Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: Bud Break 2023
Hello and Welcome,
It’s bud break time in Willamette Valley wine country! After what seemed like an eternity of cold, rainy/snowy weather the vines were treated to a few sunny warm days! They responded in kind by opening their new buds to the 2023 growing season on April 30th. Ah, Pinot Noir on the vine, well almost.
The Big Picture
Typically, we see this sort of activity around the 15th of the month. What follows-on is a two month schedule with the vines flowering around the 15th of June. Pinot Noir berries begin to turn color from green to purple around August 15th and then The Great Cluster Pluck visits itself upon the Willamette Valley around October 15th. More or less…
The wild cherry trees are also in on the action. From a distance, their blossoms look like popcorn, and plenty of it. But the timing is really about the only thing they share. First off, the vines are opening their buds to grow shoots and leaves; the flowers come out in about 2 months. The cherry trees lead with their blossoms and will grow leaves to support ripening their fruit later.
And while the cherry blossoms are often celebrated as a first rite of spring, you won’t see too many cherries without the bees making the rounds. Typically, the later the blossoms come out, the more bee activity there is leading to more pollination and a bumper crop of cherries! And that is good for everyone, unless it rains before they are harvested… and the cherries split. But that’s farming – plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Pinot Noir vines in the Willamette Valley require no such intervention, they are self-pollinating. So if the day ever arrives where we have no bees to pollinate our crops, we will still have wine. It is Mother Nature that decides how many wine berries there will be on each cluster. Warm sunny weather with gentle breezes from the east will set the most wine berries. An “onshore flow” of cool rainy weather from the Pacific Ocean, aka the June Gloom, will have a dampening effect on fruit set.
What Does That Mean, and Why Should I Care?
But it’s not all bad (we still have plenty of time for that). Too many wine berries on a cluster is not the preferred outcome. It means the berries are packed in so tight that rot can get started in the center of the cluster. A looser cluster with fewer wine berries allows the moisture inside the cluster to dry out, thus inhibiting any mildew and botrytis from getting a toe hold. That’s the best option from a wine quality point of view.
Save the date! Pinot Noir flowers will be coming out before you know it. While there is no hard and fast rule of when, we can say that if it stays warm it will be sooner. If it is cooler, then it will be later. We know, not especially helpful but factually correct. Kind of like modern day hi-tech chat support…
But when we do see flowers, it is time to get out the calendar. Add 105 days to the flowering date and we will arrive at The Great Cluster Pluck! But that depends GREATLY on Mother Nature’s mood. Harvest can be DELAYED and not start until the last week of October, or BEGIN as early as mid-August. The start date of harvest can vacillate wildly, and often does. But we will harvest Syrah and Viognier in November, and you can take that to the bank!
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Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means.® is an unfinished set of autobiographical stories reflecting our agrarian endeavor, marked by “unfortunate, but not uncommon” experiences and catalogued by vintage.
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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. Hello? 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, New York, New Jersey, 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.
Dena & Ernie