Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means.®

Welcome to the Amalie Robert Estate Farming Blog, aka FLOG. By subscribing, you will receive regular FLOGGINGS throughout the growing season. The FLOGGING will begin with the Spring Cellar Report in April. FLOGGINGS will continue each month and detail how the vintage is shaping up. You may also be FLOGGED directly after the big Cluster Pluck with the yearly Harvest After Action Report. Subscribe now and let the FLOGGINGS begin!


"This is one of the Willamette Valley’s most distinguished wineries, but not one that is widely known."

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016


"Dena Drews and Ernie Pink have been quietly producing some of Oregon's most elegant and perfumed Pinots since the 2004 vintage. Their 30-acre vineyard outside the town of Dallas, abutting the famed Freedom Hill vineyard where Drews and Pink live, is painstakingly farmed and yields are kept low so production of these wines is limited. Winemaking includes abundant use of whole clusters, which is no doubt responsible for the wines' exotic bouquets and sneaky structure…"

- Josh Raynolds, Vinous - October 2015


"...Dallas growers Dena Drews and Ernie Pink... showed me this July three of their reserve bottlings and thereby altered my perception of their endeavors. Since these are produced in only one- or two-barrel quantities, they offer an extreme instance of a phenomenon encountered at numerous Willamette addresses, whose really exciting releases are extremely limited. But they also testify, importantly, to what is possible; and what’s possible from this site in these hands revealed itself to be extraordinary!... And what a Syrah!"

- David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate - October 2013

Wine & Spirits

"Finding that their whole-cluster tannins take some time to integrate, Pink and Drews hold their wines in barrel for up to 18 months - so Amalie Robert is just releasing its 2008s. And what a stellar group of wines: Bright and tart, they possess both transparency and substance, emphasizing notes of rosehips and sandalwood as much as red berries. The pinot noirs alone would likely have earned Amalie Robert a top 100 nod this year. But the winery also produces cool-climate syrah that rivals the best examples from the Sonoma Coast. And the 2009 Heirloom Cameo, their first attempt at a barrel-fermented chardonnay, turned out to be one of our favorite Oregon chardonnays of the year. Ten vintages in, Amalie Robert has hit its stride."

- Luke Sykora, Wine & Spirits Magazine – September 2011


© 2005 – 2017 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate: 2019 Happy Holidays!

As the season turns to friends and family, we would like to extend to you our warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year. We would also like to take this opportunity to welcome new friends to the Amalie Robert Estate FLOG

The 5th of the month and the repeal of Prohibition!

The 5th of the month has more significance than Ernie was previously aware. A thirst for knowledge and a little research has greatly expanded his appreciation for the 5th of the month.

January through March is a write-off. We are just too busy working to be bothered. However, for some the 5th of the month is payday.

April 5th is a day we wake up and realize the government is about to get more of our money than ever before. However, we owe ourselves about $23.1 trillion (up from about $21.8 trillion last year), that's just about $69,923 (up from about $66,242 last year) per person living in the United States, and $186,948 per taxpayer. Hmmm, back to work. You can check our progress from time to time right here.

As you well know, the holiday Cinco De Mayo is a celebration on the 5th day of the 5th month. The purpose of which is to celebrate the victory by the Mexican Army over the French Army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Of course, and as always, there is more to the story. Here is a link with more details.

We transition right to June 5th. This date is very significant to Ernie, as it is Dena’s birthday! As many of you know, Dena’s middle name is Amalie and is the palate defining Amalie’s Cuvée.

July 5th is the day we would have declared our Independence, however as Americans, we just couldn’t wait. Somewhat like opening a gift, or maybe two, on Christmas Eve.

August 4th, 2011, again we couldn’t wait, is the first time the US debt exceeded 100% of our Gross Domestic Product - GDP (Gosh Darn Politicians).

However, August 5th brings little pink berries to our Pinot Noir vines. Ernie likes this, a lot!

September 5th is significant to all children and especially their parents. It usually is about the time the children are going back to school.

October 5th usually finds us in the middle of harvest. Due to the protracted nature of harvesting and fermenting Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier and now that little rascal Gewürztraminer, Ernie has dubbed the 10th and 11th months to be “Octo-vem-BIER.”

On December 5th we find ourselves at the end of the calendar. 2019 marks the 86th year of the repeal of the social engineering experiment known as Prohibition.

On January 16th, 1919, the United States Congress passed the Volstead Act. The Volstead Act was passed to provide enforcement of the 18th amendment to the Constitution of the United States, aka Prohibition. This marked the beginning of Prohibition. We wonder what Congress’s approval rating was that year.

This is an excerpt of section 1 of the 18th amendment:

“…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

During the following 13 years, the people of the United States bore witness to the effects of Prohibition. Further, they were able to compare the politicians’ promises and pontifications to the experiences in their own daily lives - aka The Real World. This phenomenon has persisted in each and every congress since and can lead to the malady known as cognitive dissonance. Ernie calls it “Negotiated Reality”.

It was in 1929 that a curious little product was invented and granted trademark protection. Ernie may be deviating from his factual discourse here, but perhaps this product was used in reference to the politicians of the day who could not tell the difference between a good idea and Prohibition. Sometimes it is hard to tell fact from fiction, sometimes not. The product was a shoe wax called Shinola. Now they make watches.

Winegrowers of the time were a hearty breed, they had to be. The manufacture, distribution and sale (including export offshore) of alcohol was illegal. If your livelihood depended on growing some 100 tons of grapes and selling the fermented juice, you were out of business (and so was your labor force), or so the politicians thought.

Now, let us introduce the law of Supply and Demand. (Note: Much like gravity this is a law not subject to political pressure.) Despite a small minority trying to legislate morality on the entire citizenry, the American public sought to exercise their rights as citizens living in a free country. After all, that’s why they were here.

It turns out that many people had unexplained illnesses during those 13 years. In visiting their family physicians, it seemed the most cost effective treatment was the prescription of alcohol, wine in most cases, for medicinal purposes. One thing often leads to another and new upstart health clinics quietly appeared. Called speakeasies, these outpatient clinics provided a wide variety of treatments for whatever may be ailing you. Lead poisoning, while not common, was a serious health risk. The health care industry in this country is a very curious thing.

Even today, the debate continues over the health benefits of alcohol, red wine in particular and Pinot Noir specifically, for the high content of Resveratrol. You can learn more about Resveratrol here. Or NASCAR, which is the natural evolution of a rapid delivery system that kept the formularies of the day fully stocked - much to the chagrin of the treasury agents.

We now come to the presidential election of 1932. FDR, as he was known, achieved many things. The most wide sweeping change affected nearly everyone in the United States and for generations to come, including several of our foreign trading partners. Recall, the importation of Canadian, Irish and Scotch whisky was also illegal. As an aside, Ernie’s time in Ireland taught him that the Scot’s never acknowledged Prohibition and they kept the pipeline open.

On December 5th, 1933, the 21st amendment was ratified by the United States Congress. In what may be the most effective and efficient legislation known to this great country, here is Section 1 in its entirety:

“Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.”

We see here that sweeping changes in legislation, or repeal of them, may be difficult, but certainty not impossible.

As you enjoy the holiday season, please take a moment to reflect on your constitutional right to grow, produce, blend, bottle, sell/purchase and consume wine, especially Pinot Noir!

When the time is right, please enjoy our wines with friends, food and in moderation.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2019 Harvest After Action Report - The Great Cluster Pluck

Vintage 2019 Harvest After Action Report – The Great Cluster Pluck 
Hello and Welcome, 
This is the @AmalieRobert Harvest After Action Report. A FLOG Communication.

Vintage 2019 will be remembered as the vintage that wasn’t ready, until it was – all of it – all at once. Yes, there was the typical atypical rain, as there always is in September. Good canopy management during the growing season is the preventive cure for that. But Botrytis will not be denied, and the clock started ticking with a pretty big shot of rain on the 10th of September. A little too much of a good thing with many returns to finish the month of September with 2.72 inches of rain.

To put this in perspective, August registered 0.11 inches of rain, and we received no measurable precipitation whatsoever during the first 15 days of October. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s known as the sweet spot of harvest. If you could hold out that long. And we did.

And so October, which is the first half of Okto-vember, made its way into the decision matrix. Hmm, that’s a pretty nice block of Chardonnay you got there. Why are the wine berries turning purple? And that is how you know Botrytis had caught up to The Great Cluster Pluck of 2019.

A little Botrytis is ok, kinda nice in Chardonnay actually. But that is your nudge that it’s time to bring it in. Despite your best canopy management efforts, the Chardonnay wine berry is highly susceptible to the wayward advances of Botrytis. And since it was now Okto-vember, more Botrytis encouraging rain was most surely on the way – but it wasn’t.

It was Okto-vember 1st at first light, when Ernie lit up tractors and we rolled up on block 24 from the south. The morning air was cool, with a little breeze and dry conditions prevailed as we Cluster Plucked our Dijon Clone Chardonnay. And that is when we verified another mystery of Vintage 2019 - a light fruit set. And at the end of that morning it was confirmed that Vintage 2019 was going to be low yield. Except for the Gewürztraminer, of course. A few more vines were bearing this year, so our yield almost doubled. Ernie still fermented it in “small, open top fermenters” (aka buckets), but he is up to about 5 cases worth now…

And by the end of that first week of Okto-vember our operation was up and rolling with Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir coming on. The September rains were a distant memory. Clear blue skies, a light breeze and cool nights were on tap for the next two weeks. The weather provided a most perfect opportunity to finish ripening our wine berries. For which we took full advantage – 8 days a week.

The Great Cluster Pluck of 2019 was on, and we were on it! We had daylight burning and Bird Gards squealing. The Cluster Pluckers arrived before dawn and set out their buckets and punch cards. Our production is entirely estate grown fruit and the clusters are all plucked by hand. Into the buckets they go at about 20 pounds per each and then into the harvest bins. Snap on the lids to deny Vespula germanica any of our prized booty, and off to the winery we go.

Rinse and repeat, and don’t forget to eat. The clear skies and dry conditions continued, and Okto-vember provided exactly the hang time conditions we needed to accentuate our aromas and flavors while keeping Botrytis in check. However, this fortuitous set of ripening conditions did not escape the opportunistic attention of those Flocking Birds. While not everyone could hold out as long as we did, the fruit quality was oh soooo worth the wait.

And there was not a lot of waiting to be had. The Great Cluster Pluck 2019 started on Okto- vember 1st and concluded on Octo-vember 15th. Everyday was full on, and we modified the work calendar to make more time. We added a day to each week of The Great Cluster Pluck 2019 by combining Saturday and Sunday into a single day. We would wake up on Saturday morning, but when we went to bed that was our Sunday night. The next day, which we have not yet named, was an extra work day! That’s 8 days a week! Ernie is a numbers guy and a calendar is just a mathematical construct. Not too big of a lift really, when you consider the legitimacy of daylight savings time.

Now, since you are there reading this instead of being here helping us, you probably do not know that we sort all of our wine berries twice. Our first sort is in the vineyard as the wine berries make their way into the harvest bins. That is when our nemesis Botrytis is dealt with. Yep, we sort that out right up front. And then in the winery, we have another look see. Any wine berries that are compromised are destined for the compost pile. But there aren’t so many of those as we do a really good job of canopy management during the growing season and sort at the harvest bin. What’s left for the fermenters is the duck’s nuts. Or the bee’s knees, if you prefer.

There’s a lot that goes into it, growing wine. But at the end of the day, we are just going to bring in those pristine wine berries and ferment the sugar out of them. And after that we are going to convert their malic acid to lactic acid. We have a bacteria for that. Then its off to a toasty oak barrel for some well deserved élevage. Of course, most folks are unaware of these things. But by the time the wine makes it to your elegant stemware, you are enveloped in the bliss of our viticultural prowess and oenological stewardship. And maybe some marketing along the way. At least that’s what we are shooting for.

The Great Cluster Pluck of 2019 proceeded undaunted amid the continual harassment of those Flocking Birds. Everyone knows who they are. Robins and starlings gather in trees and fly to pluck a wine berry then return to the safety of the forest’s edge. Ernie has counter measures called Bird Gards, but this year the birds were voracious. The last resort is to deploy the nets. This was especially important for the Syrah which was the beneficiary of our excellent hangtime weather up until it’s final day of ripening, Okto-vember 37th.

