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Amalie Robert Estate Privileged Communication: International Pinot Noir Celebration & June Climate Update
Hello and Welcome,
This is the full-month June Climate Update from Amalie Robert Estate. Well, we are in it now. The vines have flowered, we have catch wires clipped in place, the first hedge is done (completing the second is dependent upon the parts supply chain) and the clusters are starting to fill in. Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Vintage 2023 is looking to be following along in the footsteps of 2012. Not too hot, not too cold, not too much rain, vineyard events happening right on schedule. The only thing the vineyard is lacking is drama. And that is OK by us!
The BIG Picture
This is the time of year that the vineyard just looks spectacular. Surrounding our massive walnut, the vines are sporting a full canopy that has been freshly hedged – just beautiful. While other agricultural crops are beautiful in their own right, a well tended vineyard is a work of art. Albeit it takes a lot of effort, mostly by experienced vineyard hands, to get here.
But all of that canopy management is done for a more practical reason than just eye candy. We need the vines all tucked in and hedged up to produce world class wine berries. Because, with world class wine berries, we can produce world class wines. That is why we are here - living the dream. And learning about how that is done is why you are here - so you don’t have to. And the pictures. Dena does a great job with the pictures!
International Pinot Noir Celebration
Amalie Robert Estate is PRIVILEGED to represent Oregon in the International Pinot Noir Celebration this year! Colloquially known as the IPNC (eye PEE n see), it is THE premier summer Pinot Noir event. Over 70 of the world’s premier wineries are featured in this year’s IPNC. That’s right, they invite wineries from all over the world, including European (your a PEE n) wineries.
The event is painstakingly planned and meticulously executed, within reason. If you are attending, please remember this event is put on mostly by farmers, winemakers, volunteers and other wine industry people. Take your time and look around, people watching is part of the experience. You never know who you might meet over a glass of Pinot Noir.
Before you engage in some nefarious activity, remember, people are looking at you, too. Pictures fade with time, but the internet is forever. And drink plenty of water during the event. It makes that 6:30 alarm just a little more manageable.
But mostly, IPNC is a PICNIC for PINOT. Sure, you have to get up early to enjoy the freshly picked berries, oven hot pastries and STRONG coffee, but soon enough you will be immersed in a fine glass of Pinot Noir from some worldly locale.
Then before you know it, it is time for lunch! Those world class wines are inspiration for world class cuisine. Then maybe borrow someone’s dog for some frisbee or take a nap before the pre-dinner alfresco tasting. The alfresco tasting is your opportunity to taste the featured wine from every winery. Half of the wineries on the first afternoon, and the second half the next day. Then off to dinner, with even MORE Pinot Noir! And it is all held outside, because it NEVER rains in Oregon during the IPNC!
Often times the wines poured at the IPNC are simply otherwise unavailable. Take pictures of your favorites or ask the wineries how to source the wines you like. It could be a once in a lifetime tasting experience for you. And get this, the IPNC has a LIBRARY of past vintage wines that circulate during the dinner events. Because they save a few bottles every year to bring out at future events. That, and getting your hands on future vintages is really not practicable.
If you can possibly manage the time, it is a helluva show. You can check IPNC ticket availability here.
We are Living the Dream, so You Don’t Have To!
Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means. ® is our story. An unfinished set of autobiographical stories reflecting our agrarian endeavor, marked by “unfortunate, but not uncommon” experiences and easily referenced by vintage. Irreverently referred to as the FLOG (Farming bLOG), it captures our 20+ year journey of making a winegrowing life in Willamette Valley wine country. The FLOG is available to read on Substack for FREE.
If you are not afraid of commitment, you can even subscribe so as not to miss a single FLOG. Also, FREE. And if you want to see what we think is worth seeing on a more regular basis, follow us on Instagram @AmalieRobert. It’s FREE! It's ALL FREE!
Are you planning to enjoy traveling again, attending Oregon Pinot Camp, and exploring the Willamette Valley? We know you want to! Go ahead, be the smartest person in the room by downloading our FREE guide to the Willamette Valley sub-AVA's! Here are the 11 Willamette Valley sub-AVA’s listed by acreage, as of May 2023:
We are open by appointment for the entire month of June! You can request a tasting appointment with your preferred day and time. Dena will confirm your appointment and create a tasting event specific to your party – that’s the way we do it. We are also a featured winery in the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) this year! If we don’t see you here, maybe we we will see you there.
