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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Friday, July 31, 2009

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2009 July


Now let's see, where did we leave off... Ah yes, we are preparing for the harvest of the year!

Well, the vines are certainly doing their part. They have full vibrant green canopies, enough fruit to make at least one bottle of wine (each), and enough photosynthetic surface to power a small factory. Wait a minute, they are small factories! They just have not been signed up for "cap and trade" yet. I bet those Cabernet vines could use the credits.

Thankfully our Congress is in recess, if only for a month, and is taking time to attend local "Town Hall" meetings. This is the citizenry's opportunity to provide direct input and "Specific High Intensity Training" to our elected representatives. I encourage everyone to vigorously participate, regardless of your rootstock choice.

Now, let me tell you what it has been like here for the vines in July 2009. We have recorded about 532 degree days for the month of July, providing a total of 1,100 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st. This compares with 531 degree days last July and comparative total of 993 degree days for 2008 (consistent, no?) and 1,054 degree days for 2007. In 2006 we had accumulated 1,246 degree days through the end of July. Personally, I think consistency is usually the hobgoblin of large homogeneous organizations, or disorganizations like... Congress, but I digress.

During July, our highest high was 101.0 and our lowest high was 997.1 Our lowest low was 41.0 and our highest low was 43.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for July was a blowout of 0.93 inches and was 0.90 inches above last July's rain of 0.03. Rainfall since April 1st through July 31st was 7.93, and is 5.20 inches more than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 2.73 inches.

Let's explore degree days for a minute. Conceptually, degree days are the way humans try and understand the vines response to temperature, and more importantly the growing season in total. The traditional formula is to average the high and low temperature of the day and subtract 50. Resulting positive number gives us the degree days for that day. The vascular tissue of the vine (think sap in a tree), is usually pretty dormant below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So we make this a baseline in our calculations.

Here is where I differ from the traditional program. I use data loggers to take temperature readings every 20 minutes, day or night, rain, wind or shine. This gives us the average temperature for the day, and we download the information each month for a monthly total, and finally an April through October summation (Northern hemisphere growing season.) This gives us a more accurate reading of what the vine is experiencing. That, and we simply ask them.

August will bring the third, and hopefully, final hedge pass. We are thinning and making all the necessary preparations for September 23rd. This is the 105th day past flowering.