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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2010 August


This is the climate update for August 2010.

Due to the tardiness of this communiqué, I can tell you September is shaping up to be quite fine. September 11 brought with it a beautiful day that Ernie took full advantage of by sewing in his fall cover crop. This was a day the quail had been waiting for since the Spring cover crop was drilled in April. It was also a day of remembrance at Amalie Robert Estate.

So, we find ourselves right where Mother Nature wants us. Despite the "noise" from the peanut gallery we are right where we should be, turning the corner from veraison into a slow and steady ripening phase. Not too hot, not too cold, but just like the proverbial porridge - just right. Maybe it's true, the ends do justify the means.

Sure harvest will start about the same time we finished last year, but hey if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Bear in mind, that the old timers around here will tell you (and have told me, repeatedly) that own rooted vines on wide spacings typically were harvested in the second to third week of October. Their view on a "late" harvest? No big deal. The Syrah and Viognier however, are going to be a November pick.

My extended forecast calls for cooler days and nights, with some fits and starts of rain. There will be sunny days (like today!), and some cloudy days. Oh, and the wind will blow. I haven't quite worked out the timing or duration yet, but you will know it when you see it. The vines however, are a determined bunch. They are focused on ripening their seeds and calling it a vintage. As my architect likes to say, they are "dedicated to a purpose", as are we.

It is said that 80% of life is just showing up and we continue to do our part each and every day. The vineyard received a third hedge again this year. The purpose of this last hedge is to remove as many actively growing shoot tips as possible. These shoot tips are in competition with the grapes for the energy of the vine. By removing these energy "sinks" we are directing more of the vine's energy to the fruit. Also, it just looks nicer. Maybe Ernie was a shrubber in a previous movie.

We have dialed in our crop load and are finishing up our thinning. The wings on Pinot Noir this year are big and green - they are the first to go. From there we start thinning the remaining fruit to hedge our bets toward full flavor development. Based on Mr. Erath's wisdom and experience, backed up with actual vineyard trials, we thin our vines so that if we need to leave a little extra fruit, we do so at the end of the cane. He thinks it's better quality fruit, and I trust him.

Now we wait just as quickly as we can. Not so easy for the "A" type, but Dena helps provide balance this time of year. So, let's overanalyze the numbers. We have recorded about 466 degree days for the month of August, providing a total of 1,265 degree days since the beginning of the growing season on April 1st. This compares with 534 degree days last August and a comparative total of 1,634 degree days for 2009.

Let me say that another way, we are about 370 degree days short of last year at this time. Now the astute reader will know that 370 degree days equals a typical June. It seems we have this global warming thing back to front.

Note the cool growing season may benefit the wines in a way we all have been waiting for, lower alcohols. With reduced degree days, we may see harvest conditions that show ripe seeds and fully developed flavors at lower sugar levels. This converts directly to lower alcohols. You will be interested in following this vintage if you are enjoying how pretty the 2007 Pinots are becoming. As we like to say: PFNA - Pretty Fruit, Nice Acid ®.

During August, our highest high was 97.9 and our lowest high was 94.8; we missed the century mark this year. Our lowest low was 43.2 and our highest low was 46.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The rainfall for August came in a single 48 hour period and 0.75 inches and was 0.40 inches above last August's rain of 0.35. Rainfall since April 1st through August 30th was 13.78 inches, and is 5.50 inches greater than last year's growing season to date rainfall of 8.28 inches.

Here is a weather website that gets a lot of traffic in September and October. Ernie checks it about as often as E-mail.

Kindest Regards,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2010 August Veraison


It seems the Pinot Noir just needed a nice weekend in the sun. Sure enough, we spied the first "Pink" berries of the season on Monday morning, August 23rd. Yeah, Ernie likes that. Typically, we see the first color change or “Veraison” by the 15th of August. In the grand scheme of things we appear to still be behind the "average" (a mediocre word at best), but are making up a little lost time.  

Even though we see the encouraging signs of harvest coming our way, there is No Financial Way (NFW) that these vines can ripen this much fruit. So we thin them down to a reasonable crop load, and for us that is about one bottle of wine per vine. It is tough love.

Here we are looking at Syrah, and we are leaving just about 6 clusters per vine. That means we are cutting off the other 18 clusters, and the wings from the hearty souls that remain. That's a pretty tough selection process.

The Pinot Noir harvest is still on track to begin in mid-October, day 285 to be exact. Regarding the Syrah and Viognier, well they might make nice Christmas gifts this year.

Kindest Regards,