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Kramer Vineyards

 

 
Kramer Vineyards
 
May 23, 2020 | Kramer Vineyards

Five Fizzy Facts About our Celebrate Bubbly

Our first sparkling wines were launched in 2001 under the Celebrate label. Those early releases were made from Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Gris. The collection has since expanded to include Pinot Noir, Grüner Veltliner, Carmine, and rosé. As the program grows, we highlight how this series of sparkling wines differs from the vast majority of bubbly available on the market today:

The Kramer estate vineyard.

They are 100% varietal wines.

Most sparkling wines are blends. Such cuvées may include base wines from multiple vineyard sites, grape varieties, and/or vintages. By contrast, our Celebrate wines are made from the grapes that we grow in our estate vineyard, from single grape varieties, and all are vintage dated.


The Celebrate sparkling wines are often made from under-the-radar grapes.

Although 96% of the Willamette Valley consists of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, or Chardonnay, our cool climate has the potential to grow dozens of other undiscovered varieties. We’ve found Müller-Thurgau, Grüner Veltliner, and Carmine all make wonderful sparkling wines, and are among our bestsellers in the tasting room.

They ferment once.

For traditional or Charmat method sparkling wines, the wine is fermented once in bulk, then again in the bottle or in a tank. This second fermentation creates the bubble, and raises the alcohol level 1 to 1.5%.  That amount sounds small, but it's a monumental shift in balance, and effects every winemaking decision from the early harvest through bottling. The fruit for force carbonated wines can be harvested a little later, for wines with increased ripeness and flavor development. These wines actually taste like the grapes they're made from! 

The Celebrate Pinot Gris has true varietal character

Keith Kramer is a hands-on vineyard owner

We get the bubbles in the bottle through a force-carbonation technique developed by owner Keith Kramer.

Most force-carbonated sparking wines are injected with carbon dioxide on the bottling line, resulting in coarse, soda pop like bubbles. We believed a smaller bubble was possible with force carbonation, and starting in 2004, owner Keith Kramer developed the system we use today. A week before bottling, the wine is transferred into a custom tank that chills the wine down, while gradually raising the pressure. This slow infusion of sparkle into the cold wine results in fine, plentiful bubbles.

They aren't trying to be Champagne, and that's a good thing.

There’s nowhere else in the world that has our rare combination of geography, geology, climate, ability, and enthusiasm to innovate. While we are inspired by other regions and wines, there's a limit to how much we can learn from them. Our site, winery, and culture inevitably produces fruit with a signature that's unique. Our best wines capture these qualities, and sometimes that means we have to blaze our own trail.

Celebrate Rosé of Pinot Noir

Click here to shop our Sparkling Wines >> 

Time Posted: May 23, 2020 at 3:31 PM
Kramer Vineyards
 
March 9, 2020 | Kramer Vineyards

Meet Piquette: Wine Just Got Cooler

Oregon sparkling wine house modernizes the ancient spritzer

Piquette is a refreshing vinous drink with lower alcohol; fizzy, tart, and refreshing, with pure effervescence and natural fruit flavors, it’s the perfect low calorie, low sugar alternative for a balanced lifestyle.

This spring, Kramer Vineyards launches Piquette, a nearly forgotten old-world beverage made from grape pressings and water. Known for its innovative sparkling wine program with offerings including sparkling Grüner Veltliner, Kramer saw an opportunity to offer something different.

Piquette might be as old as wine itself. The earliest stories are of Iora, an ancient Greek or Roman drink made from wine grape pressings that were rehydrated, pressed, fermented, and diluted further. Another story is that French vineyard workers were served a version of Piquette at lunch, so as not to interfere with their afternoon productivity.

 

 

“I saw a creative challenge in capturing so many trends with Piquette. It is the intersection of rosé, sparkling, low sugar, lower alcohol, single serving packaging—and it’s adjacent to the cider, craft beer, and hard seltzer categories.” said second generation winemaker, Kim Kramer.

Kramer was inspired to revive this beverage of the farm hand during the harvest of 2019. To make the Piquette, Kramer upcycled the pressings of their Müller-Thurgau grapes. The skins and pulp were reserved and rehydrated with well water, allowing the release of sugars and flavors. After steeping for four days, the grapes were pressed again, along with marc from a red ferment, giving the liquid a rosy glow. The must fermented in stainless, and was bottled November 2019, finishing fermentation under a crown cap to create the gentle sparkle. Fermented dry with just 7.5% alcohol, this crisp, easy-to-drink refresher pairs well with just about every sunny occasion.