Our indigenous species of raptors seemed to be off on holiday or were simply molting. And without this air support, the Flocking Birds demonstrated air superiority early on. But as we were cluster plucking the last of the Pinot Noir clusters to be plucked on Okto-vember 15th (a Tuesday), the raptors returned. Red tail hawks are the “Constitution Class” of the raptors and define air superiority. The next best raptors to have in the avian theater are the Cooper’s hawk and the sharp shinned hawk. These are forest hunters and their aviary skill is equally at home among the vineyard canopy. The Syrah and Viognier had the good fortune to finish ripening under the hawkish eyes of these Amalie Robert Estate raptors. Don’t pay too much attention to the robin and starling carcasses littered around the vineyard. That is evidence of a healthy ecosystem.

Causation, correlation or coincidence? An exercise in climatically predictive wine quality. What we present to you here at this time, in this space, is what happened during the growing season. While that will have an impact on the quality of the vintage, it is much like evaluating the size of one’s wand. Where in fact what we are more concerned with is the magic in it. And more to the point, when that magic is ready to be presented and consumed. Perhaps, in the case of Pinot Noir, a better title would be “Bewitched, bothered and bewildered.”

Vintage 2019 was really a pretty nice vintage. Not too hot and a clean break from the arid conditions of the last several vintages. But not too cool, more of a 2007 mixed with 2008, and certainly warmer than 2011. Slow and steady ripening with a shot of rain just before harvest. Statistically more rain in September than most vintages, but not an overall significant factor @AmalieRobert Estate. Once again, this vintage is a grower’s vintage. When your winemaker wears the winegrower’s hat, it is always a grower’s vintage.

Vineyard labor is a lesson in economics. Good old supply and demand is alive and well. The supply is fairly fixed, but the agricultural demand continues to expand. And except for hedging, there is little vineyard mechanization to be had. That means virtually all of our canopy management is performed by, and the biggest chunk of the vineyard budget goes to, skilled vineyard labor.

Good canopy management demands timeliness, focus and attention to detail. The best weather conditions in world will not save you from untimely or poor quality vineyard work. The condition of the vineyard canopy, and the wine berries in it, during mid-September has a substantial impact on when to Cluster Pluck. And that in turn reveals more about the quality of the vintage than any Degree Day summation or growing season rainfall. Yet as humans, we are fixated on quantitative measures to compare and contrast. They help us comprehend the seemingly unending factors that culminate in a glass of wine.

Aromas and flavors develop on the vine over time. Sugar accumulation (alcohol potential) is a response to heat. As long as the vintage does not accumulate excessive heat (Degree Days), the longer the wine berries are on the vine, the more aromas and flavors are available to be captured during fermentation. While the presence of Botrytis can be an indicator that it is time to start Cluster Plucking, excessive sugar accumulation tells you it’s time to finish it up, right farming now.

This is why Syrah hangs until early November at @AmalieRobert Estate. Each and every day we are increasing the intensity of available aromas and flavors. Thanks to a cool climate, Syrah sugar accumulation is kept in check and the wines normally vacillate around 13% alcohol.

Deciding to Cluster Pluck because you believe the aroma and flavor profile of the wine berries is going to make the style of wine you like is the goal. Having spent the entire growing season focused on canopy management, positioning shoots, thinning and performing other timely vineyard tasks helps to ensure that when the rains do arrive, the canopy, and the wine berries in it, will take some rain and continue to ripen aromas and flavors without significant rot.

Or not. After that shot of rain in early September, some folks discovered their Cluster Pluck schedule would more be determined by the advancing rate of rot than by aroma and flavor development. There is little if any remedial action that can be taken at this point of discovery. This is not the goal. And it should not be a surprise to anyone that September brings rain to the Willamette Valley.

And how do we know this, you may ask? We saw it first hand in our Chardonnay. But that is Chardonnay and it is to be expected. Unfortunate, but not uncommon. The key there is to take the fruit before Botrytis spreads and can compromise the wine. We have been there and had that done to us with Typhoon Pabuk in 2013. The remainder of the vineyard however, and more to the point is that the Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, was rock solid. And we heard a fair bit about it from our harvest crews.

Harvest crews represent an informal information network of how the vintage is progressing. They go where the work is and see hundreds if not thousands of acres of vines. They will tell you where they have been and what they have seen. Time and again we were told how our wine berries were the cleanest they had seen. And they kept coming back to help us. This is an important indicator, as Cluster Plucking around rotted fruit is less financially rewarding.

Why are we telling you this? As a climatic predicator of wine quality, we are trying to point out that harvest dates provide clues. How were those wine berries farmed all summer? What was their condition after the rains? Did you harvest because you wanted to or because you had to? Being able to handle some challenging weather conditions and let your wine berries hang through to develop aroma and flavor ripeness is a strong predictor of wine quality. The amount of Rosé produced might be another indicator of vintage quality.

Now the numbers, which honestly do have some meaning and relevance. While not a predictor of wine quality per se, they do provide a comparison to previous vintages and a historic continuum that can be the basis for debate. As we assess the vintage growing conditions, it is important to bear in mind that our ability to measure far exceeds our ability to comprehend the effects of what is measured.

Let’s start with the Heffalump in the room that joined us in September. There were three appearances spread throughout the month. The first was around the 10th which gifted us 0.68 inches of rainfall. Next up was around the 18th with another 0.97 inches of rainfall, and again on the 20th with 0.42 inches. And lastly around the 30th with 0.55 inches of rainfall. September total was 2.72 inches of rainfall. Squish, Squish, Squish… Not too bad if you are a duck, you know.

But then it was dry during the @AmalieRobert Estate Cluster Pluck vintage 2019 until the 16th of October when about 0.96 inches of rainfall came rolling in. Not to be outdone, the 21st brought in another 1.63 inches of rainfall. That was a soaker. And then again dry all the way through November 6th when we Cluster Plucked the Syrah and Viognier. October total was 2.59 inches of rainfall. The 2019 growing season total April through October was 13.78 inches. And in preparation for next Spring, we can expect about 30 inches of rain between now and then.

Degree Days (aka heat units or heat accumulation) help provide an understanding of how the vine was able to ripen its wine berries within the constraint of available heat during the vintage. Matching heat accumulation to harvest date ties it all together. We track our readings every 20 minutes, so we have a pretty good idea what the vines are going through. Daytime highs, nighttime lows and the diurnal shift also tell the tale of ripening during the last few weeks before harvest.

