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!


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

- Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile - September 2016


"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


"...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


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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2007 June


This month has just flown by Why, it seems like just last week I was writing the May climate summary. Here is what June felt like if you lived in the vineyard (keep your head down when the hedger comes by.)

We have recorded about 303 degree days for the month of June, providing a total of 497 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1. This compares with 254 degree days last June and comparative total of 514 degree days. Year to date, the percentage difference (3.42%) is about equal to "the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle" or "the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet." I like mine with peaches.

During June, our highest high was 93.2 and our lowest high was 88.7. Our lowest low was 40.2 and our highest low was 42.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for June was 082 inches and was about 0.19 inches less than last June's rain of 1.01. Rainfall since April 1 through June 30th was 4.83 inches, and is 0.99 inches less than last year's Q2 accumulation of 5.82 inches. In other words, we are short about 27,000 gallons per acre from last year during this period, or about 11,400 cases worth.

Second wires are up and the shoots are clipped into place. We are now raising third wires, but I fear the race is lost to exponential growth we are seeing. I have hedging on my mind a little early this year, followed by leaf pull. I have rotated out of sulfur and into Flint for our first post bloom spray due to the Botrytis control. The rest of the season I will rotate with DMIs, other strobies and a blast of Quintec.

Fruit set is generally looking very good. I am seeing some clusters that are much more developed than others. I think bloom was impacted by warm weather at the end of May and then cool and somewhat damp weather during bloom. We could have some clusters ripen significantly earlier than others. This happened to our Dijon clone 114/5C in 2004. We had a shot of rain in late August and a significant portion of the berries split. Please see the enclosed graphs for the high, low and average temperatures during bloom.

These graphs show the high, low and average temperatures from June of this year and 2006 from the data logger most centrally located in the vineyard. The blue line is set at 75 degrees and the red line is at 50. Bloom began for us on June 5th in 2007 and June 8th in 2006.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2007 Flowers aka Bloom


I spotted our first Pinot Noir flowers as of June 5th. This is 3 days ahead of the 2006 growing season and about 10 days before the historical average of June 15th. Based on this information, I predict an above average harvest will occur here between September 15 and October 20.

This year, I used water shoots (aka suckers) to manage vigor during bloom. My intention was to achieve a reasonable set in all blocks. I began removing water shoots about 2 weeks ago in the least vigorous blocks and am finishing with the most vigorous blocks (10, 18 19 and 20) this week. I will report back set information in a couple weeks, after leaf pull.

The law of unintended consequences was also at work. By allowing water shoots to grow at the base of the vines, we had (in theory) less growth to manage in the canopy. I am not convinced shoot positioning was any easier or faster this year, but I believe there was less growth to position by allowing water shoots to divert excess vigor outside of the canopy. This may be an alternative to “kicker canes”, which I have found to be very difficult to manage in a VSP trellis.