their passport.
Following the kickoff event, the passport will also be accessible online. For more information, contact Travel Lane County at (541) 484-5307 or visit

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Support SALUD!

This organization is vital to Oregon's wine industry and should be supported by all those who enjoy our wines.

¡Salud!’s mission is simple and straightforward. We work to provide access to healthcare services for Oregon‘s seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
¡Salud! is a unique collaboration between Oregon winemakers and healthcare professionals to provide access to healthcare services for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families.
¡Salud! was created by a group of Oregon winery owners and Tuality Healthcare physicians to address the hurdles faced by seasonal workers who cannot meet their basic health needs with only a few months’ income to stretch over a full year. The vast majority of field workers move from one crop to another. Their temporary status with each employer makes them ineligible for health coverage. Without insurance, these men and women and their families often do not seek professional healthcare until their problems become acute. Their knowledge of basic health education is limited and they are overwhelmed by the maze of complex and confusing resources available in the medical system. The mission of ¡Salud! is to bridge this gap.
Workers and Clinic Staff
The relationship between vintners and physicians, united in their mission to benefit this essential workforce, is unique to Oregon. No other state in the country has such an effective and far-reaching program to support the seasonal worker population. Since 1991, the program has been supported by ¡Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction and other generous contributions. Held each November, the auction focuses on sought-after Pinot Noirs created by Oregon’s top wineries exclusively for the cause. In other ways, winery staff also assist ¡Salud! medical professionals in accessing and educating the workers and their families. This progressive approach by the Oregon wine industry enables ¡Salud! to reach workers onsite – often with mobile screening clinics held in the vineyards – as well as to identify those workers who are truly seasonal.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Joint in Town (Eugene)

There is a nice surprise awaiting at the top of the main stairs at 5th Street Public Market. Route 5 NW Wine Bar. It inhabits the old LaVelle Tasting Room and boy is it nice! They have taken all the walls out of the main area and surrounded us with great wines! The list of wines does not include only Oregon wines but they have a pretty good start. The wines on tap are a great way to travel through Oregon and they even have some foreign wines from south of and north of the border. Kirsten, the reining wine Queen's tastes are spot on so I trust what she is bringing aboard, and she is backed up by Phillip from Marche'.

I chatted a bit with Trent, who recently moved from Washington and is cutting his teeth on Oregon's fare. He recommended an '07 Stoney Mountain  Pinot Noir that was rich with dark fruit and earth, a bit of straw on the nose with prunes and currents. VERY nice wine. They offer a splash, a glass, or a flask! They also offer a great menu with their own flare prepared at Marche' . Roasted hazelnuts with rosemary and spices, smoked chilli popcorn, they will even surprise you with a mixed meat and cheese board for $20 to share as you taste through a few AVAs. They have a full menu of snacks to keep you happy.
One of the coolest design ideas they use is wine bottles drilled and placed to create a window. Very beautiful, and now I know what do do with all those old bottles!
There are a lot of wines I am looking forward to tasting here, and they have a lot of my personal favorites like Cowhorn, Winter's Hill, and Bergstrom just to name a few. Today I had the Deviled eggs and chicken liver-apple brandy mousse with toasts. I am very happy;)
Stop by and give them a try and tell them you saw it here!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime adventure. Only 9 spots left!

