• Neil & Sue Shay

“MY UN-FAVORITE YEAR”

Updated: Sep 5


We KNOW the August blog went on and on and on, so we promise to be more concise here. Long story short, we are now about to start our 7th harvest and crush season, with the 2014 Zenith Pinot Noir being our very first commercially produced wine after more than a decade of amateur winemaking. We are also about to reach a second milestone, this fall will finish up our first five years of operating the tasting room, being open seasonally starting with Memorial Weekend, 2016.

In the Winery: First and foremost, we are trying to get a bunch of wine bottled before harvest. Last week, we bottled 170 cases of our Flagship 2018 Pinot Noir; this was our largest single bottling of any Bluebird Hill wine in our history! This wine is mostly estate, a blend of wine from both the North and South Blocks, all five of our PN clones, and a skoosh (15%) of Zenith Vineyard PN as well. We plan to release this wine later in the fall. The 2019 Chardonnay gets bottled next, followed by Mom’s Reserve Pinot noir, a South Block Reserve Pinot noir, two barrels of Zenith Vineyard Reserve Pinot noir, and (drum roll…) we are excited to be bottling a 2018 Reserve Chardonnay. We will keep you posted, right now it is 270 cases bottled, and about 270 more to go! Even though business has been pretty good, this influx of newly bottled wine is making us get very creative regarding how to keep all this wine stored away in our climate-controlled case storage area…


Nick has been busy getting everything ready for harvest, crush, and fermentations. For the 2020 vintage, we are adding to our rotation, four new barrels (actually four of our better neutral barrels ‘recooped’ at ReWine in Salem), we just picked up a load of killer once, twice, and three times used barrels (EIGHT of them!) from Archery Summit in Dundee – a mix of great cooperages like Francois Freres, DAMY, Sequin Moreau, and Billon. The destemmer has been cleaned and greased and is ready to go, and our fall order of yeast, nutrients, enzymes, and malolactic bacteria has been ordered AND received from Davison’s Wine Supply in McMinnville. In short, we are ready to go! We are adding two new wine yeasts to our collection this fall: CY3079 is a favorite for cool temperature, barrel-fermented Chardonnays which sometimes brings aromas and flavors of fresh butter, honey, flowers, and pineapple. The second is W15, this yeast will be for Pinot noir. This yeast is known for helping develop deep berry flavors in Pinot.

Tasting room business was brisk in August. We have been keeping everyone appropriately distanced between tables in our outdoor tasting area, and everyone is arriving and leaving with masks on. We are hoping the weather will hold for us to continue this practice through October, we will have to play that by ear. The long-range forecast for September appears to be warm and dry. As we noted in our last blog, Bluebird Hill has become a Harvest Host. Harvest Hosts is a network of wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms, and attractions that invite RVers to stay in 1245+ stunning camping sites. The $79 yearly membership gives members unlimited access to stay overnight at any one of their Host‘s locations. They kindly ask their members to support their Hosts by purchasing one of their local products with each stay!

Requirements for joining the program:

  • You must have a self-contained RV with a toilet, water tank and inside cooking facilities

  • No tents of any kind are allowed

Interested in becoming a member? You can join here. Harvest Host has brought us some new business and new winery friends.


There are some great new September wine specials, too – see them listed at the end of the blog.


In the Vineyard: We are keeping up with things in the vineyard, we are liking where we are right now, and visitors are commenting on how nice the vineyard looks to them. The sprayer is done for the year. As of this week, we are seeing sugar levels going up and tartness is dropping. The long-term forecast for September looks awesome. We are VERY hopeful that although 2020 has not been anyone’s “Favorite Year”, we are hopeful that maybe 2020 will also be remembered as an awesome vintage for Oregon wine. Besides our estate fruit, we also have grapes coming largely from Zenith Vineyard (PN), La Chouette in Jefferson (Chardonnay), and Walnut Ridge (Pinot gris). We have a good plan to keep everyone appropriately distanced during harvest, so if there is anyone out there who would like to help with harvest, you know how to reach us!


