Some of Oregon’s most spectacular views can be found in our legendary wine country, so combining our love of running with our love of wine is a perfect pairing.
I recently had the pleasure of staying at Youngberg Hill in McMinnville, OR. This family owned and operated estate has 20 acres of vineyards plus a bed and breakfast inn with nine luxurious rooms.
As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed at the door, given a tour, and shown to my suite on the second floor. The suite had front living room with a mini wine fridge, bedroom with comfortable king sized bed, private deck with a view of the vineyards, and an enormous bathroom with a deep soaking tub and double headed shower.
Before long, I walked downstairs for the main event: wine! Youngberg has a lovely tasting room that is open to the public, and private tastings are by appointment only. The first tasting was for the prestigious Bailey family wines. Owner Wayne Bailey led this tasting, and I loved hearing his stories from growing up in Iowa to studying in Burgundy. Not only does Wayne own and operate the vineyards, but he lives here too. His philosophy that the best fertilizer is your footsteps is evident in the level of personal care and investment he and his family have for the quality of the wine. He also shared his focus on working with the land instead of competing with it or compensating for it. Bailey wines are made on the wine’s schedule and produced to the capacity that the grapes allow. If a certain year’s crops produce especially good grapes for a certain wine, like the 2017 Grenache included with the tasting, the Baileys produce accordingly. Grenache is a less common style of red wine, but the grapes that year were perfect for it, so the Baileys let nature lead the way. Four wines were included with the first tasting: Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sparkling.
Our second tasting was with the traditional Youngberg wines. This was a more casual setting, guided by a charming and knowledgeable employee named Kelsey. She shared seven wines, and had me laughing as I enjoyed and learned about each one.
Snacks of crackers, olives, nuts and cheese were provided with the tastings, but dinner is not served on site. Fortunately, there are several restaurants in McMinnville just a short drive away. The inn provided information for Wheels N Time, a local transport service, so guests who had already enjoyed their fair share of wine are still able to travel safely. I ventured into downtown McMinnville for a delicious dinner at the 411 Eatery & Lounge, and then headed back to the inn to unwind and relax.
After a sound night’s sleep, I awoke before sunrise and laced up my shoes to explore the vineyard hills on a run. Owner Wayne Bailey suggested a nearby route, and there are also numerous bike trails nearby. The estate is at the top of a 700 foot hill (which allows for the breathtaking views), so my run started with a steep descent down to the main road. I connected to a neighborhood trail, and then I hiked the ascent back to the top for a much needed shower.
A delicious homemade breakfast was served at 9am, starting with a roasted pear tart and a main course of eggs, bacon, biscuits, and salmon gravy. Vegetarian and vegan requests were easily accommodated, and everyone in the room raved about their meal. Most guests sat around one large table and chatted, but a few groups opted for more privacy with two or four person tables in an adjacent room.
Shortly after breakfast, I checked out and headed back home with a newly purchased case of wine (which I have since shared and enjoyed, with a few bottles tucked away for special occasions).
Whether you want to include a winery stay as part of your runcation or just run away from reality for a few days, Youngberg Hills is a charming and elegant getaway.
Upcoming races in McMinnville: