Introduction

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!

Rusty

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

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016

Josh

"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

David

"...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

Copyright

© 2005 – 2017 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Monday, August 31, 2015

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2015 August

Hello and Welcome.

This is the 2015 August Climate Update – Pre-Cluster Pluck Edition


As you read this, “The Great Cluster Pluck of 2015” has visited itself upon the Willamette Valley, as has “the greatest show on earth.” And whether you are stumpin’ for Trump or sidin’ with Biden you have a front row seat to these two wondrous spectacles. As the late, great George Carlin would say, “Every 4 years these guys get the runs.”

Harvesting in August, unlike politicking, is a significant event - which leads to premature fermentation which is not a significant event. Even car companies wait until September to reveal their new models and some vehicles too. Historically speaking, people are picking earlier than any harvest we can recall. And it’s kinda like noses, as soon as one person starts to pick, everybody wants to pick.

But is it time to pick? We will explore that topic and more as we shine some light on the topic of Hang Time: What is it, how do I know if I have it, and what difference, at this point, does it make? This is a continuation of the “wineversation” that started with canopy management and flavor development, progressed into soils and rootstocks,  delved deep into crop thinningand available soil moisture and now confronts the final act of wine growing – the Great Cluster Pluck. This is part of the upcoming Master Class series offered by the School of Hard Knocks where enrollment is always open.

While we are not there yet, here’s what The Great Cluster Pluck looks like at Amalie Robert Estate.


Hang time can be defined as the time that elapses while a grower of wine berries and a buyer of wine berries quibble as to when to harvest. Typically, the grower would like to see the wine berries harvested RFN (Right Farming Now) before any birds show up to feast upon, or seasonally rainy weather arrives to rot the crop. The buyer would like to see a little more flavor development and wait unit the last possible second to harvest. It is during this negotiated timeframe that hang time occurs and Mother Nature puts her final touches on the vintage. When the relationship between grower and buyer becomes untenable, the wine berries will have had sufficient hang time and therefore may be considered “well hung” and harvest may commence forthwith. Albeit with a bit of swagger…

Now, 105 days is the average number of days after flowering that we see great aroma and flavor development in our Pinot Noir. Since we started flowering on May 31st (Julian calendar day 151) we should expect our harvest window to open around Julian calendar day 256 (September 13th.) And at this point, that is what Ernie the winegrower and Ernie the winemaker are thinking. Great minds think alike, especially when they are housed within the same cranium. And if we need a third opinion, we turn to guy in the mirror.

All fruits need hang time to ripen. Some fruits give pretty easy clues as to when they are ready and when they are not. The ubiquitous tomato is one such be-vined fruit. Oh yes, despite what classification the follow-on products are, the tomato in all of its colors, shapes and sizes is a fruit – at least while it is still on the vine.


When the typical red tomato is ripe it should be, red. We can clearly see in this image that the tomatoes on offer here are not yet ripe. They are not well hung.


Now if you were growing your own, you would give them more hang time. But not everybody grows their own: tomatoes or wine berries. But the tomato, given time and a paper bag, will ripen on its own. Not so with wine berries, primarily because we ferment them just as quickly as we can after harvest.

Wine berries are also a be-vined fruit. However, they do not so easily give up their secrets. Sure they look purple and are just hanging there ready to be plucked. But should you? Pluck it? That kinda depends on how much hang time they have had, and what the upcoming weather pattern holds. Can you get a harvest crew? Tomorrow - maybe? If not, then you are just hanging’ around, getting a little more hang time.


So to determine how well hung the wine berries are, and if they need more hang time, we can employ a number of varying analytical tools. The most primal tool at our disposal is one we share with creature’s great and small - we eat one. If they are sweet with sugar and not to acidic, we can give them good marks.

Next we chew the skins and if they taste like a green banana, that is potassium being released and may suggest the flavors are not yet fully developed. Then we look at the seed. The gelatinous pulp of young berries encasing their seeds should be gone. Fluorescent green means not mature, while “Grape-Nuts” cereal brown means the seeds are fully mature.