While the growing season total is handy for multiple vintage comparisons, a detailed monthly view is more useful in understanding the character of the vintage and is an exercise left to the reader.

Coming into the home stretch of Vintage 2019, September registered 316.5 Degree Days, providing a growing season total of 2,220.2. The first half of the month recorded 195.0 Degree Days and the second half of the month recorded 121.5. The high temperature was 92.8 degrees Fahrenheit recorded on September 5th at 4:36 pm and the low temperature was 37.2 recorded on September 28th at 3:00 am.

Now the sweet spot of Vintage 2019 was the first half of October where we recorded another 55.0 Degree Days, and not a drop of rainfall to be had. The high temperature was 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit recorded on the 7th at 5:00 pm and the low temperature was 31.6 recorded on the 9th at 7:36 am. Heat accumulation through the middle of October was 2,275.2 Degree Days and that concluded the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019 – except the Syrah and Viognier.

The second half of October brought another 46.7 Degree Days for a monthly total of 101.7 and a growing season total of 2,321.9. The high temperature was 72.3 6 degrees Fahrenheit recorded on the 22nd and the low temperature of 24.6 recorded on the 31st at 7:00 am. That‘s frickin’ cold!

The Great Cluster Pluck 2019 was officially completed November 6th, 2019 with the Syrah and Viognier. We accumulated an additional 11.8 Degree Days through the 6th of November with a high temperature of 66.6 degrees Fahrenheit recorded on the 3rd at 2:00 pm and a low temperature of 32.9 recorded the same morning. This represents a one day diurnal shift of 33.7 degrees. Total Vintage 2019 Degree Days stand at 2,333.7

While most of the Willamette Valley experienced similar conditions, within a standard deviation or two, the cipher to understanding Vintage 2019 will most likely be harvest date. A sloppy September gave way to an ethereal October. If you were a Rhône Head, you were riding the temperate weeks into November. And at a harvest brix of 24.0, you were feeling pretty good about that.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

Monday, November 4, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate Portfolio Focus: Pinot Meunier - 2018 Vintage Just Released!

Hello and Welcome,

This is a portfolio focus on Pinot Meunier from @AmalieRobert Estate. A FLOG Communication

Pinot Meunier, the hidden gem of Champagne, is the subject of our Portfolio Focus. Most prominently, Pinot Meunier is one of three grapes grown in Champagne, along with Chardonnay and assemblagePinot Noir, to make the region’s most interesting wines. While rarely a single variety bottling, and never included in a Blanc de Blanc, Pinot Meunier is, of course, often part of the final

And while Dena does have a verifiable addiction to Champagne (we produce the Bellpine Pearl – more on that in a bit) we choose to vinify Pinot Meunier as a still red wine. But never that much of it. Our half acre of vines from Block 1 usually produces 3 to 4 barrels of wine and that’s it for the whole year, for the whole country and Hawai’i too!

Oh, and let’s cover the pronunciation, it’s a French thing. Pinot Meunier (Pee-no MUH-n’yay) 'Meunier' means 'miller' in English. The miller is the guy grinding grain into flour. The vine has this name because the clusters are small and pinecone shaped like Pinot Noir, but the leaves have the appearance of a dusting of flour, hence the name miller or Meunier.

In neighboring Austria Pinot Meunier is known as the Miller’s Burgundy. Also, the feminine form is 'meunière', which you may have seen on a menu. White fish such as sole is dredged in flour, pan fried in butter and served with the pan drippings, parsley and lemon. Voilà, sole meunière!

Pinot Meunier wine, however, is our Portfolio Focus. For those of you who love the transparency of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier will absolutely drive you wild! As a close cousin, or parent of Pinot Noir, the wine’s color is often as light or even lighter and brighter than Pinot Noir. That is the natural color of the wine and we celebrate it!

From a winemaking point of view, our goal is to showcase the elegance and purity of Pinot Meunier and present it as a young wine. We ferment with indigenous yeast and without any stem inclusion so as not to introduce harsh stem tannins that will take years to evolve. We barrel mature in old, neutral French oak, more of a holding vessel than to influence the aroma, flavor or texture with toasty new oak. The wine is bottled within a year of harvest unfined and unfiltered. It can be considered vegan.

Now, if we have done our job right in the vineyard and winery, the aromas of ripe red raspberries and rose petals should be prominent. Just as pretty as the day is long. On the first sip, the wine is lithe and juicy, colonizing your palate by stimulating all the unsatiated nooks and crannies. And while this is all proper and pleasant, the reason Pinot Meunier is a Champagne grape is about to be revealed. The wine’s finish is a crescendo of firm tannin and punctuating acidity, stimulating the senses and looking for a perfect pairing. It could be with you!

Here at the vineyard, Pinot Meunier finds a good home with salmon, a charcuterie board, warm duck confit topped salad, or maybe just about a quarter to 5 on a Friday night. Pinot Meunier, alone and unafraid, brought to you by Block 1.

And what about the Bellpine Pearl? Ernie made a deal with Dena that we would not produce sparkling wine, but instead would focus on making excellent Pinot Meunier red wine. And if that worked out Ernie would buy Dena Champagne. Rosé Champagne to be specific and Pinot Meunier Rosé Champagne if it could be found domestically. Or maybe a weekend shopping spree in Paris would suffice.

Right. So, a couple years back our 2016 Pinot Meunier earned the highest review ever for an Oregon Pinot Meunier at 92 points from @VinousMedia - these are people who know good wine. Dena called in her marker and Ernie went shopping for Champagne, Pinot Meunier Rosé Champagne to be specific. And that was the day the Bellpine Pearl took conceptual form.

Simply put, the Bellpine Pearl is a Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir still wine. It is made from the early harvest of the wings of both the Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir clusters. If the planets ever align and the moon is right, there could be a secondary fermentation leading to sparkling wine. But not yet.

The Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir grapes are separately, very gently, whole berry pressed with very little skin contact time. The free run juice is then combined and co-fermented to dryness in stainless steel. We bottle very soon after fermentation to capture as much of the carbon dioxide in the wine as possible.

While the wine is not effervescent it does take some time to integrate. Much like Champagne, carbon dioxide then takes on the role of stewardship as the wine slowly unwinds through bottle maturation until eventually the carbon dioxide is fully depleted.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

About Amalie Robert Estate:
It was the spring of 1999 when we happened upon Bob and his Montmorency cherry orchard. We had been studying soils and climate in the Willamette Valley and doing our level best to evaluate as many wines as we could. It didn’t take too long before Ernie said, “Bob, I got here too late. You have your cherry orchard sitting on top of my vineyard.”

We chose the Willamette Valley because it was the last best place on the planet to grow Pinot Noir. All of the other planets had one issue or another - soils, climate or the proximity to established markets were some of the most significant drawbacks.

And so it began. April of 1999 is when we became cherry growers for just long enough to bring in the harvest. From there on out, our singular focus was to develop our 60 acre property into a world class vineyard and traditional winemaking operation that we would own and operate ourselves.

The benefit of starting with a cherry orchard is that you are not buying someone else’s vineyard and their deeply rooted mistakes. You have the opportunity to make your own mistakes - and learn from them. From those humble beginnings we decided on our own rootstocks, vineyard spacing, trellis design, varieties of wines to grow and their specific clones. We learned how to farm wine to showcase the inherent qualities of our vineyard. We had help from some great and patient mentors including Bruce Weber, Dick Erath, Mike Etzel, Steve Doerner, and many, many others.

When it came time to design the winery, we only wanted to build one, so we found the best architect with the most experience in the Willamette Valley and that was Ernie Munch. Aside from the aesthetics and site placement, the guiding principle was gravity flow. Our crown jewel is the 1,200 tons of below grade concrete that maintains our naturally climate conditioned barrel cellar and the 500 or so barrels entrusted to mature our wines.

And what about the name? Amalie Robert is a combination of Dena's middle name, “Amalie” (pronounced AIM-a-lee) and Ernie's, “Robert.” We are them.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate Portfolio Focus: Oregon Chardonnay

Hello and Welcome, 
This is a portfolio focus on Oregon Chardonnay from @AmalieRobert Estate. A FLOG Communication
Today our focus is Chardonnay, the white wine of Burgundy and the most popular white wine on the planet. From a scintillating stainless steel fermentation to the sublime BFC, Chardonnay holds a special place in the cool climate viticulture of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

And at @AmalieRobert Estate, we grow our own. We planted Chardonnay as part of our first plantings back at the turn of the century. Thanks to the efforts of David Adelsheim and a few other like minded souls (who were responsible for bringing the Dijon clones to Oregon from Burgundy), we had the opportunity to plant the (new to Oregon) Dijon clones of Chardonnay.

And we did just that. We chose Dijon clone 76 and 95. Ernie had the foresight and good fortune (aka luck) to choose the ideal rootstock for our sustainably, dry farmed site and that was the deep rooting 5C. Being somewhat densely planted at 1,452 vines per acre, we wanted more than a little root competition at the surface. We wanted deep roots to colonize the soil and find soil moisture to carry us through each vintage to full ripeness.

At harvest time, we pick both clones at the same time. There are only 11 rows and they are conveniently located one right after the other. In the winery, we whole cluster press the wine berries and settle the juice overnight. While crushing the grapes will give more yield, whole cluster pressing helps preserve the natural acidity. Here is an example of less juice being higher quality juice. And for us, that’s what it’s all about.

Our first endeavor into the world of Chardonnay was Her Silhouette stainless steel fermented Chardonnay. We took the extra step of blocking the malic to lactic acid conversion to retain a crisp, acid driven finish. Oregon Chardonnay without acid? Come on, what’s the point?

And then after a few vintages, we said Hmmm. “What do you think of whole cluster pressing those wine berries, putting them in a large format barrel and fermenting the sugar out of them? And we can go all the way through the malic to lactic acid conversion!”

As Bill Gates used to say, “Go big or go home,” so we went big with a new 500 liter puncheon. 2.2 times the volume of a regular Burgundy barrel. (We buy a new one every vintage.) And here is why.

To make the most sublime Barrel Fermented Chardonnay we learned the old school way. Ferment in a big barrel and leave it there for 16 months to let the spent yeast lees impart richness back into the wine. Don’t stir it and most certainly NEVER, EVER top off that sole puncheon with Pinot Noir! So we don’t and we haven’t yet. Our first vintage of the Heirloom Cameo Chardonnay was 2009.

As summer turns to fall and there is a crispness in the air, your thoughts may turn to a cool climate Chardonnay, say maybe from Oregon. The wine is good and it is a real category, becoming quite popular now.

If you fancy the crisp and clean Chablis style wine, perhaps the Her Silhouette would be the right choice. Or if you are more inclined to an elegant, barrel fermented, Chassagne-Montrachet experience, take a look at the Heirloom Cameo BFC. The allure of a classically vinified and barrel matured Chardonnay has a very strong appeal.

If you would like to experience these wines vicariously, please follow these links to view their respective sales sheets.

Or even better yet, contact your sales representative for local availability, pricing and to set up a tasting appointment. We understand that you have a virtually endless sea of choices in the world of wine and appreciate your consideration of our brand.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

About Amalie Robert Estate:

It was the spring of 1999 when we happened upon Bob and his Montmorency cherry orchard. We had been studying soils and climate in the Willamette Valley and doing our level best to evaluate as many wines as we could. It didn’t take too long before Ernie said, “Bob, I got here too late. You have your cherry orchard sitting on top of my vineyard.”

We chose the Willamette Valley because it was the last best place on the planet to grow Pinot Noir. All of the other planets had one issue or another - soils, climate or the proximity to established markets were some of the most significant drawbacks.

And so it began. April of 1999 is when we became cherry growers for just long enough to bring in the harvest. From there on out, our singular focus was to develop our 60 acre property into a world class vineyard and traditional winemaking operation that we would own and operate ourselves.

The benefit of starting with a cherry orchard is that you are not buying someone else’s vineyard and their deeply rooted mistakes. You have the opportunity to make your own mistakes - and learn from them. From those humble beginnings we decided on our own rootstocks, vineyard spacing, trellis design, varieties of wines to grow and their specific clones. We learned how to farm wine to showcase the inherent qualities of our vineyard. We had help from some great and patient mentors including Bruce Weber, Dick Erath, Mike Etzel, Steve Doerner, and many, many others.