Keep in mind, wine flies FREE from 32 west coast cities on Alaska Airlines. This includes our two closest airports Eugene (EUG) and Portland (PDX). Amalie Robert Estate is open year-round by appointment for vineyard tours and tastings.
Note: Your appointment may collide with a soaring red-tailed hawk. Raptors are in the air patrolling the vineyard for those pesky gophers and other rodents. We are a dog friendly site, but it's a best practice to keep small dogs close by. You can learn more about who we are and what we believe by taking our Virtual Tour!
Digital Distribution is Here!
We believe the future of wine is DIGITAL Distribution! Say goodbye to sales reps and warehouses, and hello to customer service and WINERY DIRECT relationships!
Bypass the distributor and work DIRECTLY with the winery. This is the future calling! No longer are you constrained by what some distributor decides you can sell. Forget that! You can bypass the distributor and have DIRECT ACCESS to our FULL Portfolio!
Any Wine, Any Place, Any Where, Any Time! The wine comes DIRECTLY from our winery delivered to your restaurant or retail door via FedEx. Usually within a week, or less! And it is fully 3-Tier compliant! All of the logistics and compliance rolled into one without any of the baggage! How cool is that?! ALL 👍 NO 💩.
We are currently offering Digital Distribution in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington. If Digital Distribution sounds like it is too good to be true, let us show you how it can benefit you! Please E-mail Dena@AmalieRobert.com to learn more.
We have been there and had that done to us. And it wasn’t pretty. It seems a large swath of the United States is living through what vintage 2020 was like in the Willamette Valley. The Canadian wildfires are ravaging that country and smoke knows no bounds. You can check the North America AQI (Air Quality Index) here.
It is important to distinguish between forest fires and wildfires. Growing up in Montana, Ernie was aware of forest fires every year. Mostly caused by lightning, or some juvenile delinquent bears that raided a backpackers campsite and found a stash of beer and smokes. Either way, the state saw timber revenue going up in smoke, and put those fires out in a responsible and timely manner.
Wildfires are what happens when forest fires are allowed to migrate into urban areas. No longer are they just burning trees, they are consuming all manner of structures and other human creations. The smoke from wildfires contains more than just woody debris. It is cars, fuel, paint, buildings, lead wrapped wires, factories and something recently known as Forever Chemicals that never go away. That is what you have in wildfire smoke. Not something you want in your lungs, or your wine.
Fortunately, the US is off to a slow start this year. With less than 1,000,000 acres burned so far, we are at a ten-year low (that’s a MILLION acres, just about the size of Rhode Island). But it has been dry, and July and August are coming round the corner. The Willamette Valley is situated between the forests in Washington to the north, Eastern Oregon to the east and California to the south. Depending on the Jetstream, we do have the possibility of some smoke no matter which way the wind blows. That’s farming, hope for the best and plan for the worst.
What an inconsistently consistent Vintage 2023 is for the month of June. The heat accumulation for the month of June is 408.9 Degree Days. This is split 195.6 Degree Days for the first half of the month and 213.3 Degree Days for the second. Total growing season heat accumulation through June stands at 841.5 Degree Days. We would like to see 2,100, by mid-October, but not much more.
The high temperature for the first of the month was 91.0 degrees and 91.2 for the second. The low temperature for the first half of the month was 37.8 degrees, and 41.9 for the second. Like getting an eye exam. Which is better, the first or the second?
All in all, June was a very moderate month. A couple of years back we were sweltering through 118 degrees, and NOT liking it. As is normally the case for June, there was NO measurable precipitation. Growing season to date precipitation remains 7.58 inches.
We close this month with a pretty good feeling about the Willamette Valley’s 2023 Pinot Noir vintage. We see the clusters are significantly smaller than last year, but we have plenty of them to go around. Dry farming always comes down to preserving available soil moisture into the early fall. The first, best hope is we see a little precipitation in early September to extend hang time into October, but we will just have to wait and see about that.
For now anyway, the world is spinning in greased grooves.
Dena & Ernie