If the wine berries pass all of the primal benchmarks, then it is time to employ our technical tools. We first “hunt and gather” a sample that is representative of the block we are considering cluster plucking. The sample we collect is comprised of entire clusters and not individual berries.

Long ago the vines made a concession to the humans that were tending them. You see, it was quite an arduous task to cut each individual berry from all over the vine. So, the vine agreed to “cluster” the grapes onto some tendrils that were growing within easy reach of the humans. You may disagree, but just remember, you weren’t there.


We put the wine berries, still on the stem, in a mesh bag and slowly but firmly squeeze the juice out of them into a clean white bucket. We then transfer the juice to a clear glass vessel and look at the color.

Very pale cotton candy color tells us that the aromas and flavors are still locked in the skins and are not ready to be released into the juice. And if they don’t get into the juice, they won’t be in the wine. A deeply hued mauve indicates that it is time to stick your nose into the sampling vessel. If a heady bouquet greats your olfactory senses, then it is time to calibrate the machines.

The pH meter, next to the coffee machine, is one of the most important machines in the lab. However, it is quite the joker. Not only does it need to be calibrated every farming day to give you a true reading of acidity, but it needs to be constantly checked to be sure it is performing its task with precision. Not unlike the invasive colonoscopy, we extend the probe into the juice and have a look. While the numbers are site and variety specific, we like to see something greater than 3 but less than 4 with two sig-figs.

Then comes the Brix test. The berries have studied all year for this one and are ready for their numbers. Brix is a measure of fermentable sugars, and when you multiply Brix by 0.60, you get an approximate, potential alcohol percent. If you are seeing 20 Brix, then you are looking at about 12% alcohol – nice for cool climate Syrah. The over achieving wine berry will register at 25 Brix, or greater, for a potential alcohol around 15%.

With all of this analysis complete, it is now time to decide to “go or no go.” Bring them in or leave them out for more hang time – and live with that decision forever. But wait, there is more information to consider. Mother Nature has quite a role to play when you are ready to cluster pluck. A little rain will dilute high sugars, but may segue to rot. Warm, breezy dry days may desiccate the wine berries and raise already high sugar levels without commensurate aroma and flavor development. If you want to make Mother Nature laugh, announce your harvest schedule in advance.


And then there are the logistics of harvesting and fermenting. Harvesting at Amalie Robert Estate is done by hand, vine by vine and block by block. While some of the Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley is harvested by machine, most is harvested by hand. And there are only so many hands to go around. So just because you are ready to go, doesn’t mean that a harvest crew is in your future. That’s when you say “bucket!” and try for the next day. Is that rain in the forecast?

Fermenting is not that complicated. We put 3,000 pounds of grapes in very close proximity with a little sulfur dioxide and they can take it from there. It is not unlike lining up all the men in class on one side of the gym and all of the women on the other. Have them advance until they close the distance between them by half. Repeat as many times as you like, but they will never touch. However, they will be close enough for all practical purposes.

The trick though is to be sure you have enough fermentation capacity for all of the wine you have grown. If not, you will have to re-use the fermenters, which usually means starting the cluster pluck a little early, like maybe in August, and bear the shame of premature fermentation. Then after a few weeks, past the prime harvest window, return to the field to harvest the remaining crop.

So after a few years at this, we have determined that the facts, however interesting they may be, are often irrelevant. It’s fharming dharling and it has its own unique set of realities.


And the reality of 2015 is that we are on fire! Well, actually that is the neighbors pasture, but you get the idea, it’s has been hot and dry. But turning the corner we are. Despite the Hell-bent for Leather growing season to date, September brings with it shorter days. And it would seem that the forecast suggests cooler day time temperatures and lows all the way down into the 40s. And that, coupled with the late August and early September showers, means a little more hang time for the dry farmed wine berries at Amalie Robert Estate.


This is the part of the Climate Update where we switch from the random character generator (RCG) to the random number generator (RNG.)

