Each week, as regular readers know, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker. This week, we’re featuring Wayne Bailey, the winemaker and owner of Youngberg Hill in McMinnville, Oregon.
Bailey grew up in Oakland, Iowa, where his father farmed corn and soy beans and raised hogs.
Although Bailey graduated from college with a degree in engineering, he spent most of his career in food and beverage consulting. In 1997, he landed a three-month contract in Burgundy to help a number of vintners with branding and marketing, and that’s when he fell in love with wine.
Bailey was most impressed with the fact that in Burgundy, all the winemakers simply considered themselves farmers. Since he’d always felt a connection to farming, he decided then that one day, he’d own a vineyard.
Since his heart was with Pinot Noir, Oregon felt like the most natural fit. So when he began looking for land, he asked the late Jimi Brooks, then the winemaker and vineyard manager at Maysara Winery, for advice. (As regular readers know, we interviewed Brooks Winery’s Chris Williams earlier this month.)
Brooks steered Bailey toward Youngberg Hill, where Ken Wright had planted vines in 1989 and been sourcing fruit from ever since. In 2003, Bailey purchased the 20-acre site – and he’s been farming it and making wine there ever since.
Check out our interview with Bailey below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »