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Kramer Vineyards

 

 
Kramer Vineyards
 
May 28, 2020 | Kramer Vineyards

Game of Clones Q & A

These vines have the same DNA

What is a clone?

An organism or cell, or group of organisms or cells, produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical. In viticulture, clones are cut from a “mother vine” to grow new vines. These cuttings are genetically identical to the original vine and one another.

If new grapevines are from a “mother vine” and are genetically identical, then how are there different clones?

Spontaneous mutation! The genome for Pinot Noir was mapped in 2007. In the process, it was discovered that Pinot Noir has many "jumping genes." This refers to parts of the DNA code that move, creating gaps that cause mutation. If you've ever seen an ear of corn with a rainbow of kernels, it's the same mechanism at work. Pinot Noir is thousands of years old, with hundreds of mutations that have successfully been identified and reproduced. These mutations are what we’re referring to when we discuss clones. Most of these clones are from France, but unique clones have been identified in Switzerland, California, and Oregon.

Jumping genes are present in almost all living cells. 50% of the human genome are jumping genes; up to 90% of the maize genome are jumping genes!

All clones of Pinot Noir

You probably have to be an expert to notice clonal variations, right?

Not really. Consider this: Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are clones of Pinot Noir! They are mutations of Pinot Noir where the part of the DNA that determines skin color jumped, creating clones that are so distinctive, we think of them as different grape varieties altogether. If you can tell the difference between white and red wine, your palate is expert enough to explore clones further. (For more on this topic, see Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir Blanc: What's the Difference?)

Neat, but what does this mean for my wine?

Quite a lot! We grow nine clones of Pinot Noir at our estate vineyard. We observe many differences between the clones in the field, from cluster shape, to skin thickness, ripening time, and flavor profile. There are many more clones of Pinot available, although not all are suited to our cool climate. In addition, not all clones are ideal for red wines! The clones grown in Champagne for sparkling production are rarely the same clones planted in Burgundy for red wines.

Here are the three main clones in our vineyard, and the subjects of our single clone Pinot Noir series:

The nine clones of Pinot Noir from our estate vineyard.

Pommard

  • From Pommard, Burgundy
  • Medium-sized clusters, often with shoulders
  • Produces balanced, elegant wines suitable for aging
  • One of the first clones of Pinot Noir brought into the US
  • The first clone of Pinot Noir planted at Kramer Vineyards in 1984
  • Major component in our Estate, Cardiac Hill, Rebecca’s Reserve, and Heritage Pinot Noir wines

Dijon 115

  • One of the numbered clones from the University in Dijon, Burgundy
  • Early ripening, small berries with intense flavors. Produces wines with finesse.
  • One of the earliest Dijon clones available to us.
  • First planted in 1992 along with Pommard in the Rebecca’s Reserve block. Also a component in Cardiac Hill and Estate Pinot Noirs, depending on vintage.
  • Our selection of this clone was based on the advice given to us by a winemaker from Burgundy who claimed it was rising in popularity there.

Dijon 777

  • Also one of the numbered clones from the University in Dijon, Burgundy
  • Early ripening. Produces small clusters and berries. Wines have rich color and more tannins, with a very spicy profile.
  • First planted in 2001. Usually blended into the Estate Pinot Noir.
  • In 2019, we field grafted 0.6 acres of Muller-Thurgau over to 777, tripling our acreage.

Keep in mind--grapevines are extremely sensitive to vineyard site, and the same clone will express itself uniquely when planted in different locations. We see this in our own 22-acre vineyard. The vine's response to its environment is essential to understanding the concept of terroir. While clonal selection is significant, it's one of many variables that influence a wine's personality.

If you wish to explore this subject further, check out our single clone Pinot Noir in the online store >> 

 

 

Time Posted: May 28, 2020 at 5:22 PM
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
 
May 16, 2020 | Kramer Vineyards

Visiting Kramer Vineyards During Covid-19

Although our business has been temporarily disrupted, we are open regular hours for curbside pickup. We'll keep this page updated as the situation evolves; thank you for supporting small family wineries during this time.
 

I have wine to pick up. Can I do that? How?

Yes. Our tasting room is open for bottle sales and wine club pick ups 11 am to 5 pm, Thursdays – Mondays. There’s no need to make an appointment. The way our tasting room is situated, we can see incoming traffic. We’ll greet you on the patio in our ‘outdoor store’ and get you what you need.

Do you have a no contact pick up option?

Yes. Call us before you come up to make arrangements, or call us from the parking lot, and we’ll bring the wine to your vehicle. The tasting room number is (503) 662-4545.

Can I have my wine shipped?

Yes. Shipping is included on orders of $100 or more to OR, WA, and CA; and $150 or more to orders to the rest of the contiguous US where wine shipments are allowed.

Are you open for tasting?

Not yet. We want the tasting experience to be safe and relaxing for everyone. Between the tasting room remodel and the new rules, we still have some details to work out.

When will you be open for tasting again?

We’re tentatively planning to resume tasting service on June 4. When we reopen, the tasting experience will be a little different. Tastings will be seated and by appointment only. Groups are welcome, but please limit your party to 10 people.

Can we buy wine and drink it in the vineyard?

Not yet. We're at least two weeks out from having adequate guest seating for consumption onsite.

What about your summer events? Are the winemaker dinners still happening?

Sadly, our summer events are cancelled, including the winemaker dinners. With all the uncertainty about the next phase, anticipated crowd size restrictions, social distancing, and sanitation protocols, event planning is impractical.

Are you taking Harvest Host reservations?

Not right now. Non-essential travel is not allowed in Phase 1; overnight and non-essential trips, including recreational day trips should be avoided. Further, the state has stipulated that residents of a county that has not reopened are advised to refrain from making trips to counties that are open. 

How are you guys doing during through all this?

We’re just fine, all things considered! It’s very strange not getting to visit with our regular guests. But otherwise, there’s plenty of space and things to do on the farm! We are more concerned about your wellbeing and our community than we are for ourselves right now. Drink small, eat small, buy small, and we thank you for your support.

Have a question we haven't addressed here? Contact us.

Time Posted: May 16, 2020 at 3:50 PM
Kramer Vineyards
 
May 14, 2020 | Kramer Vineyards

The Other 4%: Beyond Pinot Noir

Noble varieties make up the majority of the vineyard acreage in the Willamette Valley, but new and emerging grapes are also part of our story.

The Willamette Valley is world famous for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, but this region is more rich, diverse, and complex than any one variety. Pinot Noir is righfully our signature grape, but there's much left to explore.

When we started our vineyard in 1984, we planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. As we matured as winegrowers, we wondered about the potential of other cool climate varieties. Our curiosity is what led us to plant the relatively unknown Müller-Thurgau. That endeavor has been wildly successful, inspiring us to grow our collection of esoteric grapes to include Carmine, Grüner Veltliner, Marquette, and Pinot Meunier. 

Müller-Thurgau, planted in 1986; 2.25 acres

In the early 1980s, owner Keith Kramer took a vineyard management class with a fellow who was especially excited about Müller-Thurgau for Oregon. "He wouldn't shut up about it, so we bought some when we had the opportunity in the mid-80s," he says. The wine was a hit, so vines at our estate soon followed. We've found it to be very productive at our site, yielding flavorful fruit even in the most challenging vintages. We’ve made wines in a range of styles from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet to dessert, even sparkling. Both the sparkling and still wines have become quite popular and are usually the top sellers in the tasting room. In 2018, Wine Enthusiast recognized us as a Notable Müller-Thurgau Producer in the US.
Flavor profile: Peach, starfruit, lychee, passionfruit, mango, lime, gooseberry, and sweet basil.
Current releases2018 Celebrate Sparkling Müller-Thurgau2018 Müller-Thurgau Estate.

 


 

 

 

 

Grüner Veltliner, planted in 2010; 0.5 acres

We planted Grüner Veltliner with the intention of making a crisp, dry, and expressive white wine. The signature white grape of Austria, Grüner is famous for its peach and white pepper notes, and great versatility for pairing with food. Early harvests yielded fruit with high acidity that made more sense for our sparkling program. Starting in 2017, we began to divide the harvests between the cooler east side for sparkling, and the warmer west side for a still wine. Fun fact: Grüner Veltliner produces clusters that are ten times the size of Pinot Noir!
Flavor profile: Lemon, lime, cucumber, peach, white flowers, freshly cut grass, green apple, and pear.
Current releases2018 Celebrate Sparkling Grüner Veltliner2018 Grüner Veltliner Estate

 

Carmine, planted in 1989; 1 acre

Carmine was created in 1946 at UC Davis by Dr. Harold Olmo. This cross of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Merlot was developed to grow in the cooler, coastal regions of California. Olmo's vision never caught on as intended, and in the 1970s, these vines traveled north to Courting Hill Vineyard in Banks, Oregon. The vineyard owner, and Oregon wine legend Jim Leyden, introduced Keith Kramer to this grape variety, gifting him our first Carmine vines in 1989. We've learned much about this late ripening, thick-skinned grape, both in the vineyard and the winery. Our Carmine wines are dark red in color, and typically have herbaceous aromas and peppery notes. It has inherited a lot of flavors from its Cabernet Sauvignon grandparent, principally dark fruit, dark chocolate and the occasional hint of mint. 
Flavor profile: Dried cranberries, maraschino cherries, cinnamon, anise, bell pepper, and cracked peppercorns.
Current release2015 Carmine 'Big Red'

 

 

 

 

Marquette, planted in 2010; 0.5 acres

Developed by the University of Minnesota in 2006 for extremely cold climates, Marquette is a complex hybrid. What caught our attention is that Pinot Noir is on the family tree. It took seven years for any wine to come from this effort, as the cool Willamette Valley is too warm for Marquette. The plants are several weeks ahead of everything else in our vineyard, resulting in some unique challenges, from inclement weather during critical growth periods, to early ripening (for more on this subject, see 27 Blocks: Harvest in a Bottle). To balance out Marquette's big personality, we coferment it with grapes sourced throughout our estate vineyard.
Flavor profile: Cherries, blackcurrants and blackberries, tobacco, leather
Current release27 Blocks

 

Time Posted: May 14, 2020 at 3:12 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
Kramer Vineyards
 
May 23, 2018 | Kramer Vineyards

Wines for Barbecues and Cookouts

With grilling and cookout season around the corner, it’s time to stock up on wines for summer entertaining. Second-generation Willamette Valley winegrower Kramer Vineyards produces both still and sparkling rosés. The winery’s General Manager and grilling enthusiast Becky Kramer shares her top picks for selecting wines for your next barbecue.

“Always have plenty of chilled sparkling wine and rosé on hand. They’re some of the most food-friendly wines out there! The combination of refreshing, bright acidity and fruity flavors really works with the savory smokiness of the grill. A dry rosé can pair with everything from shellfish to pulled pork sliders, ribs, burgers and sausages—even the potato salad.”

The Willamette Valley is synonymous with Pinot Noir, and Kramer has plenty of experience pairing this with salmon, pork chops, lamb, chicken and game birds. “Oregon Pinot noir is quite versatile with grilled foods too,” she notes, “it’s inherently earthy and smoky, often spicy, and the red or dark fruitiness pops nicely without dominating the meal.” If beef is on the menu, she’ll open something darker, like a Syrah or Rhône blend. “Beef usually needs wines with more tannins, so reach for something that will stain your teeth.”

At her own grill, Becky says she loves to cook meat of all types, but drumsticks are her favorite, “there’s something incredibly satisfying about standing over the grill with tongs in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.” Her favorite wine to serve? Rosé of course, “still or sparkling, as long as it’s dry.”

Becky’s fondness for grilling was fueled by her childhood growing up in wine country. “We have a hill that overlooks the vineyard and is our favorite spot to grill with friends. In the summertime, we’ll host causal cookouts and everyone brings good sides and wine to share while the meat or fish is cooking. It’s a wonderful communal experience in a relaxed atmosphere, and the view is amazing.”

Kramer Vineyards is releasing a new collection of rosé wines from its estate vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, just in time for barbecue season.

2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir
2017 Rosé of Carmine
2017 Rosé of Pinot Gris        
2017 Celebrate Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir
2017 Celebrate Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Gris

Time Posted: May 23, 2018 at 9:23 PM
Kramer Vineyards
 
March 1, 2018 | Kramer Vineyards

Interview With Trudy Kramer

KV: How did you get in to wine?  
Trudy: I bought a winemaking book in 1970. I thought it might be fun, and it looked really interesting, because you could make wine from lots of things, not just wine grapes. It was winter, and there were oranges in the grocery store for a very reasonable price, so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. One gallon!
 
KV: Was it any good?
Trudy: It was very good! I was kind of surprised.
 
KV: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a winemaker?
Trudy: Fast forward ten years, it was 1980, and I was taking a Wines of the World appreciation class from Matt Kramer in Portland. And he had a Burgundy night. The wines actually came from his cellar, and the last one of the night was a fantastic red Burgundy that made me stop and think, wow, we should be able to make something this good in Oregon. I hadn’t tasted that many Burgundies before, and this one stopped me in my tracks. I was in total awe of that wine.
 