We have recorded 565.9 degree days for the month of August, providing a total of 1,997 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1, 2015. Our high temperature was 103.0 degrees and our low temperature was 43.2 degrees.


This represents a trajectorial shift from 2014 which recorded 615.2 degree days and had accumulated 1,886 degree days through August, but finished up the growing season at whopping 2,499 degree days. The difference seems to be that 2014 started cooler and finished in a blaze of glory, while 2015 started hot and may finish with a long, cool ripening period yielding very well hung wines. Could the 2015 Hell-bent for Leather vintage turn out to be Delish?

With 0.59 inches of rain arriving on the 28th of August and a bit more on the way for the beginning of September, it could happen. Unless you have already plucked your clusters, and if so, well, there’s always next year. We have endured 88 consecutive days without rain, and that is quite a dry spell for us. The last rain event of 1.24 inches was recorded on the morning of June 2nd. Our growing season to date rainfall is 4.53 inches.

And so we do what farmers do – we keep ourselves busy running the numbers until we see the “steal home plate” sign from Mother Nature. We gotta admit, she looks pretty good in a ball cap; all that red hair flowing in the gale force wind and driving rain.

September, gird thee loins, for we intend to reign harvest down upon you!


Kindest Regards,


Dena & Ernie

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2015 Mid-August

Hello and Welcome,

This is the 2015 Mid-August Climate Update – WTF Edition.


The first week of August has slipped us a new call sign. After a blistering triple digit performance that carried the month of July through the first day of August, we seem to be experiencing climate change in our own particular microclimate. In fact it has cooled down and there has been rain in the forecast, and it is still in there, just not in the vineyard. Perhaps the vintage that got the wine berries on the vine is not going to be the vintage that gets them off.


Our high temperatures have been peaking in the mid 80s and only staying at their zenith for a couple hours, if that. The evening temperatures are still above 50 degrees, but it is taking much longer in the morning to warm up as we wake up and smell the coffee. Then we seem to cool off quickly enough to open the windows in time for dinner. That’s the time of day when we plan our strategy for the next day and waft the fruit of some previous vintage. Right now we are on a 2007 kick because we ran out of 2005, dagnabbit!

We’ve got thinning on our minds. As the wine berries begin to color up, it is someone’s job to determine how we are going to thin the Vintage 2015: Hell-bent for Leather crop. There are several theories on how to determine a strategy, and of course then there is the implementation. In the world of agriculture, we often think back to a very solid piece of Microsoft advice:

A good plan well implemented is far batter than a great plan poorly understood. (While we do take artistic license from time to time, you just can’t make this stuff up.)


It’s just a rework of the KISS principle, but it seems that not everyone can keep it simple. In fact, it may be the case that someone is in the need of some Special High Intensity Training.


A Primer: Developing a Vineyard Thinning Strategy

Thinning theories break down into two camps and the dogmatic principle. The first camp is trying to determine how much wine they can ripen this season with the ultimate goal of making the best wine this vintage has to offer. Sounds good.

The camp down the way a bit wants to know what is the least amount of fruit they need to cut off and still get the crop ripe. And the disciples of the dogmatic principle thin to a specific crop load expressed as tons per acre, but not pounds per vine* because “it depends...” Overlay the variability of the remaining growing season and our problem is framed quite nicely.

Now Ernie is a recovering accountant, but he still wields Occam’s razor with the precision of a well oiled slide rule. He keeps it hidden, but this is the one time of year he brings its simplistically brutal power to bear.

{Using stealth and the cover of darkness, we enter the first camp.}

This camp is assessing the degree days and wine berry development at the beginning of August. Lag phase cluster weights have been done at seed hardening and they provide a pretty good estimation of the final cluster weights – maybe. So most folks now know they are hanging between 4 and 8 tons of wine berries per acre. At 60 cases per ton that is 240 to 480 cases of wine per acre.


This much crop traditionally has been impossible to ripen in the Willamette Valley, but not so in other nearby wine growing regions. And the reason is usually the warmth, irrigation and duration of the growing season in California and Eastern Washington. As most everyone learned from last year, a little extra crop can slow the vines down and extend the growing season. So can a little bit of rain if you can wait for it. Those that didn’t learn these lessons may be in for another Special High Intensity Training session this year.

