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  • Writer's pictureNeil & Sue Shay

Thanksgiving Blessings

Greetings Friends!!

We are just trying to manage things, like everyone else in the USA, and we guess, around the whole wide world. We found out the end of last week, that all restaurants, bars and tasting rooms in the state were going to be shut down, on Wednesday November 18th, for perhaps two weeks, but maybe if things don’t improve, for longer… We will see what happens. In the meantime, we are still open for curbside pickup, for delivery to the Corvallis, Albany, Salem, and Eugene areas, and we plan to do at least one delivery to the Portland area, either just before, or just after Thanksgiving. Maybe another, just before Christmas.

For us, and for all wine tasting rooms in Oregon, it is a big blow to not be able to have our tasting rooms open for the pre- and post-Thanksgiving weekends. We know many friends, many families like to travel to their favorite wineries during these two weekends, taste good wine, and stock up for the holidays. We hope, if you are thinking about buying wine online, or at your local supermarket or other stores, that you would think about us and schedule a pickup, delivery, or shipment with us at Bluebird Hill!

Please review this checklist, and contact us if any of the following might be of interest:

___ You have missed your fall wine club pickup.

___ You want Bluebird Hill Cellars to help you ship wine to family and friends around the USA.

___ You would like to set up a virtual wine tasting for friends and/or family.

___ You would like some wine delivered to your home.

We have LOTS of wines available with great holiday sale pricing. We’ve got these listed at the end of this blog post. So check out these sale prices, they can be included in any pickup, delivery, or shipment.

Thanks for thinking of us, now, for the updates from the winery and vineyard:


Smoke update: We’ve had a lot of guests ask us about the impact of the smoke that settled into the valley in that first full week of September, right after Labor Day. We are pleased to report that just about all the 2020 wine we have now, in barrel and tank, is showing NO, or very minor indication of smoke taint. We are feeling fortunate, like we dodged a bullet. We also did some things differently to minimize the impact, if there would be any: first, we made a bit less Pinot noir, and used some of the PN harvest to make additional Rosé, and for us, a new wine, a white Pinot noir. This was done to make additional wine from juices pressed off on the day of harvest, getting rid of the skins immediately. With our Pinot noir, after fermentations were largely finished, we only kept our ‘free run’ wine, and did not press the remaining musts, thinking that if there was any smokiness in the skins, we wouldn’t want to collect any of that pressed wine. As we’ve explained to winery guests, the past six weeks, “We’d rather capture 80% of the wine we fermented be a higher quality wine, rather than capture all of it, and have all the wine carry smokey notes, from the fires. Our initial tastings of the 2020 barrels are telling us we made the right decision on this!

As we mentioned before, the grapes harvested in 2020 had a very rare balance of great sugar levels, and acidity, and we are very hopeful that the anguish of 2020 will be looked at down the road, with some great Pinot noirs from this year…

As we reported last month, just about all the grapes got picked, the very last bit of harvest was our estate Pinot gris, in the middle of October! A bit different this year, we decided to let the Gris hang as long as possible, to get sugar levels as high as possible, and we’re going to release this wine as a late harvest-style dessert wine.

All of the 2020 PN’s have been in barrel for quite a while, we’ve been monitoring malic acid levels in the wine, to verify completion of the ‘malolactic conversion’ (we have discussed this before in prior fall blog posts…). Just about all of our 2020 barrels are finished with this, and now tucked away into the barrel room, for routine batonnage for about six months.

Also, as we mentioned before, last week, we delivered a pallet of our 2017 Red Blend, to Cellar 503, in Portland. This was our largest single sale ever, in Bluebird Hill history. The Red Blend is a part of Cellar 503’s November Wine Club package.

Vineyard Update:

A good example of microclimate and terroir, after harvest this fall, we were able to enjoy many more weeks of watching the leaves on the vines turn yellow, and then orange, and then fall. We enjoyed this, because we noted that some other regional vineyards, at lower elevations than Bluebird Hill Vineyard, suffered early frosts and lost their leaves almost a month earlier! Week by week, with some reasonably dry fall weather, we mowed the vineyard rows week by week, to mulch whatever leaves had fallen. We’re now at a point, right before Thanksgiving, that all the leaves are off the vines, and we’ve done three or four rounds of mowing, just about all the leaves have been mulched. The vineyard alleyways are clean, and the grasses and wildflowers in the alleyways are looking pretty green right now…

Over the winter, we’re going to spread a little bit of fertilizer and/or compost in the vineyard. We feel like we have established good vineyard practices, soil sampling is showing us were in good ranges for both soil nutrient levels and proper soil acidity levels, for grape growing.

Probably, our vineyard pruning will not commence until after New Years Day. Our vineyard has about 5,500 vines, we are ordering about forty more vines, to fill in a few empty spots. These will get planted in May, 2021.


Shipping special: $10 shipping on orders of 3 bottles or more Curbside pickup and local delivery available Pinot Pack: ($179 Retail, now $149) ¨ 2018 Flagship PN $32 ¨ 2017 Willamette Valley Reserve PN $49 ¨ 2017 Barrel Select PN $49 ¨ 2018 Mom’s Reserve Pinot Noir $49 Rosé by the case (12 bottles/case) ¨ 25% off Bluebird Hill Cellars Library Wine Gift Sets Pinot Noir Vertical ($246 Retail, now $199) ¨ 2017 Estate Reserve PN—3 Golds; 92 points JS $64 ¨ 2016 Zenith Vineyard Reserve PN—91 points PinotFile $64 ¨ 2015 Barrel Select Reserve PN $59 ¨ 2014 Barrel Select Reserve PN $59 Chardonnay Vertical ($169 Retail, now $149) ¨ 2018 Chardonnay—91 Points/Editors Choice WE $32 ¨ 2017 Chardonnay—Gold & Double Gold;93 points PinotFile $49 ¨ 2016 Chardonnay—4 Golds $49 ¨ 2015 Chardonnay $39 2014 & 2015 Barrel Select Reserve PN ($118 Retail, now $99) 2016 & 2017 Chardonnay ($98 Retail, now $79)


Virtual Happy Hour

Friday 11/27, 12/4, 11, & 18 at 3 PM PST

One hour virtual guided tasting led by owners/winemakers,

Neil and Sue Shay via Zoom.

Wine data sheets and tasting sheets will be provided for the session.

Taste three wines:

2018 Chardonnay $32

2019 Rose of Pinot Noir $22

2017 Pinot Noir $32

Sale price $79 (curbside pickup) $99 (shipped)


Three part series:

Thursday 12/3, 10, & 17 at 3 PM PST

One hour, three part virtual guided tasting and travelogue led by owners/winemakers, Neil and Sue Shay via Zoom. Virtually visit Lisbon, the cork harvest, the cork-making process, and the port wine capital of the world, Porto, Portugal. Wine data sheets and tasting sheets will be provided for the session. Taste two wines on each call.

Taste six wines:


2019 Pinot Gris $22 2017 Pinot Noir $32


2018 Chardonnay $32 2017 Barrel Select Pinot Noir $49


2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir $22 2018 Mom’s Reserve Pinot Noir $49

Sale price $179 (curbside pickup) $199 (shipped)

Contact us at (541) 424-2478 or

to sign up for these Virtual events.

Virtual Happy Hour

**We are taking appointments for custom virtual family and friend tastings for November and December. Reserve a date and time now, and work with us to create a special event for your family and friends. 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 that you all have the best possible Thanksgiving! Best always, Neil and Sue

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