We have two young women returning to Yamhill Valley Vineyards to help out with harvest, here is a unique insight into their childhoods growing up with frequent visits to the winery and vineyards. A big welcome to our newest vitners!
"As a child, coming to the vineyard was like a vacation from city life. With acres and acres of land to explore, we could spend all day running between vines as thick as our arms and stealing sour green grapes off of low-hanging clusters. We wasted entire late summer days looking for the grossest bugs under the deck or wading in the top of the fish pond, never worrying about tannins, sugar levels, picking dates, or the birds feasting on our grapes.
Since returning to the winery two and a half years ago, it has been interesting to see how much it has changed without really changing. Those vines aren’t just obstacles for our tag game; they are the foundation to producing ripe, juicy clusters of grapes. And those long sunny days that we loved because it was a day without rain are now days when you can almost hear the grapes getting riper and ready for harvest.
It has been so exciting and rewarding experiencing the winery through the process of making wine. Knowing that you helped produce a bottle of wine makes it taste so much better, and I can’t wait to start harvest again this year!"
"Growing up at the winery, the vineyard was our playground. My favorite memory has to be climbing the old windmill in the summertime. As kids, the hour-long drive from our home in Portland out to the winery seemed to take for-ev-er. By the time we pulled up to the tasting room we were antsy and ready to jump out of the car and run around. One place we always went was up to the old windmill. Together we would race up the hill, between the vines of Pinot Noir. The windmill was surrounded by big brambles of sharp, thorned Himalayan Blackberry that we had to carefully step over and through to get to the bottom of the ladder. Laura, being older, went first up the rickety ladder, rung by rung, until she could reach out to try and touch the few remaining blades of the old windmill. Up on the ladder you could see out around the whole vineyard, rows and rows of grape vines with Oak trees dotting the landscape. Being younger and much more of a scared-y cat, I rarely made it up all the way to touch the blades, or even look at the view for very long. I could only make it part way up before the wind would blow ever so slightly, but just enough to send me into a panic to climb back down and hop backwards across the blackberry brambles to the safety of solid ground.
Time after time and summer after summer, we always made the same trip up the hill to the old, wind-worn windmill. Often, we could make the climb multiple times a day, getting a rush out of the wobbly climb up the ladder and the look down from the top of the mill. Somehow getting older didn’t make climbing it any easier for me, maybe because we realized more and more how sketchy and unsafe the ladder is… But that was the fun of playing out at the winery; there was more risk and adventure in our games and activities. We got to be more independent and walk through the vines on our own, making up games and climbing sketchy windmills, things we couldn’t do at home in Portland.
Now when I climb up the hill and look at that old windmill…I wouldn’t dare try to climb it! Being back at the winery for crush, there is a whole host of new and exciting jobs and activities. I am so happy to be back here to be a part of harvest!"
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