KV: Do you know what wine it was?
Trudy: I think it was a DRC, but I don’t remember the vintage.
 
KV: How did you come to find the property that would be the future Kramer Vineyards?  
Trudy: We came into Forest Grove, and went into a small realtor and he knew of a property for sale on Olson Road that might work. We looked at other properties, and realized we wanted to start from scratch. The Gaston property made sense because there was so much open land, and we could basically mow and plant right away. Also, Elk Cove was right down the road, and we like their wines, and the aspect of the land was right. Plus all these things were happening that was very encouraging around the time we bought the property in 1983. The first Oregon Winegrape Growers guide came out, and then there was the Cool Climate Viticulture Seminar in Eugene in 1984. There was just a lot of great energy about the Oregon wine industry at that time.
 
KV: Did you have a mentor in the business, or were you on your own?
Trudy: I think we were pretty much on our own, but we definitely took advice from others in the industy. Jim Leyden of Courting Hill Vineyard was very encouraging on the vineyard side of things. Of course, Rich Cushman. I took a winemaking class from him at Clackamas Community College in 1984.
 
KV: What highlights or challenges during those first few years have had a lasting impact?
Trudy: Well, the first time we ever received grapes. We got our license to process grapes at 1pm and were sorting by 5pm. And then we realized we didn’t know how to operate the press. The directions said to use water, but our water pressure wasn’t high enough. So we eventually decided to use an air compressor, which was much more effective. And that was really the start of our problem-solving, which is essential for this business. It’s always an adventure trying to figure out how to make the equipment work right.
At that time, the standard was to buy land, plant grapes, and make wine there. There were a whole lot less wineries, of course. The growth we’ve seen in the number of wineries and in wine retail has been phenomenal. That model has changed a great deal. There’s a lot more options now for people who want to make wine.
 
KV: What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in wine?
Trudy: Go for it! There are a lot of women in the wine business in Oregon at all levels. There’s a lot of opportunity here. Don’t be intimidated.

KV: If you could drink any wine in the world, what would it be?
Trudy: Oh that’s a toughie. I guess I’d have to go back to Burgundy and drink more DRC.
 
Time Posted: Mar 1, 2018 at 12:01 AM
Kramer Vineyards
 
February 19, 2018 | Kramer Vineyards

Why We’re Mad for Müller-Thurgau

History

Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety created by Dr. Hermann Müller from the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in the 1880s. The goal was to cross Riesling, capturing its rich, complex flavors, with the earlier ripening Sylvaner. However, neither of these goals was achieved, nor was Sylvaner crossed with Riesling. DNA fingerprinting has revealed that Müller-Thurgau is a cross of Riesling and a grape called Madeleine Royale. The latter, as it turns out, is a cross of Pinot and Trolliger. Most widely planted in Germany, Müller-Thurgau is also found in Austria, Northern Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Japan, and of course, the United States.

How we discovered MT

In 1980, vineyard owner Keith Kramer took a viticulture class at Erath every other Saturday for three months. The instructor Al Holstein, had some Müller-Thurgau planted in his vineyard. This was very exciting to another student in the class, who peppered Holstein with questions about the grape. Keith was not very interested in Müller-Thurgau initially, but the guy “made such a stink about it” that when the Kramers had an opportunity to buy some fruit from Courting Hill Vineyard a few years later they decided to try it. That first wine was a very fruity, off-dry white that had enough potential that they went ahead and procured some starts from Sokol Blosser in the mid-1980s.

Müller-Thurgau emerges as our flagship white

Müller-Thurgau was among the first wines in our tasting room for our grand opening in 1990, and it quickly gained a following. We increased the acreage in our estate vineyard to three, which does not sound like much, but this variety routinely produces 4-6 tons to the acre, double or triple the yield compared to Pinot Noir. As our production grew, we experimented with assorted styles, including a sparkling wine, a dessert wine, a dry barrel-fermented wine, and a late harvest wine. The stainless, fruity Estate bottling is our most popular wine, followed by the Celebrate sparkling wine.

It is easy to see why Muller-Thurgau is a tasting room favorite. In a region full of Pinot Gris, and to a lesser extent Chardonnay and Riesling, Müller-Thurgau stands out. Its unique flavor profile with starfruit, lychee, melon, hints of orange blossom and gardenia, gentle acidity with a sweet and sour effect on the palate makes it easy to sip. Plus, Müller ripens at lower sugar levels, so the alcohols in the finished wines are lower than many table wines, usually around 11%.

Time Posted: Feb 19, 2018 at 2:55 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