When it came time to design the winery, we only wanted to build one, so we found the best architect with the most experience in the Willamette Valley and that was Ernie Munch. Aside from the aesthetics and site placement, the guiding principle was gravity flow. Our crown jewel is the 1,200 tons of below grade concrete that maintains our naturally climate conditioned barrel cellar and the 500 or so barrels entrusted to mature our wines.

And what about the name? Amalie Robert is a combination of Dena's middle name, “Amalie” (pronounced AIM-a-lee) and Ernie's, “Robert.” We are them.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: August 2019

Hello and Welcome, 
The is the Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: August 2019. A FLOG Communication from @AmalieRobert Estate. 
We apologize for the belated FLOG'ing as we have been set upon by the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019! 

Ah, the AUG FLOG. We have been waiting all year for this one. By the time most folks read this, the heavy lifting in the vineyard will be finished and we are on final approach to the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019. Hell may be coming to breakfast, but harvest is coming to wine country.

And no one loves harvest more than V. Germanica, aka the German yellow jacket. He is the not so cute one, second from the left.


And a more recent addition to the harvest matrix is his distant, and significantly larger cousin, the Bald Faced hornet. It’s not really a hornet, but in fact a dreadnought variant yellow jacket wasp. No matter, these bastards live in above ground, highly flammable, paper nests and are quite aggressive when YOU interact with THEIR environment. And they define their environment as anywhere they happen to be at any given time. Watch out!

Skunks will dig up yellow jacket nests and eradicate them for you. Bald Faced hornets, however, are best handled with fire. While at times impractical, the flame thrower is a highly effective tool.

“Captain, I suggest running a level 1 diagnostic.”

And then there is that. Ernie has been working on his upcoming “Star Trek into Wine Country” piece, and we seem to have lost some editorial containment between the two data sets.

“I will try and compensate.”

“Make it so.”

August is the time we start “fine tuning” or “manicuring” the vines and hope Mother Nature has a like minded approach. Mani-Pedi and a glass of wine anyone? The past few vintages have seen arid conditions from August through harvest. Fortunately, this year we have seen much more moderate temperatures and even a little August rain. Pretty Farmin’ Nice is how Ernie would describe vintage 2019, so far. And when we get it in the winery, our job is not to bucket-up.

And as foretold in the June Climate Update, we will do a “Rootstock Deep Dive.” Yeah, we are gonna get right down into the effective rooting zone. Look for topics such as available soil moisture and its impact on harvest dates. Then we will do a fruit zone pop-up where we will look forward into the weather at harvest.

“Captain, I am detecting nothing on long range sensors.”

“Helm, maintain course and speed.”

So, you may be wondering just exactly what do we mean by “fine tuning” or “manicuring” the vines. Well, let’s look at it from the vine’s perspective first. Here is what they have been doing all summer long. They have been growing out shoots and leaves and setting literally tons of wine berry clusters, including some in the most inappropriate places.

The reason they do this is they want to reproduce. They need to ripen their seeds and have some vineyard pest such as a bird, racoon, deer or other creature, big or small, ingest the seeds and deposit them (with a bit of fertilizer) in a different location. When this chain of events has occurred, the vine has completed its preprogrammed task. The leaves will senesce providing a beautiful vineyard patina, and then the vine will go dormant for about 6 months. At which point, it will spring to life and start the cycle all over again. Unless some nefarious gopher gnaws its roots off. Like it or not, Mr. Gopher is part of the farming lifecycle. And Ernie doesn’t like it, but it keeps his nursery man in business.

Now, let’s have a look at what we want from the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019. We are wanting a block by block Cluster Plucking of wine berries that uniformly reflect their growing season, not too much sugar, more red fruited aroma and flavor from the skins and no mold, mildew, rot or other irregularities to sort out. And this year we will be plucking 42 +1 blocks. The Gewürztraminer colonized the rootstock block, that’s our +1.

Now, how do we achieve the subset of wine berries we want to Cluster Pluck from the superset of wine berries the vines want to produce? That’s easy! We spend the month of August cutting off everything we do not want in the fermenters.

“Sir, Occam’s Razor is a mid-14th century Earth …”

“Mr. Data, isn’t it about time you ran a level 1 self-diagnostic?

In replicate.

In private.”

He’s right, you know. The simplest answer is often the most correct. Through trial and error, paying attention, and listening to Dick Erath we have a very simple to understand and easy to implement thinning plan. The only issue we have is replicating this thinning plan over about 55,000 vines. All done by hand, one cluster at a time. Oh, and we nip off the late to ripen wings.

“Except for blocks 1, 14 and 15. The wings from those 3 most amazing blocks make a beautiful Blanc de Noir still Rosé. Everything you need to make a stunning Bellpine Pearl Rosé wine is available to you in those three perfectly tended blocks representing Pinot Meunier, Pommard and Wadenswil clone Pinot Noir. Are you ready for the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019?!” @GordonRamsay, is that you?

Right. So here we are in August nipping off extra clusters that the vine has set, wings from the clusters we want to Cluster Pluck and the thirds. The thirds are the vine’s way of showing off. Most shoots have 2 clusters of wine berries, sometimes just one, but usually two. Occasionally, we will have a third cluster of wine berries on a shoot. And this cluster will look ripe, but it is not ripe.

And if it gets left on the shoot the two clusters below it will not achieve their full potential. So, a quick snip is all it takes to improve your wine quality. This fine tuning in the vineyard pass costs just about 1 minute per vine, by 55,000 vines, by the prevailing wage. But, once the Great Cluster Pluck starts, there is little time to cull out these under-ripe clusters.

And all the while these clusters are anywhere from fully purple to a mix of half purple and half green to mostly all green. The later into August we go, we favor thinning off the more green clusters. Now some of these clusters will, as if by magic, find their way from the vineyard floor into the harvest buckets anyway. A mystery wrapped in an enigma to be sorted out at the harvest trailer, before the wine berries ever make it to the winery.

To address the notion that the goal is to just leave the vine alone and then make the best of it with the wine, is not a philosophy adopted by @AmalieRobert. We would venture to guess there is a fair bit of sorting out involved with that method.

At this juncture, everyone take a deep breath or allocate another portion of wine to your glass – even if you must open a second bottle to do so. We are going on a “Rootstock Deep Dive” into the effective rooting zone. Watch out for nematodes. And if you find Ernie’s 11/16” wrench, please speak up.