But this year, as is the case with all previous years, is different. We are very far advanced in the vineyard due to historically high daytime and nighttime temperatures. We are also dry with no rainfall in the short term (believable) forecast. So this year, our limiting factor is not heat units or length of growing season to ripen our wine berries. Our limiting factor this year is lack of available soil moisture to prevent rapid sugar accumulation without the time required for commensurate aroma and flavor development.

So, what to do? Thin now or thin later? Thinning now will simply speed up ripening. The vine is building sugars and the fewer the berries, the more sugar per berry. This is exactly the opposite effect we are trying to achieve. Aroma and flavor are more a function of time rather than heat and we are trying to buy time. And that is another reason why Ernie only hedged his “yard of vines” twice this year instead of 4 times. He is letting the vines “free range” out there and this will have the effect of slowing the ripening curve by letting the vine think it can just keep growing new leaves and worry about ripening up the wine berries later. This is known as “Human Terroir” or interacting with the vine’s environment. If only it would rain…


The second camp is counting on extra yield to slow down the sugar accumulation and allow time for aroma and flavor development. By leaving extra fruit on the vine now, they are providing a reserve if the vine runs out of soil moisture. The vine can take some moisture from the wine berries to continue ripening. The more wine berries there are, the less impact on each individual berry.

When most of the wine berries have turned color, they will thin off clusters that are still green and would ripen later than most of the vines’ other clusters. The goal here is to “approximate the ripening curve by matching the climatic growing conditions to the vines’ yield potential.



The dogmatics have their tons per acre number and they are out there right now cutting of wine berries to match it. However, with such dry conditions, they may undershoot their target crop load due to desiccation. Warm and dry breezes from the east are not uncommon in August and September. This has the effect of drawing more moisture from the vine and concentrating sugars and acids. In fact the amount of sugars and acids do not change, only the amount of water inside the wine berry is reduced so it looks like sugars and acids are increasing.

But the dogmatics also have logistics on their side. As was the case last year, we have a large crop load. But most wineries are fixed in size and do not expand whenever we have a large crop load. So what can happen is that they harvest until all of the fermenting space is filled. They wait for the fermentations to finish and then return to harvest the remainder of the crop. This is akin to turning tables in a restaurant. Either you have the table for the night, or you need to “dine and dash” by 8 pm.

This can lead to the worst case scenario – harvesting early before aroma and flavor development, fermenting for 3-4 weeks and then harvesting again when the wine berries have desiccated and over ripened. Perhaps the dogmatics are onto something by matching their crop load to their fermentation capacity.


And then there are the wings – what to do with you? Wings typically make up about 20% of any given cluster and have the tendency to ripen a week or so after the main cluster. These may be left on the cluster as a way to further slow down sugar accumulation and provide a water reservoir. They may also be clipped off with the purpose of keeping under ripe aromas and flavors out of the fermenter.


* Remember me? Looking for something? Feeling incomplete? I’ve got some figures you are going to want to investigate – thoroughly. Let’s delve into the tons per acre, vines per acre and pounds per vine mental construct. Tank, load the jump program!

Typically, Pinot Noir is grown in a marginal climate meaning the grapes ripen just as Mother Nature is unleashing the heavens with wind and rain to signal the end of the vintage. The astute (and lucky) winegrowers have completed harvest operations just that very morning.

When they want to know how they ended up for the season, they take the total weight of the crop harvested and divide by the acres harvested providing tons per acre - so far so good. They know the total acreage because they know the number of vines harvested and how many of those vines are needed to cover an acre of land. Now we are getting somewhere, but where is that?

The limiting factor of growing Pinot Noir is either climate based or land based. Pinot Noir growers are masochists by nature. They cleverly choose locations where they know climatically it is going to be tough to ripen a full crop each year. Therefore they thin the crop down to a reasonable level (tons per acre) they think will ripen as discussed above. This climate based limiting factor seems not to be in play for Vintage 2015: Hell-bent for leather.