Begin your Oregon Truffle Festival experience early with the
Wine & Dine & Truffling Time Tour
in Oregon’s beautiful wine country
January 22 – 26, 2014
Daniel Winkler, director of Mushroaming LLC, a travel agency specializing in
fungal travel worldwide, will be your guide. He describes the tour below:
The Wine & Dine & Truffling Time Tour starts on Wednesday evening. We will meet in our hotel in downtown Portland (Hilton or Lucia). During a nice dinner in a downtown restaurant (details to be announced) we will get to know each other. Thursday morning we will leave Portland and search out a Douglas fir forest close to the picturesque Oregon wine country, where our first outdoor fungal adventure will take place. We will be hunting for the famous and delicious Oregon white truffle (Tuber gibbosum) with a trained truffle dog and an expert truffle hunter.
After the truffle hunt,we’ll visit local wineries and a farm specializing in olive oil production. We will be received with wines and olive oils to taste and appetizers to compliment the experience. The afternoon will conclude with an educational visit to Newberg’s new Wine Center in Dayton. Next destination will be The Inn at Red Hills in Dundee, six miles from Dayton. We will check in and get ready for dinner.
Thursday evening we’ll delight
in a multi-course truffle and mushroom meal at the famous Joel Palmer House located in Dayton. Joel Palmer House is on the National and Oregon Historic register and dates back to 1857; Chef Christopher Czarnecki took over the restaurant in 2008, which was founded by his great-grand father. Already his grand father focused on "fine dining with wine and wild mushrooms". Not surprisingly Joel Palmer House is regarded as one of America's leading restaurants, when it comes to mycophagy, or better the art of preparing culinary wild mushrooms. The wines for the dinner are provided by Seufert Winery.
After an early Friday breakfast, we will board our mini-van to drive to a forest habitat suited for hunting the fruity Oregon black truffle (Leucangium carthusianum). Once again we will be assisted by a trained truffle dog and an expert truffle hunter. After the Black truffle hunt we will continue our drive to Eugene (the distance from Dayton to Eugene is 85 mi). We expect to arrive at the Eugene Hilton approximately at 12:30 pm to check into our rooms. Many of the events of the Truffle Festival will conveniently take place in the Eugene Hilton.
Tickets for this extended package are ONLY available from
Daniel Winkler at

Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime adventure. Only 9 spots left!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Visit With Nature

There is something magical about walking through land that is unsullied by pesticides, Monsanto, and all the un-natural concoctions made by man to "tame" nature. It feels light, tingly, clean, and exciting. There is a good article by Brien Cantwell about Oregon's Bio-dynamic "Voodoo Vintners" here.
Recently I was fortunate to visit Keeler Estate Vineyard. Tucked in to the hills of the Eolla Amity AVA just outside of Amity, Oregon it is, like many wineries these days, bio-dynamic, but instead of becoming bio-dynamic, they started that way from day one.
I was warmly greeted by Gabriel and Craig Keeler along with my friend Jennifer Kadell, who works with them to promote their wines. The 200 acre farm has, along with the vineyards, table grapes, fruit trees, gardens, and now, its own mushroom farm!

The soils are Steiwer, Chehulpum, and shallow sedimentary soils over a base of deep ocean floor. (see photo) The range of elevation is from 220 to 500 feet with the higher vineyards being the newer recently planted.
The grapes grown are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and a small amount of Riesling. They also have introduced a newer varietal of Pinot Noir, 943, with a very masculine profile, deep and rich with currents and dark berry. It has been a cause for some excitement in France and California and a few vineyards in Oregon, such as Adelsheim, have had some pleasing results with it.
We tasted the wines in the tasting room and were treated to some delicious snacks prepared by Nicci Stokes. Her restaurant is Cafe Uncorked on Highway 18, McMinnville. 

The wines they make from Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes planted in '08 are superb in the hands of Darcy Pendergrass, the winemaker
The whites very in style from the '11 Pinot Gris' crisp, refreshing minerality and white peach then a '11 Reserve Pinot Gris with more tropical notes and a wonderful mouth-feel and last (so far) a quite surprising '11 Chardonnay that has the softness of melon yet retains a powerful mineral note, leaving a very pleasant and long lasting finish. The soil play into this wine very deeply. (NPI)
Now on to my favorite, the Pinot Noir. This is also an '11 and is done in 55% neutral oak and 45% new oak that give it a nice rich mouth feel. It has room to grow and all the signs are there that  in about 5 rears this will be a real beauty! Spicy and full of red fruit, nice acid balance and a long complex finish. Keep this one down for a few years and you will be rewarded!
 After a lull in the rain we walked down through the beautiful gardens and past the ponds to the Pinot Noir block where we sampled fruit from both top and bottom of the vine.  The Keelers employ a unique trellising system developed by Scott Henry, that trains the vines to grow in a lower and upper row. I must say I could discern the slightest shift in flavor profile, the top most being lighter. Craig showed us the problem of having bee hives at the end of the rows: Bee holes in a few of the grapes that can encourage Botrytis. The juice is removed and they collapse, inviting mold. Small issue but next year he is moving them further away. We rode around the back side of the vineyards past the compost pile stretching the length of the vineyard where straw and manure plus all the plant debris from the property is added to replenish the soils with what has been removed by the plants.