“Captain! Klingon Warbird decloaking at the edge of the Neutral Zone!”

“Mr. Warf, I have had just about enough of this. Charge the forward phaser array and load photon torpedoes.”

Ernie used to race the ¼ mile track at Spokane International Raceway park, mostly just for shitz and grinz. Not that difficult really. When the Christmas tree turns from yellow to green, you just mash your foot down on the throttle. After 1,320 feet, you can let off the gas and drop the anchors. Pretty easy. But if you want to actually win some races, and not just burn rubber, it is a bit more complicated. Speed costs. How fast do you want to go? Note: Having the fastest car in town comes with some unwanted recognition.

Similarly, making wine is not that difficult. Humans have been fermenting grapes for centuries, whether they knew what they were doing or not. The good news is that fermented grape juice, even when it is bad, is not lethal. Hence the continuing evolution of wine quality vis-à-vis the human condition. Why even at a certain point in the United States history, wine was prescribed for medicinal purposes, because otherwise it was a controlled substance. Is this a great country or what? Note: Having the highest rated syrah from the Willamette Valley also comes with some notoriety.

Rootstocks are the connection between your inherent terroir and your human terroir. The soil is the soil and as a winegrower your job is to know your dirt. To be a Master Farmer is to know what rootstocks to put into your terroir that will produce the highest quality wine berries across all varieties, and vintages. Of course, you cannot know this empirically when you buy a cherry orchard, but that orchard left us plenty of clues. That and the 60 odd soil pits we dug before we selected and then planted our grafted vines.

When the Drouhins came to town in the 1980s, they bought volcanic Jory soil in Dundee. They planted vines and enlisted Ernie Munch to build them a winery. Ernie was the only architect to tell them what they were planning to do would not work. They hired Ernie, planted grafted vines and made it work.

So one day, our Ernie met Robert Drouhin in the famed Seven Springs vineyard where he was sampling wine berries and putting them in Ziplock bags to take back to the winery for analysis. And that is when Ernie popped the question. (His recollection of events is chronicled below.)

“How is Clos de Mouches looking this year?”

“Ah, you know where the good wine is made! It is very nice this year.”

“Robert, when you planted Pinot Noir in Dundee, what rootstocks did you use?”

“We planted on 3309 and 101-14. Of course, we have irrigation here.”

“Yes, of course. Why did you choose those rootstocks for Oregon? Was it based on your experience in Burgundy?”

“Well, no. You see in Oregon, it was all we could get!”

"It was all we could get." Hmmm. Of all the rootstocks available, the only grafted vines they could get in Oregon were some of the shallowest rooting in all the world. But they have irrigation, so they could augment their available soil moisture during the beautiful sunny and dry months of August and September.

Now some of you may be wondering why there is so much to-do about rootstocks. We are going to address that right now. Rootstocks are the part of a grafted vine that grows roots, obviously. Rootstocks are grafted (at the crown) onto grape varieties such as Pinot Noir that grow above ground and bear wine berries.

The significance of any given rootstock is measured in how deep the roots go looking for water. And sure, we want to know if they are resistant to nematodes and phylloxera. Those are soil borne pests that can significantly tax a vines energy by feeding on the roots vascular system, or even kill it. Akin to leaches on humans, another medical treatment gone awry. Maybe, why not just write me a scrip for some wine?

Here is an interesting chart. It reveals the parent material of a whole host of grapevine rootstocks. Rootstocks are made from crossing two subspecies of American grape that grew up with phylloxera and can protect themselves from that pest. Most rootstocks have two parents, such as Schwarzmann which is the result of crossing Riparia Gloire and Rupestris. See it, right there in the middle? However, there are rootstocks that have three parents. Can you find 44-53 Malégue? Yeah, Ernie has some of that grafted onto Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Correct, that is Champagne Deconstructed!

And here is yet another illuminating illustration. It illustrates a vine’s world when planted in a vineyard spaced 1.5 meters (about 60 inches) for the tractor and 2.2 meters (about 80 inches) between each vine. But that’s not important. What is important is the distribution of the roots penetrating through the surface soil, sub-surface soil, subsoil and subsolum.

The upper most roots in the surface soil are picking up most of the nutrients that feed the vine. This is where the fencepost rots, as they say, and it is where most nutrient recycling occurs. The greens and the browns are tilled into this soil layer and soil borne organisms decompose the material to provide nutrients for the vine. The rest of the roots are in a race to the bottom. The deeper the roots go, the more likely they will find water to sustain the vine during drought (Xeric) conditions.

And this is where the rootstock selection becomes critically important. Once we identify the rootstocks that can protect the vine from nematodes and phylloxera, we are looking primarily for rooting depth.

The key here is to match the depth of the roots with available soil moisture. Based on empirical evidence we know the rooting proclivities of the rootstocks listed in the spaghetti graphic provided above. They are as follows:

Shallow roots: Riparia Gloire

Moderately shallow roots: 101-14, 3309, Schwarzmann

Moderately deep roots: 44-53M

Deep roots: 5C, own rooted (not grafted) vines

The next topic is available soil moisture, what is it and why is it important. Soil moisture is just that, it is water that it is dissolved in the soil. But it may be that there is so little of it, the vine roots cannot separate the water from the soil. Hence there is no soil moisture available to the vine.

@AmalieRobert is a dry farmed Estate. We knew that we wanted that expression of our terroir when we selected our rootstocks and began planting at the turn of the century. We also knew that our Bellpine soil taxonomy is classified as “Xeric Haplohumults”. That mouthful of marbles and toothpicks simply means “The soils are usually moist but are dry for 45 to 60 consecutive days during the summer between depths of 4 and 12 inches”. During the summer, there is no available soil moisture in the top 12 inches of soil. Good to know when you are selecting rootstocks.

The concept to retain here is, as the growing season progresses to harvest time, the soil moisture available to the vine goes deeper and deeper into the soil profile. Shallow rooted vines go without water and deeper-rooted vines are still drawing moisture from the soil.

Matching rootstocks to available soil moisture. Here we will introduce the most common rootstocks planted in the Willamette Valley, which are all phylloxera tolerant, and then we will talk about the rootstock less used (and Ernie’s favorite), 5C.