However, thinning is done on a vine by vine basis resulting in pounds per vine. Sure, multiply that by the vines per acre and you can easily come up with tons per acre. So you could consider tons per acre to be metadata, which is just data that describes other data. That’s like horsepower v torque and RPM. Torque and RPM are measured outputs of an engine (like vines per acre and pounds per vine.) Horsepower is just a mathematical formula that results in a number that we can compare across different exemplars (like tons per acre.)

And when you consider that horsepower is just torque multiplied by RPM divided by 5,252 you can see that you have been using metadata your whole life, gearhead! Don't get confused by the 5,252, it is a mathematical constant derived from the fact that a 1 foot circle has a circumference of 6.2832 feet, don’tcha all know…

So the cleverly masochistic Pinot Noir grower approaches each vine fully intentioned and begins to thin a little fruit. A nip here, a snip there, a fresh bandage for the green thumb, and it all looks good. But some growers are finished before others because they have a different number of vines per acre.

Early Oregon vineyards were planted at an 8 x 12 foot spacing giving them 454 vines per acre. Highly masochistic vineyards can be planted “meter by meter” yielding about 4,050 vines per acre. Note: these vineyards are often owned not by masochistic wine growers but by sadistic land owners who hire masochists to work in them. Look at any corkscrew carefully – who do you think designed that?

At Amalie Robert Estate, we are moderately planted at 1,452 vines per acre. (We not only own our own land, we farm it ourselves as well, so we have more than just a passing familiarity with the whole Sadomasochistic wine growing thing.) Our vines are 4 feet apart and we leave 7.5 feet for Ernie to get this tractors and implements through the rows. For aspiring accountants, you can do the math at home. Just take the total square feet in an acre and divide by the vine spacing. It’s easy: 43,560 square feet in an acre divided by (7.5 x 4) spacing = 1,452 vines per acre!

And if you thought that was fun, try this: If you can cover that acre in an hour, how fast are you travelling? Please express your response in the traditional “furlongs per fortnight” with two sig figs to the right of the decimal point.

So now we can peel back the tons per acre metadata to reveal the pounds per vine crop load. At an average 3 tons per acre crop load, an early Oregon vineyard will be carrying about 13.2 pounds per vine. The meter by meter fellow is packing just about a pound and a half per vine. At our moderately dense spacing of 1,452 vines per acre, each vine has to ripen just over 4 pounds of wine. It takes just under 3 pounds to produce a bottle of wine. At Amalie Robert Estate we are trying to ripen a bottle of wine per vine, but in some years the bottles are a little bigger than others.

The actuaries in the group (who skipped right to the asterisk) are now wondering why the meter by meter guy doesn’t leave the same amount of crop per vine as the old Oregon vineyard guy. Just look at the numbers; it would be over 25 tons per acre! Man, we can make some serious coin at this crop load!

Because you can’t ripen it. The crop load is limited by the amount of land. An acre is an acre is an acre no matter how many vines you plant on it. On top of the land you have the canopy. Think of it as a solar array that harvests light and heat to ripen the crop and transpires water from the soil. At 454 vines per acre, there are 3,630 lineal feet of solar array, at 1,452 vines per acre we have 5,808 lineal feet, and the meter by meter guy has 13,280 lineal feet.


But you need to factor in the space under the vine which has no leaves and the maximum height of the canopy to prevent shading. Let’s say the first two guys have no leaves below 2.5 feet and their canopies top out at 7.5 feet tall. While the old Oregon vineyard could grow a 12 foot canopy it is hard to hedge at that height, so let’s go with a maximum height of 7.5 feet. This gives us a 5 foot wall of Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) catching canopy.

Now this is funny: The meter by meter guy has the vines trained at just over a foot off the ground, 12 inches, and a maximum canopy height of 40 inches to prevent shading. This gives him a canopy that is 28 inches tall, 2.33 feet. Not a lot to work with there. And imagine working on vines that start at just a foot off the ground. Knee pads anyone? Dang, just ran out… aka “Let Them Eat Cake.”

