Of course, our title this month is a shameless takeoff on The Bard of Avon’s masterpiece. But, the intent is more pure – here we are, nearly to the middle of winter, and want to keep everyone up to date on what is going on. Neil always maintains that February is one of his favorite months of the year, because you notice the short days of winter giving way to the longer daytimes of spring, but even now, four weeks post winter solstice, at the end of January, we are starting to see glimmers of longer daylight. Things may still appear to be sleepy, but stuff is happening nearly every day...
In the Winery:
We just completed our first annual BBH Chili Cook-off on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 21. All had a fun time, and surprisingly, for our first ever, we had ten friends of Bluebird Hill bring crockpots of their favorite chili recipes for judging and sharing. Everyone tasted all the chilis, and our judging team of Neal, Elyse, and Bret had near unanimous consent on their favorites! Our three medal winners, gold, silver, and bronze, were: Kim G. (Monroe) won the gold, Tom F. (Cheshire) won the silver, and Shelley P. (Monroe) won the bronze. Medal winners won gift certificates for Bluebird Hill tasting room merchandise. There was unanimous sentiment among attendees that the event is definitely worthy of a second-annual event in January 2019, so go ahead and pencil that in, a weekend or two before Superbowl in 2019, we’ll do it again!! Perhaps, January 28, 2019.....
The big news of the week, aside from chili, was receiving medals in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. For those of you not in the know, the SFCWC event is now America’s biggest wine judging event. More wines are sent to this competition than any other in the USA. In December, we sent in two wines, our 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot noir, and our (yummy) 2016 Chardonnay. Long story short, yummy indeed carried the day, and the ’16 Chard was awarded a GOLD, and the ’15 PN was awarded a bronze. So, two for two, and we are very, very pleased, to say the least!!
Upcoming: Bluebird Hill will be on the road, and we’re going to be pouring at the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival (February 22-25, 2018), and then the Savor Cannon Beach event, (March 8-11, 2018). PLEASE let us know if you might be attending, we’d love to see you at the event, or perhaps get together after one of the tastings for a more informal get together, or rendezvous for dinner!
We’ve also been out on the road locally, to find new venues for BBH wine. We’re now in new locations: wine stores in Corvallis (Wineopolis, 151 NW Monroe right off 1st street on the riverwalk), and Corvallis & Albany (Cork and Bottle Shoppe – 1875 NW 9th, Corvallis, and 1236 Pacific Blvd SE, Albany). Also, in Caves Bier and Kitchen (308 SW 3rd, Corvallis). We’re hoping to close the deal on other restaurant locations as well - watch this space, we will keep you posted!
Ok, so now the wine and grape purists are asking, what about the vines???? Well, great question, and this is what has been going on.....In the vineyard, we had a drier than average late December and early January, and shockingly, we were actually able to get out into the vineyard with the tractor and tiller, and we’ve been working the alleyways out in the vineyard, to try to develop more of a terraced look to the vineyard. This was also brought up in December’s blog post... This is not only a cosmetic and aesthetic improvement, but also a safety and management improvement – flat alleyways between the wine rows allow the tractor to ride more vertically, allowing us to ride and spray more efficiently and safely. We have talked about this before, when you stand at the bottom of the north block, which faces due west, you look up the hill, and see the rows, it looks almost like stadium bleachers, you can see the step-by-step increase in slope, row by row!
Pruning has been on-going, and new BBH addition Nick Cheatham has been taking the lead in this endeavor. As of today, we’re about 80-90% done with the pruning, both North and South block. We still have to take the pruned vines, and tie them down to the wires, so there is still a fair amount of work to do before bud break, but having Nick take on the pruning is a great thing. For those of you who know the details of vineyard pruning, we are considering switching from vertical shoot position pruning (VSP) to spur pruning. When you come out next time, we’ll walk out into the vineyard, and show you the two methods.
So now, for the remainder of the winter, we have no regular hours on weekends for the tasting room. However, with that said, remember, we are always available to host you and your friends, relatives, and coworkers in our tasting room by appointment. Just give us a call at (541) 424-2478, email or book online to set things up! Otherwise, try to rendezvous with us at Newport or Cannon Beach, and then after that, it will almost be spring opening! Our best to you, always...... Neil & Sue