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  • Writer's pictureNeil & Sue Shay

Satisfying Work

Vineyard Update: We skipped our April blog, and it’s apparently clear if you look at the picture posted with our March blog post versus now: there’s a dramatic transition from the snowy vineyard picture from the beginning of March to where we are today in the vineyard, with shoots of 6” (or more) in both the North and South blocks. Break was a bit uneven, but we’re calling bud break April 21, about the same as it was last year. This led to a late September harvest, you might remember.

A week or so ago, Neil was out in the vineyard with our assistant Clay, it was Clay’s first time ever shoot and bud thinning in the vineyard. After Clay’s first half hour of work, he looked at Neil and said ‘This is satisfying work... ‘. Apparently Clay, like so many of us, see real beauty in finding a near-random array of buds and shoots pointing in all different directions, and then producing the uniform array of shoots, climbing upward, especially as you view a row of vines from the end, or look uphill and see many parallel rows of green shoots. We’ve talked about the training system we use, VSP or Vertical Shoot Positioning in a previous blog post, so if you’re curious about that system, go back and browse the blog archives and you will learn a little about VSP. We think there are about 40,000 shoots that will each bear one or two clusters of grapes...So we’re now about two weeks into bud break, the vineyard is looking great and we’re again looking for a new record harvest in September. In part, it’s going to be quite exciting, since we will see our first ever crop of Bluebird Hill Estate Chardonnay. Chardonnay was planted in 2016 and 2017, and we will have a partial crop this year.

Winery Update: We have a new winery assistant, please help us welcome Alexis Doyle. Alexis is pursuing a degree at OSU in fermentation science. She’ll be with us part-time when OSU is in session, and a bit more during the summer. She’s also ‘licensed to pour’ so you might run into her this summer in the tasting room, probably on Saturday afternoons. We have been taking care of all of our 2017 and 2018 barrels, measured alcohol levels on every single barrel and tank, and keeping our sulfite levels just right to make sure nothing bad ever would happen to our wine. Still to come before the ‘official’ Memorial Day Weekend opening of the summer tasting season is some bottling of a few 2018 white wines, notably Duology, Pinot gris, and also, our Rosé.

Events, Events, Events: Before we get into a discussion of upcoming events, let us just remind you that our scenic outdoor tasting area is available for your own special private parties this summer – we can host private parties, with enough seating for 50-60 people. Just give us a call or email and tell us what you are thinking about.

Ok, now for the upcoming summer events to put on your calendar:

Women and Wine Wednesday is Back! We’re making it easy for you to remember: The first Wednesday of each month is W&WW. The first is June 5th, jewelry making with Wendy and Sue. Check out the details on the website.

New in 2019: Friday Night Trivia. This is new for this year, we are going to be hosting a bi-weekly trivia contest Friday evenings. Bring a partner, bring a team, and arrive between 5:30 and 6:00 for the 6:00 start. Mr. Trivia-1 (Neil) will be writing the questions, and Mr. Trivia-2 (Master of Ceremonies, Kevin) will be reading the questions and scoring: seven rounds of ten questions. Each game will have one “Wine and Food” category, with the other six categories being a mix from literature, history, sports, science, etc. Not too hard but not too easy, either. Get your game face on and a glass of wine in your hand and let’s play! Friday June 14 is the kickoff!

Yoga at the Vineyard – Saturday mornings. Enjoy mid-morning yoga with the warm morning sun shining down on you, plus the view of the South Block vineyard and our valley view to the south. Then, what could be better? Enjoy some cool wines in the shade of the gazebo. Various Saturdays, starting June 1.

Art on The Hill is Saturday and Sunday June 15-16 and this event just keeps getting bigger and better! This year we will have over 20 different exhibitors, and food cart provided by Alpine locals, Boss Hawgs BBQ.

Sunday BBQ with music by Cosmic Strings - Sunday June 30. Be sure to put this one on your calendar! Emma and Spencer Houghton will be providing their unique sound while we enjoy a barbecue dinner. Advance RSVP and registration required, 5-8 pm, see more details on our events page.

Play It Forward – 2019: We’re sponsoring our third annual golf event on Monday August 19th, at Corvallis Country Club (recently renamed The Corvallis Club). Last year we raised over $4,000 which helps the United Way sponsor their efforts supporting disadvantaged kids and families, the homeless, and other special needs. A majority of the funds raised come right back to our rural location in south Benton County and Monroe. Tee off is 1:00 pm, there will be a slew of prizes, great food and Bluebird Hill wine. We are looking for players, sponsors, volunteers, and donations – so if you are interested to play or help in any way, contact us.

Pinot on the Patio: August 25 5-8. For the 4th annual POTP, we are featuring the unique music of the HipBillys, food, a special trivia event, and other games and contests. You can find further details and RSVP here.

The tasting room will be open from 12 to 5 pm on Mother's Day, Sunday May 12th. Bring Mom to Bluebird Hill for a tasting preview of our pre-release wines and current favorites. Bring a picnic or enjoy light bites from the tasting room. Mom's enjoy complimentary tasting. Stop in for our Memorial Weekend Open House 12 - 5 pm Friday through Monday May 24-27. We've just highlighted a few of the events we have planned for the season so visit our Events page or Facebook page to see the full lineup.

Thanks to all of you for being part of our Bluebird Hill family and we look forward to seeing you in the coming months!!


Neil & Sue Shay

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