Media Contact:                Carl Giavanti Consulting,, 971.221.4212


What Does It Take for a Small Family Winery To “Break Through”?

Youngberg Hill is a case study in overcoming distribution challenges and a crowded market

McMinnville, OR, May 31, 2018. It’s the 20-million dollar question on every small wine producer’s lips: how can I succeed in today’s global marketplace? When you’re too small for distributors to touch, you’re usually too small for the world to notice—no matter how good your wine is. But 15 years after its founding, Youngberg Hill has made it…selected to participate in both the 2018 International Pinot Noir Celebration and the 2018 Oregon Chardonnay Celebration, the winery has had to plant more vines and hire a full-time DTC manager to support demand. And owner/winemaker Wayne Bailey is here to tell the tale.

“The three biggest challenges facing small wine producers today are distribution, distribution, and distribution,” says Bailey. The majority of U.S. wine distributors that survived consolidation have little interest in small labels like Youngberg Hill that produce under 5000 cases per year. The little guys are on their own to handle sales and distribution in an ever-more crowded global marketplace—and also somehow still find time to manage their vineyards and make the wine.

Bailey’s winning formula is the powerful one-two punch of (1) strategic investments, and (2) persistent hard work. Seeing that direct-to-consumer sales was the only viable model for a winery like his, he embraced social media and email marketing, and invested early in professional public relations services to create a coherent brand identity and spread the word. He also cultivated a loyal following with ultra-personal tasting experiences at the Youngberg Hill estate in McMinnville, where he also operates a tasteful nine-room B&B and wedding/event space to help get his story and his wine in front of the maximum number of people. Then, he stuck to his guns.

Persistence paid off, and today the winery is on an amazing upward trajectory. Youngberg Hill was selected to participate in the invitation-only IPNC and Oregon Chardonnay Celebration events this year, and Bailey was named as one of Wine Industry Network’s most Inspiring People of North America for 2018. To meet the rising demand for his wines, Bailey is planting three more acres of grapes and hired Youngberg Hill’s first full-time DTC manager, Karyn Howard Smith, to ensure the consumer experience continues to grow and expand with the winery’s operations; this month she is introducing several new options for even more in-depth, personalized tastings at the estate. Youngberg Hill also now partners with the wine shop Taste on 23rd in Portland, to maintain a city presence and tasting experience.

“There’s a lot more to the story, of course,” says Bailey. And he’d be more than happy to tell it.

Contact Carl Giavanti for Media Kit, or to arrange phone interview or tour/tasting with Wayne.


Youngberg Hill boasts 23 acres of “seriously organic,” biodynamic, and LIVE-certified grapevines, and one of the best views in the Willamette Valley. The estate tasting room is open every day from 10 am to 4 pm. | Facebook | Twitter | 503-472-2727 | 10660 SW Youngberg Hill Road, McMinnville, OR 97128

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