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


© 2005 – 2017 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Friday, April 30, 2010

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2010 April

Hello and Welcome back!!

After a long, seemingly endless winter’s respite, we are back in the vineyard business. We know this because we saw bud break in the vineyard on April 16th! This is about 6 days earlier than last year. The key point about bud break is to check the tender new growth for winter freeze injury or mite damage. Fortunately, we are free of both of these blights. The real key vineyard date is flowering, usually in mid-June. Stay tuned.

The vineyard has wintered over well. The fall cover crop of Oats and Peas took nicely. This combination helps us in many ways including holding the soil on the hill in spite of the 35.87 inches of rain we received from October 2009 through March 2010. For those of you new to this report, each inch of rain represents about 27,500 gallons of water per acre.

This fall we received about 986,425 gallons of rainfall per acre and a stunning 29.35 million gallons of water for the entire vineyard. This turns out to be about 680 gallons of water per vine. These winter rains also leach the nitrogen from the soil. Read on to learn how we replenish this vital nutrient.

The Oats and Peas cover crop combination also helps us feed the vines by fixing nitrogen in the soil. Peas are a legume and are the primary source of nitrogen. They "fix" nitrogen right out of the air and it is seen as small nodules on the roots. However, Peas will only fix nitrogen in the soil where there is a deficiency. Here is where the Oats come into play. The Oats take up nitrogen from the soil as they grow, creating a deficit for the Peas to replenish. This cycle is similar to a solar panel and a battery. The solar panel can create energy, but needs a battery to store it. And of course, nicely drilled vineyard cover crop looks nice. Who knew agronomy could be so exciting?!

But alas, all good things must come to an end. The winter cover crop has been turned into the soil. Now the real work begins. All of the nitrogen rich plant material and fibrous roots will be composted "in situ" between the vine rows. As many of you know, Ernie thinks of the soil as the plant’s stomach, and this is his way of feeding our vines.

But wait, there's more! If you take a closer look, you will see a new Spring cover crop beginning to emerge. It is the summer special of Buckwheat and Vetch. This combination is also a helpful blend to help the vines uptake of phosphorus (a macronutrient along with nitrogen and potassium), as well as nitrogen from the Vetch. Check for new photos in the May report.

Now, onto the details of the first period of the growing season. April 1st is the start of the growing season and this is day 91 for the Julian calendar year 2010. We have accumulated 5.32 inches of rain since the 1st of April and that is 4.01 inches more than the 1.31 inches during the same period in 2009. Q1 2010 rainfall was 17.55 inches and was 4.14 inches more than the 13.41 inches of rain for Q1 2009. The historical 30 year average for Q1 is 19.72 inches of rain, or 536,384 gallons per acre.

We have recorded 2.72 degree days for April 2010. Our highest high was 73.9 and our lowest high was 70.4. Our lowest low was 29.3 and our highest low was 30.9 degrees Fahrenheit. For comparison, we did record 10 degree days in 2009, but no degree days for April 2008 or April 2007; about 25 degree days for April 2006 and 49 degree days for April 2005.

Well, that pretty much puts a wrap around April, 2010. In what is seeming to be a year of change and uncertainty, (this describes every year if you farm the land), we are reminded of the immortal words (and illustrations by Norman Mingo) of Alfred E. Neuwman: "What, me worry?"

You may not know, Mr. Neuwman has also run for the office of the President several times under write-in candidate status (with his name misspelled) with the slogan "You could do worse... and you always have!"

For more inspiration, and a tip on how to remove gum from a shag carpet, you can follow this link:

Kindest Regards,