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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: 2013 June

Hello and Welcome,

Happy 4th of July!

This is the climate update for the month of June 2013.
Just when you thought you had all of the questions figured out, the legislature starts changing the answers. If you would have asked us what a “Wine Growler” was a few years ago, we would have said it is a guy who grows grapes for wine that is not all that happy with the current growing season, or maybe a wine reviewer.
Today in Oregon, a Wine Growler is a container that you can take to your locally enlightened alcohol purveyor who will, for a modest fee, fill your Growler with Oregon wine. Typically, these wines have been filled into kegs by a bonded winery and are being dispensed in a manner similar to beer or hard cider. 
Ecologically speaking, this removes all of the glass, labels, protective foils, pesky corks and screwoffs that get in the way of enjoying Oregon wine. In fact, you can rinse out your soda bottle, get it refilled with Pinot Gris du jour, and continue on your merry way. Another advantage of the Growler system is that you do not have to have a keg setup at your home or place of business, but you could. We predict an uptick in the used refrigerator market very soon.
Whaddya know, the 2013 vintage is now “on the vine.” After a fairly nice Spring and relatively early bloom period, we are the proud stewards of little pea sized berries! It is still a little early to tell what the crop load will be, but it seems more likely than not that we may have a “low drama” harvest. Ernie is thinking it could be a little early, maybe somewhat similar to 2009. That vintage is just starting to show off a little something above the knee.
June gave us the full complement of weather including the “June Gloom” which proceeded to arrive on the longest day of the year. The June Gloom typically vacations here from the Gulf of Alaska. It brings with it a full contingent of dark, overcast skies that blot out the sun and very humid temperatures with a spot of rain. It is pretty typical slug and fungus weather, and certainly not as fun as our favorite fall weather - duck and fungus.
The cover crop took full advantage of the 1.24 inches of June rainfall. The Buckwheat has started to flower and we are seeing all manner of insects looking for a little free pollen lunch. The Vetch is on a slower trajectory, but it has more to do. As you read this, it is pulling Nitrogen out of the air and putting it in the soil. And there it will remain until mid-September when Ernie tills it into the soil. The Nitrogen will then help breakdown the Buckwheat and Vetch green material. All of this organic matter will become natural fertilizer for our vines in the fall.
Now, the vines don’t miss much. Not only are they burning through all that easy to get soil moisture, they are also sporting shoots that are overgrowing the trellis. This time of year is really hard to keep pace with 44,155 not so little winemakers. But persevere we must, until we have trapped all of the shoot growth in 3 sets of catch wires. These wires are important to growing great wine because they help separate the leaves and the fruit. This separation allows for sunlight penetration and air circulation in the canopy. This in turn dries out any excess moisture that can lead to Mildew and Botrytis that will compromise our grape clusters. Clean, disease free fruit allows for increased hang time in October, and that can put the finishing flavor and aroma touches on the 2013 vintage.
We save the numbers for last, so you can skip all the fluff and wade right into the analytical minutiae of winegrowing.
The month of June accumulated a whopping 387.4 degree days, had a high of 95.2 (recorded June 30 at 3:40 pm) and a low of 43.0 (recorded June 14 at 3:20 am) with 1.24 inches of rain. This brings the 2013 growing season up to 668.8 degree days from April 1 through June 30. Rainfall for the growing season is now up to 6.24 inches. Well now, we may just have a “contender” vintage on our hands here.

And this is what it looked like in 2012: The month of June accumulated 244.2 degree days, had a high of 86.6 and a low of 37.2 with 2.92 inches of rain. This brought the 2012 growing season up to 480.3 degree days since April 1. And yes, we did receive exactly 2.92 inches of rain last June. We would say this is odd, but it is divisible by 2. Was it sampling error? Ah yes, the “human” terroir factor.
Kindest Regards,
Dena & Ernie

Friday, June 7, 2013

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2013 June Flowers

Hello and Welcome,

We have flowers! The first sign of a potential harvest window appeared on June 6, 2013 – Day 157 of the Julian calendar. Typically, we are asking for about 105 days from flowering to harvest. So we will be looking to open the harvest window on day 262, or September 19.  Someone once remarked that this is just like clockwork, but when you are in business with Mother Nature, nothing you set out to do is as simple as that.

The part of the plant that is flowering (or “in bloom”) is called an inflorescence. When we are looking for flowers in the vineyard we are doing reconnaissance. Once our work is complete, we issue a status. Ergo, our IRS is that we are flowering Right Farming Now!

Weather during bloom is about as perfect as anything in agriculture can be – thanks Mom. We are seeing highs hit the low 80s and we are cooling off into the 50s at night. A refreshing breeze blows by from time to time and a few wispy clouds add texture to an otherwise endless sunny blue sky. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, consider this: Wine grapes are self pollinating!

If we continue on our current trajectory, we could have a bountiful crop that could be clear to harvest in late September. Since there’s a lotta “Cs” there to consider, we better not slack off. But today the sun is on our backs and the breeze is lifting our spirits. The world, for now anyway, seems to be spinning in greased grooves.

While there is more we could say about the IRS, there seems to be plenty of other folks out there with great information to share. We really aren’t looking for that much attention anyway.

Kindest Regards,

Ernie & Dena

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Winegrowers You Must Try (Lyrics)

Amalie Robert Estate
Winegrowers You Must Try
Sung to the tune of "Ghost Riders in the Sky"

From books and school to the corporate world we began
Living life in black & white and working for the man

We shared some wine on a weekend rendezvous
Our fate was sealed by Pinot Noir, and life began anew

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
But for the grace of God, this could be you

Now we're at the seasons' end with winds and rain, you bet
We've got to pick those grapes, but they aint ready yet

It seems like forever that we wait for this one day
Detailed plans we make, but Mother Nature leads the way

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
Satisfaction Syrah and Amalie's Cuvee

Our brand is now on fire, our presence you will feel
You may not have tried our wine, but soon we're sure you will
You've had to wait this long, and you must wonder why
Swirl carefully for if you spill a drop, with us you will cry

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
Wine growers you must try

Past the TSA and in this tiny tube we must fly
Hurtling with all Godspeed through the moonlit sky
Travelling across the plains pouring for those we have not met
We're working hard to sell this wine, cause we aint sold out yet

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
It's your whistle we aim to wet

We are coming to your town and mister you will see
An Oregon Pinot Noir with the brand of Amalie

Taste the wine and read the spam you cannot resist
Within a month you'll be receiving wines, direct from our A-list.

Yipie Meunier, Yipie Pinot
Please don't reply "cease and desist"

- Apologies to song writer Stanley Jones. Any inconvenience is regretted.

© 2011 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC