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  • Writer's pictureNeil & Sue Shay


Greetings winery friends! Neil sometimes jokes that the Bluebird Hill blog is a monthly publication which comes out eight times a year. This winter and spring is part of the reason we cannot keep up rigorously to a monthly publication schedule. Just too much going on!

Care to be updated? Read on…

Winter/Early Spring Happenings: With the advent of some sort of sense of safety, a number of wine and food events held live, in-person events for the first time since March of 2020. If you can remember back to the beginning of the quarantine, Neil was set to go to Central Point (for the Oregon Cheese Festival) and Nick and Alexis to McMinnville for the Food and Wine Classic, the very next day found out that both of those events had been cancelled. Sue poured two days at the Savor-NW event at Cannon Beach before the rest of that event was cancelled. She headed back home and two days later the whole state was shut down.

Now, in late winter and early spring of 2022, we’ve participated already at the Newport Wine and Seafood Festival, the McMinnville Food and Wine Classic at the Evergreen space museum, the Portland Seafood and Wine Festival, the Oregon Cheese Festival in Central Point, the Astoria-Warrenton Crab, Seafood and Wine Fest, and Monroe’s own Festival.

So lots of loading up the truck, lots of travel, lots of food on the road, lots of tastes and glasses poured, and a good number of bottles and cases of wine sold to happy festival goers. Now, finally, most of the festivals are over…

SPACE INVADERS: Speaking of Newport, we had rented a very nice VRBO for the long weekend of the Newport wine event, sharing a pretty large vacation home just outside of town with some of our friends for the weekend, our ‘home base’ for the weekend of the event. Two ‘Not-Good’ things happened that weekend. First of all, on Thursday night-our first night on the coast, while going for a glass of water after dark, Sue slipped on some mirror-finished glossy wood stairs, and took a hard fall from the last couple of steps onto a hardwood floor. She broke some of her fall with an outstretched arm, but still wound up bumping her head on the floor, too. The end result was a sprained wrist and a wrist splint that was worn for four or five weeks, and a bump and bruise on Sue’s crown, at the hairline. Luckily, that was it, and thank God, she was not hurt any worse…

But wait, there’s more! Saturday morning after Sue’s spill, she was woken from a pretty good sleep at 6:45 am with a phone call. From whom, you ask? Well, the caller ID read “Benton County Sheriff Department”! Ok, well that one’s worth answering live. Turns out, it was indeed a call from one of our home county sheriffs, he was calling to let us know that a young man, who lives locally to us, was rushing to work in his 4x4 pickup, and missed the slight right turn heading down Larson Road, traveling from west to east. (This is from the top of the hill, by the neighbor’s red barn, down the hill in front of the South Block Vineyard, down toward the direction of Bellfountain Road, if that helps you understand this any better). Somehow, he hit the three-foot berm at the edge of the road, lifting his two left wheels off the ground, and he slid through the deer fence, on two wheels, into the South Block, knocking down about a dozen wooden end posts like bowling pins, running over a couple of dozen vines, and snapping a whole bunch of trellis wires.

Neil left Sue at Newport and headed home immediately to check out the damage. He arrived only a couple of hours after the sheriff’s call, to find two tow trucks and two drivers trying to figure out how to winch the truck out of the vineyard. After an hour or so of head scratching, the guys figured out that despite all the damage to the truck, it was still operable, and were able to get it into four wheel drive and with help from the truck winch, drove it in reverse, back up the hill to the southwest corner of the property, where they were able to guide it to a flat spot, and get it out the corner gate and onto the flatbed car carrier.

We are so very grateful for our good friends who were staying with us that weekend. They pitched in and helped tote, setup, pour wine, and load up after the event while Sue was on the injured list and Neil was otherwise occupied with the accident in the vineyard. One even chauffeured Sue to Urgent Care in Corvallis on Sunday while Neil, having returned to Newport from Bluebird Hill finished up the event.

If bad things always come in threes, we have been lucky, there was nothing of the magnitude of Sue’s fall and the vineyard accident following those two events. Sue has healed up pretty well, and only now, about sixty days later, is the fence repaired, damaged posts replaced, and wires reconnected and restrung. It remains to be seen what kind of permanent damage there will be to some of the grapevines. For sure, a few dozen have lost their fruiting canes and won’t produce any fruit in 2022, but also, there may be some undetectable damage in some of the main trunks that may take a year or two to show up.

I guess only now, in the writing of this blog post, have we figured out what that ‘third bad thing’ was. On the early morning of April 15th, most of Oregon experienced a significant frost event. This happened, unfortunately, about one week after a majority of our vines had started into bud break. In our location, we dropped to about 29-30F, but other cooler areas nearby, and around the Willamette Valley, dropped to lower temperatures, we know some areas reported temperatures as low are 25-26F. This impact? Well, the juicy buds that were just popping open did indeed suffer some degree of damage. As we write today, some two weeks later, we’re just seeing our vines recover and now seeing good shoot growth. The jury is still out regarding what quantity of fruit we will lose due to the frost damage, and if, and how much harvest will be delayed. We’ll need another couple of weeks of good shoot growth, into flowering time, to get an idea of what the harvest will look like.

We’re planning on bottling our 2021 new releases, our Rosé, Duology, and Pinot Gris. We’ve only waited this long because of … can you guess?

The Wordle clue would be S _ _ _ _ Y C _ _ _ N. Yep, our label supplier has informed us that Supply Chain issues have impacted their ability to get out labels to us in a timely fashion.

The results are in from the 2022 Savor NW wine competition.

Gold/90 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Reserve Chardonnay

Double Gold/96 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Pinot Noir

Gold/91 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Mom's Block Reserve Pinot Noir

Silver/88 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 South Block Reserve Pinot Noir

Bronze Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Zenith Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir

Best of Class/94 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Red Wine Blend

Gold/89 Points Bluebird Hill Cellars 2019 Syrah

We’re looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend and what will be our SEVENTH season opening. Happy sixth birthday to Bluebird Hill. We hope, on that weekend, to be offering all the 2019 Pinots and the 2019 Reserve Chardonnay. (All of these wines are super-lovely, by the way!) To clear the path, we’re offering a final clearance on 2018 Mom’s and 2018 Zenith Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noirs – these gold medal winners are on sale, month of May, for $29, reduced $20 from their normal retail of $ 49.

Upcoming Events:

Bring Mom to Bluebird Hill Mother's Day Weekend. Bring a picnic or purchase picnic items through our tasting room. Mom's enjoy complimentary tasting all weekend.

Join us at the Taste of Tri-County & Business Expo! Whether you attend as an exhibitor or to explore local businesses while enjoying live music and great food & drink, you will have a fabulous time!

Join us at the Corvallis Wine Walk presented by the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Downtown Corvallis Retailers and some of Oregon's premier wineries.

Retailers throughout Downtown Corvallis will host Oregon wineries with representatives from each winery on hand to discuss their wines while offering samples of their finest vintages. Downtown businesses will provide delicious appetizers along with music and/or artwork by local artisans. Wine is also available for purchase by the bottle or case.

Join us for our Memorial Day Weekend Open House May 27 from 3-7 and May 28-30 from Noon to 5 . Taste our award winning current releases and enjoy our new releases: 2021 Pinot Gris, 2021 Duology White Wine Blend and our 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir. Tasting fee of $10-$25. Boss Hawgs Food Cart will be onsite all weekend. Stop in, spend some time, taste our award winning wines and enjoy our spectacular view of the Willamette Valley.

Wine Club members can stop by Bluebird Hill Cellars anytime June 4-5 or June 11-12, 2022 during tasting room hours to pick up their Wine Club allocation. We will have a complimentary food and wine pairing prepared exclusively for wine club members. Not a member of the club? We invite you to join our inner circle by becoming a member. As a wine club member, you'll receive exclusive benefits along with selections of our delicious wine to complement your meals, or for life's special moments when you sit down, relax, enjoy friends and a great glass of wine. Visit our website to join today.

We’re pouring at Crush On Oregon, a festive tasting of Oregon wines from around the state, and we’d love to see you there! We’ll be in Northwest Portland all day Sunday, June 5, at the beautiful Castaway Portland event space.

This is a fantastic opportunity to sample wines from more than 30 Oregon wineries all in one place, while enjoying locally-sourced bites from Northwest purveyors. Plus, many of us will have bottles available that you can purchase and take home with you, either to gift or to keep for yourself (or both!).

Choose between two tasting sessions—starting at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.—each lasting 2 ½ hours. Or, treat yourself to VIP status, which gives you early entry into the first session and a $10 voucher to use for food purchase at the event.

As a participating Crush On Oregon winery, we’re proud to help support the Oregon Food Bank. When you buy your tickets, you can also reserve a “Secret Crush” mystery 4-pack of wine and pick it up at the event. Supplies are limited, so don’t miss the opportunity to discover new bottles.

Get your tickets to Crush On Oregon today at and use our special promo code CrushOnBluebirdHill to take 10% off. Be sure to stop by our table and say hello!

Our 7th Annual Art on the Hill takes place Saturday and Sunday June 18 & 19, 2022 from noon to 5 pm outdoors in our beautiful vineyard. Come celebrate with local artists displaying and selling their handcrafted work. We will have a food cart onsite for the event and, of course, there will be Bluebird Hill Cellars' wine tastings and wine by the glass or bottle. Tasting fees vary

Participating artists:

Will be announced soon!

Experience a fun-filled evening sipping local samplings of Northwest wines, beer, spirits and cheese while strolling through boutique shops and other distinct venues in Downtown Salem.

Tickets are $30 and includes: 5 tickets to sample drinks, complimentary keepsake tasting glass, wristband and tasting map. Proceeds from this fundraiser support Garten programs and services. *Must be 21 years of age or older with valid ID to participate. Wristband required. Must show ID on night of event to receive wristband.

Oregon Mozart Players was founded in 1982 by a group of local professional musicians with two purposes: to perform the large repertoire of music for chamber orchestra and to share this music with the Eugene-Springfield community. As a result, the orchestra continues to present works written for small orchestras and intimate venues, allowing each instrument to be clearly heard. The mission of the Oregon Mozart Players is to enrich the lives of the audience, the players, and the community alike through the excellent performance and vigorous advocacy of chamber orchestra music.

SAVE THE DATE! Details to follow.

Sip on wine made by Cardwell Hill, Bluebird Hill, and Airlie, while shopping the wonderful creations of over 40 local artists! Enjoy live music, food trucks, and sunshine as you take in all the beauty the Willamette Valley has to offer.

Enjoy an afternoon stroll through Downtown Philomath tasting local WINE, BEER & SPIRITS! 3-7pm.

$20/person. Includes glass & 5 tasting tokens.

Pre-sale ticket information will be posted soon.

Day of event: tickets will go on sale at 2:30pm at the True Value Parking lot.

Join us for our sixth annual “Pinot on the Patio”, 5 - 8 pm Saturday, August 20, 2022. Pinot on the Patio is our flagship summer party event with a catered dinner and music by Craig Sorseth & Tom West- The HipBillys. They’re experienced performers and songwriters, having performed a wide variety of music styles such as Folk, Blues, Country, Classic Rock & Bluegrass in the Northwest for 40+ years. Their ‘Heartfelt Hipbillys’ music is popular in the local craft brewing, cider and winery circuits, and is best described as ‘Americana’. Ticket price is $40 - Advance tickets required. Tickets go on sale July 15, 2022. Your ticket price includes music and food. (GOLD Wine Club members receive four complimentary passes, SILVER Wine Club members receive two complimentary passes) We will be closing ticket sales at midnight August 14. Dinner TBD

Wine will be available for purchase by the glass or bottle.

Local Wine Club members can stop by Bluebird Hill Cellars anytime October 22-23 or 29-30, 2022 during tasting room hours to pick up their Wine Club allocation. There will be free Brats, Sauerkraut and potato salad for wine club members. We will also have a tasting flight of our Pre-Release wines available for wine club members only (Club members will also have the opportunity to purchase these wines before they are available to the public). We are are continuing to let club members choose which wines they would like to have in their allotment. Not a member of the club? We invite you to join our inner circle by becoming a member. As a wine club member, you'll receive exclusive benefits along with selections of our delicious wine to complement your meals, or for life's special moments when you sit down, relax, enjoy friends and a great glass of wine. Visit our website to join today. New for 2022: Wine Club Private Parties – Details to follow!

Keep your eyes peeled: 2022 Wine Dinners: We have been scouting a number of really nice venues for a set of Bluebird Hill wine dinners in 2022. Keep your eyes peeled, a few of these will be very limited seating events, and they will be first come, first served.

New retail locations

Look for Bluebird Hill Wines at the following new locations:

JC Market Thriftway

107 N Coast Hwy

Newport, OR 97365

Tasting Room hours through October

Reservations appreciated

​May through October:

Friday: 3-7; Sat/Sun: Noon – 5

Outdoors and seated tastings. Picnics welcome.

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 on the Hill in the near future!

Best always, Neil and Sue

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