I smelled coffee grounds and  rich clean soil like when I was a child on the farm after tilling. Worms were hard at work as Craig explained the tubes that allowed for out-gassing and less worry about turning the piles of compost.
Heading up the hill we past some recent excavations where they were creating Insectariums: ponds, along with flowered and grassy areas meant to encourage native insects and encourage the control of invasive and harmful insects.

As we started up the hill we could see the vineyard workers hand hoeing the rows between the newer plantings and to the left, in the lip of the forested area, we saw the mushroom farm. They have inoculated oak logs with various edibles and  had just harvested. There were a few Oyster Mushrooms left.
We got to the top of the hill as the storm sat lurking on the horizon. We stood on the deck and admired the furniture Craig had made for visitors, painted in what Gabriel called Easter Egg.
When we were done watching the storm and were ready for another round of tasting and stuffed mushrooms, we took off down the hill and toured the newly excavated areas up close where Crag had built an earth dam with small culverts for circulation and drainage. We then went to the barn where we saw a most remarkable innovation! The teas that are made for the soils must be stirred a defines number of times in each direction to activate. This is at worst tedious and at best meditative, but
when you are farming a huge area and managing other ventures one must innovate. Behold an automatic stirring device that frees up man power and still does the job. Lots of controversy around having it done by machine but my feeling is, it was invented and built by mind and hand with a deep love for the land and respect for the practices so it should fit in to Rodolph's original ideas.

One last note: The dog is worth the visit just to see an animal that is in a constant state of pure joy! He ran in front of the vehicles waiting for a ball, a stick, anything! Here he is waiting patiently for us to get going.
The family is so nice and the feel of the land so vibrant that it is hard to leave. Gabriel and Craig's son Nick also has a bit of an arm in the wine industry, he owns Nicholas Keeler International and supply's barrels all over the world as well as making his own wines!
 I hated to leave and would much rather have stayed the rest of the day.

Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour Expands to Oakridge/Westfir

Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour Expands to Oakridge/Westfir

Oakridge, Ore. - Travel Lane County will launch the third leg of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour this month. Just 20 minutes from Eugene, the Oakridge/Westfir Edition follows Highway 58 from the pastoral views of Pleasant Hill to the wildlife and nature-rich trails of the Central Cascade Mountains.
Starting October 26, 2013, adventurers will be able to use their GPS or smartphone to guide them to the 36 most scenic and historic trails, waterfalls, coves and campgrounds between Willamette Pass and Elijah Bristow State Park. Visiting 24 caches earns them a locally-made and trackable geocoin. Participants collect the coin by visiting the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center. If they are unable to come in, they should e-mail or call (541) 743-5307 between 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
TOURISM - Salt Creek FallsThe public and press are invited to join Travel Lane County and geocaching experts at the official launch event.
Saturday, 9 - 11 a.m.
Brewers Union Local 180, a family-friendly restaurant
48329 E 1st St
Oakridge, OR 97463
During the kickoff, the trackable geocoin will be displayed and interested geocachers can pick up an official Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour - Oakridge/Westfir Edition passport. The passport may also be accessed online after the kickoff. For more information, contact Travel Lane County at (541) 484-5307 or visit
The Oakridge/Westfir Edition is the third installment of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour, a partnership with In October 2012, Travel Lane County launched the McKenzie River Edition, Oregon’s first official GeoTour and-at the time- one of only 11 worldwide. The Florence Edition launched in March 2013. In the first 10 months, more than 680 unique cachers logged their found caches on the GeoTour. This equals more than 2,000 participants based on’s formula for estimating number of participants. A fourth edition will launch in spring 2014.
About Geocaching:
In 2000, the U.S. government removed barriers to global positioning system signals, making it possible for civilians to track locations precisely. Within 24 hours, the first GPS stash, now called a geocache, was hidden in Beavercreek, Oregon by Dave Ulmer. He posted the cache's coordinates online with the instructions to "get some stuff, leave some stuff!!" and within three days, several people tracked it down, did just that, and shared their experience online. The game began.

Travel Lane County
754 Olive Street | Eugene, OR | 97401
P: 800.547.5445 |

Friday, October 4, 2013

This Saturday--Pianist Anton Nell Plays Mozart with OMP!