September Wine Specials

We’re pleased to be offering a few specially priced wine packages for the month of September:

We will continue to offer our “Stock up BIG” and Rosé specials through September.  Curbside pickup at the winery or free doorstep delivery locally.  Shipping available to all other points around the USA. Ordering couldn’t be easier – for local orders, just send us an email or phone Sue at the winery with a list of what you’d like.  You can also place an order online to be shipped.

Celebrating 2015 - Our 5 Year Anniversary Pack: (Retail $167, now $149)

2015 Reserve Chardonnay

2015 Barrel Select Pinot Noir

2015 Reserve Pinot Noir

2017 Pinot Pack: Our “Fearsome Foursome” ($179 Retail, now $149)

(All four of these wines have won gold or double gold medals!)

2017 Flagship PN

2017 Estate Reserve PN

2017 Willamette Valley Reserve PN

2017 Barrel Select PN

Red, White and Rosé for the Holidays ($344 retail, now 20% off, $275)

4 – 2019 Rosé

4 – 2018 Chardonnay

4 – 2017 Flagship Pinot Noir

End of Summer Rosé Clearance

Buy 6: 10% off

Buy 12: 15% off

Buy 24: 20% off

Buy 36: 30% off

(Sorry, cannot be combined with other discounts)

The “Stock Up BIG” Sale Continues:

Any mixed purchase:

Buy 6 bottles: Get 10% off

Buy 12 bottles: Get 15% off

Buy 24 bottles: Get 20% off

Buy 36 bottles: Get 25% off

(Wine club members get additional 5% discount)


Bring the family (or your pod) out for a socially distanced picnic over Labor Day weekend. Our tasting room will be open Friday 3-7 pm, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12-5 pm this weekend. Reservations are always appreciated but walk ins are welcome. Enjoy the following tasting room specials this month:


It’s September: Time to Hit the Library! (Wine Library, that is…)

Taste Five Outstanding Chardonnays for $30 ($20 Wine Club)

Chardonnay Tasting (2 oz. each):

2015 Reserve Chardonnay (never judged)

2016 Chardonnay (4 Gold medals)

2016 Reserve Chardonnay (Gold, Double Gold, Best of Show)

2017 Chardonnay (Gold, Double Gold, Double Platinum)

2018 Chardonnay (91 Points and Editors’ Choice, Wine Enthusiast)

Taste Five Pinot Noirs Starting with Our Very First! ($30/$20 Wine Club)

Pinot Noir Tasting (2 oz. each):

2014 Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir (Oregon Wine Press: “Cellar Select”

2015 Reserve Pinot Noir (never judged)

2015 Barrel Select Pinot Noir (never judged)

2016 Pinot Noir (Gold, Double Gold, Double Platinum)

2016 Reserve (Zenith Vineyard) Pinot Noir (91 Points, PinotFile)


SEE OUR SCHEDULE OF VIRTUAL WINE TASTINGS – SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER


NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER:

Stay tuned for more to come in November and December. We’ll be scheduling some set virtual events, but also want to put the thought in your mind, perhaps Thanksgiving wine weekends in the Willamette Valley are going to be different than before because of quarantine and distancing restrictions. So we invite you to call us or email, to discuss options for scheduling your own private tasting at Bluebird Hill, so you can be assured of privacy and safety, or consider designing with us a very special virtual event, connect with friends and family around the country, we can put together a package that not only includes some special wines to taste, but also some specialty gourmet items to go with the wines. Tastings can be set up at all levels and price ranges, from a small set of tasters, to multi-bottle packages, you decide!

Save the dates, the pre-Thanksgiving weekend is Nov 20-22, and the post weekend is Nov. 27-29. We will be scheduling custom dates for virtual family and friend tastings for the entire months of November and December. Reserve a date and time now, and work with us to create a special event.


THINK AHEAD TO THE HOLIDAYS – We Can Ship To Your Loved Ones!


We know that we have a lot to be thankful for. It's all of you that make it possible for us to live our dreams every day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Stay safe and healthy, and we hope to see you at the winery this holiday weekend or in the near future!

Best always,

Neil and Sue

Pastel by our dear friend Margaret Enders



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