In late October 2022, I visited Youngberg Hill in Oregon’s McMinnville AVA. It is a gorgeous 50-acre property with a historic inn atop the hillside, surrounded by astounding views and meticulously farmed, organic and biodynamic vineyards planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.
Lutz, an Oregonian, began his career in Napa Valley in 1984, when he developed a taste for wine shortly after college. He worked at several well-known wineries, including Robert Mondavi. It was at Mondavi where Lutz and the Mondavi team would participate in staff blind tastings led by Robert himself.
This year was an interesting growing season for wine producers in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. As wineries continue to adjust to the new normal of COVID and appointment only reservations becomes the norm, the region experienced a heat dome this summer resulting in record temperatures hovering around 115 degrees for several days. Quick and decisive decision making is becoming a necessity for grape growers. With harvest happening usually in the September to October time period, growers are always potentially faced with early rain, and now the threat of wildfires, that can quickly determine or alter how a grower approaches a harvest.