The shallowest rootstock is known as RG, as in Riparia Gloire. It has the shallowest effective rooting zone of all the rootstocks commonly in use. Normally planted in very deep and wet soils or dry soils where effective soil moisture is controlled with irrigation.

101-14 Mgt, 3309 and Schwarzmann are all crosses of Riparia Gloire and Rupesteris and are all phylloxera tolerant. They are all very similar in that they have a bit deeper effective rooting zone than RG. However, they have varying degrees of nematode resistance, with 3309 being the most susceptible. Nematodes are very small subterranean blighters that tap into the roots and feed off the vascular tissue. As noted above, of the endless medical treatments available, a prescription of wine can be a pretty good remedy.

The 44-53M rootstock is a bit of an odd ball as it has 3 parents. Not something you see every day. It is a three-way cross between RG and Rupesteris and Berlandiari. The effective rooting zone is a bit deeper than the aforementioned group, with one distinction. This rootstock does not pick up magnesium from your terroir very well. This becomes quite obvious later in the season as the vine begins to move magnesium around from the old leaves to the new leaves. The old leaves look like they have a red border in Pinot Noir, or yellow in Chardonnay.

And we sum up with own rooted vines which tend to be deeper rooted than any of these rootstocks. Grapevine roots have been found at 6 feet deep and beyond when the soil conditions allow. The problem own rooted vines have is that they cannot tolerate phylloxera. The little blighter taps into the roots and creates an opening where all manner of bad actors in the soil enter the vines vascular tissue eventually killing it. Hence the reason for the phylloxera tolerant grafted vine discussion.

And that brings us to the 5C rootstock. This rootstock has the deepest effective rooting zone of all the rootstocks noted above and is the most on par with own rooted vines. Now we are getting somewhere, deep! And it is tolerant to phylloxera meaning the blighter still taps into it, but the vine is able to protect itself from the pathogens that live in the soil. However, as strong a rootstock that it is, 5C is just as susceptible to “tractor blight” as all the rest. Maybe time to tighten the loose nut behind the wheel.

Now, let’s put the roots in the soil profile and head on into harvest. The rootstock is interacting with all the stratums of the soil. The soil has a depleting supply of moisture as the Great Cluster Pluck approaches. The vine is depending on its deepest roots to access available soil moisture. The vine is using soil moisture to cool the leaves and translocate nutrients throughout the vascular tissue. So far all is right in the plant kingdom.

As the weeks turn to the days leading up to the Great Cluster Pluck, winemakers must decide when to “pull the trigger” and start plucking clusters. A tremendous amount of contemplation, consternation and even some constipation occurs during this time frame.

The vines, and in turn the subject of our discussion, the wine berries, are pre-programmed. If their roots have access to available soil moisture, they are in no hurry. They gradually increase sugars by using their malic acid as an energy source thus becoming sweeter. The skins continue to develop aroma and flavor. Eventually the sugars reach a range of around 23 Brix and the acids drop down to give us a pH around 3.4 to 3.6. When these factors align with a very pleasurable aroma and flavor profile, it is time to get out the harvest buckets.

If you have shallow roots in a dry, well drained hillside that hasn’t seen rain for 60 days, life is markedly different. The vine has taken all of the available soil moisture available to the roots and is now translocating water from the wine berry to sustain itself. The wine berry is now starting to desiccate. The wine berry is losing water and concentrating its sugar and acid, without much advancement in aroma and flavor development.

In the lab, you see the sugar concentration increasing which is normal, and the acid concentration is rising as well. This is not normal, it tells you the berry is losing water, not ripening. Once the sugars reach about 25 Brix, or 15% alcohol potential, you most likely have missed the optimal harvest window. Elvis has left the building.

“Captain, they are coming about!”

What comes about, goes about and climate change has brought this issue to the fore. Shallow rooting rootstocks have a natural tendency to advance the harvest window by a few days. The desire to Cluster Pluck before the birds, rain and the rot visit themselves upon the vineyard is a strong one. However, that desire must be tempered with our goal of producing world class wines in every vintage, climatically challenging or not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

“Fire phasers and photon torpedoes, full spread!”

@AmalieRobert 5C is the rootstock of choice that spans the full spectrum of climatically challenging growing conditions. 5C can tolerate longer drought conditions and still achieve elegant aromas and flavors. In cool vintages we can adjust our canopy management and vineyard floor vegetation to achieve aroma and flavor ripeness. As we compare Cluster Pluck dates with some old timers who still grow own rooted vines, we see a strong correlation in own rooted vines and that handsome 5C rootstock.

And now what you have all been so patiently waiting for, the numbers. Our slow and steady march to the Great Cluster Pluck of 2019 continues unabated - one day at a time. August provided very moderate temperatures and a little tinkle of rain. Our neighbors to the south have yet to really set themselves on fire, so we don’t have smoke taint to worry about. Or excessive atmospheric particulate that prevents us from cooling down at night.

The month of August continued the everything in moderation theme, and then promptly put moderation in moderation with a significant ramp up in heat for month end. Let’s break it down like this.

August 1 through 15 recorded 273.1 Degree Days with a high temperature of 92.8 recorded on August 4, 4:12 pm and a low temperature of 50.5 degrees on August 11 from 3:00 am through 4:00 am. This represents a diurnal shift of 42.3 degrees during the first half of August. Rain was a trace at 0.02 inches.

The second half of the second half of the month of August provided the heat we had been expecting all month long. The last week of August saw temperatures cresting the 100 degree mark at the farm. But a fast horse doesn’t run long, and the intense heat was not sustained for more than a couple of days. Ernie is still suffering flashbacks of vintage 2018. Note the 55 degree diurnal shift listed in the Salem weather graph for Tuesday, August 27.

The high temperature for the second half of the month was 100.1 degrees recorded on Tuesday, August 27 at 4:12 pm. And get this, the low temperature for the second half of the month was 49.1 degrees recorded on August 22 at 5:36 am. August 22 brought 0.07 inches of rainfall.

The second half of the month recorded 321.7 Degree Days for a monthly total of 594.8. The year to date growing Degree Days stand at 1,903.7, compared with 1,954.4 from vintage 2018. Whoa!

Whoa! When I say whoa, I mean WHOA!
- Yosemite Sam 

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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