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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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2008 July


We now leave July behind us and are looking through August's lens into September. Looks good to me and here is why.

In response to the cool growing conditions year to date, I spent a little more quality time (and a lot of just "tractor" time) with the hedger this year. Our vines seemed to show more apical dominance with the end shoots past the third set of wires and the remaining 90% of the shoots stuck somewhere between the tendril wire and second set of catch wires.

The first hedge removed those shoot tips that were suppressing the growth of the remaining shoot tips, and they got the message. The remaining shoots took about a week to reach the third set of wires. That is when I went for my second hedging pass. The goal was to remove as many shoot tips (not more leaves) as quickly as possible to redirect the vines energy to the clusters. After two more weeks, I completed the third and final hedge.

Fruit set is a bit lighter than last year. While doing cluster weights, I noticed a bit of stem necrosis in blocks that typically do not show excess vigor. Perhaps a result of cool bloom weather? However there is plenty of fruit to be sure, and we will begin thinning in earnest next week. The season has been fairly dry here and the disease pressure has been kept in check. I have adjusted my spray program in anticipation of mid to late October harvest.

"Enough pontification, where are the facts?"

We have recorded about 531 degree days for the month of July, providing a total of 993 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st.  This compares with 557 degree days last July and comparative total of 1,054 degree days for 2007. In 2006 we had accumulated 1,246 degree days through the end of July.

During July, our highest high was 97.9 and our lowest high was 93.2. Our lowest low was 44.7 and our highest low was 46.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for July was 0.03 inches and was 0.36 inches below last July's rain of 0.39. Rainfall since April 1st through July 31st was 2.73 inches, and is 2.49 inches less than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 5.22 inches. So, we are 61 degree days short of last year and missing about 67,613 gallons of water per acre. 

For more information on water in the ethanol process here is what appears to be a Pro Ethanol website. I am not advocating it as good or bad, just that it is.  Interesting that an acre of corn releases ~ 4,000 gallons of water per acre per day. Clearly, it makes a difference to the "net energy produced" if you have to irrigate the corn or if Mother Nature handles that.

I am curious about our transpiration rate per cubic foot of canopy. Clearly in a dry-farmed, hillside vineyard it can't be any more than the rainfall amount. Any takers for that question? I checked here, but no joy.