Kramer Vineyards Piquette will be released on March 19, 2020. 


 

Kramer Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery, now in its second generation. For 36 years, they have been growing grapes at their sustainably farmed vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Kramer specializes in producing cool climate white, red, and sparkling wines at their property in Gaston, 30 miles west of Portland.

 

 

Time Posted: Mar 9, 2020 at 5:22 PM
Kimberley Kramer
 
January 13, 2020 | Kimberley Kramer

What Wines We’re Looking Forward to in 2020

Piquette

Made from rehydrated grape pressings, Piquette is a lower-alcohol beverage full of fizz and fruit. We read about this nearly forgotten beverage of the ancient farm worker during harvest and decided to give it a try with Müller-Thurgau. Grape solids usually go to the compost pile after pressing, but there’s still sugar and flavor in those skins and pulp that can be extracted after a few days of steeping in water and pressed again. We were delighted to find this humble drink to be tart and citrusy, with a gentle sparkle on the palate. The finished alcohol is 7.5%, perfect for a sunny midday refresher.

Bottled in single-serving 12-ounce longnecks and sharable 750 mL sparkling formats, the Piquette will be released on the first day of spring, March 19.

The Kramers bottling the Piquette November, 2019

The Pétillant-Naturel label features a porcupine, a reference to the wild nature of the style.

Pétillant-Naturel

Also known as méthode ancestrale, this is the oldest method of sparkling production, in which the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is complete, finishing in the bottle. The active yeast consumes the residual sugar from the grapes, generating pressure, resulting in a gentle fizz with loads of yellow fruit flavors. Typically, the wine is not disgorged, and will have a cloudy appearance from the spent yeast in the bottle.

We released a small 20-case lot of Pinot Gris made in this style over the summer, and it sold out quickly. Between the strong response in the tasting room and our desire to grow in our knowledge of sparkling wines, we have increased production this year. Look for the 2019 Pétillant-Naturel Pinot Gris this spring.

2017 Single Clone Pinot Noir Series

We’ve been bottling standalone clones of Pinot Noir since the 2014 vintage (click here for more explanation). In 2017, we expanded the collection to include five clones: Pommard, Wädenswil, 115, 667, and 777. These are wines we make for ourselves, to learn more about clonal selection and expression, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised that these wines have gained a following over the last few years. We’ll be releasing the elegant 2017s throughout the spring and summer and will host a comparative tasting on April 25 & 26 (reservations recommended).

 


We grow nine clones of Pinot Noir--note their distinctive cluster shapes

 

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2020 at 4:37 PM
Kramer Vineyards
 
December 28, 2017 | Kramer Vineyards

A Big One for Sparkling Wines

Kramer Vineyards harvest larger than ever before

With sparkling wines comprising 40 percent of their total production, Kramer Vineyards toasts the largest harvest in its 30-year history with a record-breaking offering of sparkling wine. To further celebrate, the family owned winery will offer 14 sparkling wine releases.
 
“We’ve always loved sparkling wines. They are extremely challenging to make because they’re wines of such precision,” said Winemaker Kim Kramer, who’s been producing sparkling wines since the early 2000s. “It’s rewarding to see the delight these wines bring to people’s faces and to see them come back for more.”
 
Dedicated to sharing the delight of its fizzy wines while quenching the thirst of a growing sparkling wine demographic, Kramer Vineyards opened a sparkling tasting room in Carlton in 2013 and soon started its own sparkling wine club. The winery has also been featured in many of Oregon’s sparkling wine events including Bubbles Fest.
 
To celebrate, Kramer Vineyards is releasing a new collection of traditional method sparkling wines from its estate vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. These wines are all bottle fermented, and composed of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and/or Pinot Meunier.

 

  • Brut, NV
  • Brut Reserve, NV
  • 2015 Brut                           
  • 2015 Brut Rosé
  • 2015 Brut, Zero Dosage
  • Brut, NV Zero Dosage

 

 
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Kim Kramer at (503) 662-4545 or email at kim@kramervineyards.com.
Time Posted: Dec 28, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Kimberley Kramer
 
December 20, 2017 | Kimberley Kramer

Dosage in Our Sparkling Wines

What is dosage?

Dosage is a finishing syrup added to most champagnes and sparkling wines after the second fermentation in the bottle. Adding very small amounts of sugar can help to balance high acid wines, emphasize fruit, and improve texture. For one of the best explanations on this subject, see A Seasoning for Champagne, by Peter Liem.

How much dosage do we use? 