We can now look at height and width to give us square feet of canopy - per vine. Note: If you assume the canopy is 1 foot wide, then square feet (as if by magic) become cubic feet – ooooooh, so cool! 454 vines per acre give us 3,630 x 5 feet of canopy for a total of 18,150 square feet – 39.98 square feet per vine. 1,452 vines per acre give us 5,808 x 5 feet of canopy for a total of 29,040 square feet – 20.00 square feet per vine. And our meter by meter friend has 13,280 x 2.33 feet of canopy for a total of 30,943 square feet – 7.64 square feet per vine. The size of your solar array puts an upper limit on the amount of wine you can ripen per vine.

Now below the land you have the roots and a limited amount of available soil moisture. No matter how many vines are planted in our example, each scenario’s roots will have grown to the point of exploring the entire acre. This is called colonizing the soil. Mycorrhizae are fungi that live symbiotically with the roots and they exponentially increase the root’s “footprint” and ability to uptake nutrients and available soil moisture throughout the entire breadth and depth of the soil profile. Don’t mess with the Fungi.

Most of the available soil moisture is going out through the stomata to cool the leaves, the wine berries are certainly holding some water, and the vines need some water to translocate nutrients. So unless you are irritating the unique character of the vintage with drip irrigation i.e. cheating, the available soil moisture is putting an upper limit on the amount of fruit you can ripen per acre.


Now the obvious question is which yield (and measure of yield) makes the best wine for your palate in any given vintage? Hmmm… How to know? Experiencing wines grown in all manner of spacing and densities is the only true way to know for sure. You’re gonna need more corkscrews. Choose an array of corkscrews that have different extraction modes to reduce the potential of repetitive motion injury. So many wines, so little time.


So, there you have it – WTF.


The numbers for the first half of August look like missile launch codes, but they’re not, honest. If you try and sell them, no one will actually come through with the funds. But you might get to meet some nice folks from Interpol or the NSA, if there are any.

What the numbers are trying to tell us is that August has broken June and July’s heat spell. It could be a passing of the baton, sort of speak, where we see a very different climatic expression take the wine berries across the threshold to harvest.

And that means a slower and “more better” ripening curve with the possibility of quenching rain. And we were forecasted to receive measurable precipitation on the 14th of August. Instead we received momentary precipitation, which is not measurable.

We have logged 278 degree days through the 15th of August for a 2015 growing season accumulation of 1,710 degree days. If you are enjoying the 2010 and 2011 vintages, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that those 2 vintages accumulated less than 1,800 degree days for the entire growing season! We are there now. You can check out the 2010 and 2011 “After Action Reports” to see how we dealt with those dueling (grueling?) vintages. And while we don’t quote ourselves often, we find it helps to keep the “signal to noise” ratio above 1:1.


Much like how we measure engine output in a formulaic way with a made up construct called horsepower, we do the same with heat accumulation in the form of degree days. Consider two very different growing seasons with the same degree day accumulations:

The first scenario sees a massive shift in diurnal temperatures with record daytime highs and very cool nights. The daily temperatures average out at 70 degrees and provide a monthly degree day accumulation of: 70 degrees less 50 degrees times 30 days for a total monthly accumulation of 600 degree days.

The second scenario has a much tighter stratification of temperatures with the highs in the mid 80s and the lows holding the daytime heat into the mid 50s. The average daily temperature here is also 70 degrees which would provide the same 600 degree day accumulation as the first scenario.

Now, let’s bring it home - literally. If your living environment were to maintain a constant 70 degree temperature for any given 30 day period, you would experience 600 degree days as well. And, while the degree day accumulation is equal in both scenarios, they would certainly produce very different wines, but both those wines could well be enjoyed in your constant 70 degree environment – albeit with separate and distinct stemware.

And with that profound concept resonating throughout the vastness of your mind, we bid you “a fond adieu.” (Say it out loud…)

Kindest Regards,


Dena & Ernie (The Recovering Accountant)