Join the celebration as Oregon Mozart Players returns for its second season in Beall Concert Hall under the inspired leadership of Artistic Director Kelly Kuo.  If you're an OMP regular, we look forward to welcoming you back—and if you're new to OMP, you owe it to yourself to see first-hand how our special blend of intimacy and excitement make us one of the preeminent professional chamber orchestras in the Northwest.
We are thrilled to introduce South Africa-born pianist Anton Nel to Eugene music lovers. Mr. Nel enjoys a remarkable and multifaceted career that has taken him to five continents. Today, in addition to a busy schedule as a concert artist, Mr. Nel heads the Division of Keyboard Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  (This is the same university where Maestro Kuo serves as Music Director of the opera program.) Mr. Nel  will perform Mozart's "Coronation" Piano Concerto, whose nickname originates from its second performance, when Mozart played it for the coronation of Leopold II as Holy Roman Emperor. We're sure you will agree that Anton Nel's  reputation as a superlative interpreter of Mozart is well-deserved. 

Also on the program is Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet, Op. 73 (later transcribed for chamber orchestra by his student, Rudolph Barschai). Composed in the aftermath of World War II, the events of the preceding years were surely on Shostakovich's mind as he wrote this moving and powerful work. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear it performed live.

Mozart's Overture to La clemenza di Tito completes the program. (Concert order is Mozart Overture – Shostakovich – Mozart Concerto.)

The concert takes place this Saturday, October 5 at 7:30 PM. You can still get tickets at the UO Box Office
 in person or by phone (541) 346-4363, online , or, if not sold out in advance, at the door in the hour before the downbeat. The cost of admission varies from $45 to $15 for adults; K-12 and college-age students can sit in any seat in the house for just $10!

Why not make a full evening of it? We'd love to include you in two free events that take place before and after the concert:

Pre-Concert Talk by Maestro Kuo
Saturday, October 5, 6:45 PM, Thelma Schnitzer Hall (north of Beall  lobby)
Post-concert Reception
Foo Family Lounge (hosted by the Taiwanese Women of Eugene)

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!


Special Thanks to our Sponsors

Season Sponsor
The Rosaria P. Haugland Foundation 

Concert Sponsors
             First Allied Securities/Susan Kauble
Anonymous Individual

Soloist Sponsors

 Charles and Leslie Wright

If you'd like to learn more about OMP, order season tickets, make a contribution,
sponsor a concert or a soloist, volunteer, or just have a chat, here's how to reach us:

Executive Director:
Telephone: (541) 345-6648

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amazing New Work by L. Almeida and Randell Ortiz "Nearer Pollock than Close"

Sculpture by Ortiz $6000

7:30 pm  The Gallery at the Watershed (321 Mill St #6)  
The Gallery at the Watershed presents “Figure and Form:  Nearer Pollack than Close, New Works by Lillian Almeida and Randy Ortiz.”  This exhibit showcases abstract figurative paintings by Lillian Almeida and sculptures by Randy Ortiz and continues through November 9th. 
After nearly a decade of dripping, flinging and pouring paint, local artist Lillian Almeida goes back to the brush in a new series that explores the figure as form and character. This boldly executed work expands on her interest in our experience of the duality of paint: as a physical presence while defining conceptual, visual space. Several of the new paintings introduce characters inspired by a conversation between the artist and U of O professor of opera, Laura Wayte, about a future collaboration. Lillian Almeida won Best of Show at the 2012 Mayor’s Art Show and has also shown in Eugene at Maude Kerns Art Center and Opus6ix.
In his first ever gallery exhibit, UO Alum Randolph Scott Ortiz brings his expanding vision for the world of sculpture.  With the intention to challenge preconceived notions of what "Modern Art" is or should be, Randy integrates timeless patterns with original design to give us a portal with which to view design through time.  He states, "Once I became familiar with the world and its people through the history of art, I promptly set off to help create what would eventually be the next impression for future generations to own..." The current exhibit gives a rare view into the fruits of a nine-month endeavor that has brought together the strengths of an innocent optimist with those of some of the "battle hardened," matured artisans of his West Eugene shop. Randy's work is featured in numerous local restaurants and private residences throughout Eugene.
"Figure From the Opera  5" , 36 x 24 in.Latex on panel $2,000
Figures from the Opera 48x48 $4000
Observation of Paper Horses 48x48 $4000
"#27" 48x48 $4000
"#32" 48x48 $4000
All of these and more will be on sale at The Gallery at the Watershed in October. This is a must see show! 
"Nearer Pollock than Close". Randell's steel sculptures are astounding!
"#30" 36x36 $2400