In the cellar, the first introduction to our sparkling wines is often a few months after it's been bottled, to see how the second fizz-creating fermentation is coming along. Tasting a sparkling wine for the first time in this raw state, dry, and dancing on cells of suspended yeast, is always a thrill.

Once the fermentation is complete, we begin to assess the necessity of dosage, and prepare a range of wines with sugar levels up to 10 grams per liter. In our history of making sparkling wines, the dosage levels have ranged from 3 to 8 grams per liter. However, these preferences aren't always clear cut, and we often have a fondness for the crisp, tart, and very dry wines without dosage as well. 

Sometimes Less is More

The low to zero dosage movement is a relatively recent trend, and more commonly found among grower-producers than big sparkling houses. While we certainly identify with the grower model, our interest in the style is rooted the idea that with a great fruit source, followed by good fermentation and cellar practices, that perhaps the best course of action is to take none, and let the wine speak for itself.

Time Posted: Dec 20, 2017 at 1:03 PM
Kimberley Kramer
 
December 19, 2017 | Kimberley Kramer

Vintage vs Nonvintage in Sparkling Wines

Vintage describes the year of the grape harvest, and in the US, wines with a vintage year on the label indicate that 95% of the grapes were from that year. By contrast, nonvintage wines are blends of wines from grapes that were harvested from two or more years. Seventy to eighty percent of Champagne is nonvintage, with blending specialists carefully combining dozens, sometimes hundreds, of base wines together to reflect a house style, the signature of the producer. Vintage wines are rarer, and it is common for a sparkling house to produce vintage wines in years that are deemed to be of superior quality.

Our goals with the sparkling wines are different than that of many large sparkling houses. The two nonvintage wines we produce are estate grown, and therefore have site expression. The composition of the nonvintage wines are as follows:





 



In addition to these details, one distinguishing feature of note is that the base wines for the Brut Reserve were fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels. This treatment of the base wine results in more richness, palate weight, and structure than in stainless.

So, while these nonvintage wines are wines of place, the 2015 vintage Brut is a wine of both place and time. 2015 was warm and early, with higher than average yields. The fruit was remarkably balanced however, with excellent structure. What distinguishes this vintage for the Brut especially is the amount of Pinot Meunier in the blend, 22 percent, up from just 15 percent in 2014. We are still learning what the Pinot Meunier contributes to the wine, but one of the early observations is the enhanced midpalate presence and fruity aromas. The fruit for this wine is sourced from blocks dedicated to our sparkling program, and the blend is determined by the yields at harvest.


 

 

With base wines of different vintages, blends, and dosage, these wines seem quite different. But, how does this translate in the glass? Early observations are that the nonvintage wines boast a finer, more delicate mousse, with pronounced yeastiness and an increased emphasis on tree fruit flavors. By contrast, the vintage wines are incredibly fresh and light, with a fine, yet plentiful bead, showing much more minerality and citrus notes. The tone and texture of these young wines will change as they evolve in the bottle, and it is always exciting to track their progress.

Time Posted: Dec 19, 2017 at 2:46 PM
Kimberley Kramer
 
September 24, 2017 | Kimberley Kramer

Harvest 2017 Begins

Although most of vintage 2017 has been warm and dry, the season had a bit of a delayed start. We had budbreak in late April, about two weeks behind average for our site. April showers continued well into May, so when the sun finally came out, the canopy filled in quickly. The vineyard reached 50% bloom on June 24. This is a significant milestone, as harvest for the Pinot Noir will occur about 110 days from that stage, around October 12. Once summer weather arrived in mid-June, we racked up the growing degree days, catching up with 2016 by August. The next growth stage, 50% Veraison, occurred on August 28, supporting our estimate of an October 12 harvest date.

Grapes for sparkling wines are harvested a bit earlier to capture the naturally higher acidity. For these wines, we are looking for sugar levels in the 18-20 Brix range, compared to 21-24 Brix for the table wines. The photo above is from our first round of sampling and testing the sparkling varieties for ripeness on September 6.

Our sparkling harvest began on September 15, with the Pinot Meunier (the image to the right is of the Pinot Meunier harvest) and the Muscat. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were picked on September 17, followed by Pinot Blanc on September 24. We also received fruit from vineyards in Banks, Dundee, Gaston and Yamhill.

Traditional sparkling enthusiasts can look forward to Brut, Blanc de Noirs, Blanc de Blancs, and Brut Rosé from this vintage, and some zero dosage bottlings of these cuvees. For the Celebrate collection, those grapes are still hanging on the vine…

Time Posted: Sep 24, 2017 at 6:00 PM