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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: 2017 Bud Break

Hello and Welcome, 

This is a 2017 Vintage Update: Bud Break 

Well, hello buddy! Welcome to vintage 2017! After what seemed to be an exceedingly wet, cold and perfectly miserable off season, the vines are back with fresh new buds for the 2017 vintage. Will it be an early harvest? Too soon to say, but these guys are hanging close by just in case.  
That’s the thing about harvest, not all of the harvesters have clippers and buckets…

And today we have a rare sneak peak at the numbers before the full April Climate update is published. But first, a little background on three important dates in the vineyard: Bud Break, Bloom and the Great Cluster Pluck.

Bud Break is the where it all begins for the vine. However, for the humans, we have been working on them since just after harvest. First are the primary cuts we make that allow us to pull last year’s shoots out of the trellis wires – out with old to make room for the new. Then we select a shoot to tie down on the wire and this will become the cane that sports about 12 to 16 buds.

Now after the buds emerge, they grow like crazy and it is our job to harness that growth in the physical implementation of a mental trellis construct. We employ three sets of wires to keep everything “in-line”, so to speak. Flowering starts the timer. In typical years, we need about 105 days from flowering to the Great Cluster Pluck, however these past few years just don’t quite fit that model. The statistical term for these outlying vintages would be “Sampling Error.”

But a lot can happen to befall our efforts between now and then. Not unlike the Jester (who acquired carnal knowledge of the Queen) that pleaded for his life in front of the King. He said he could teach the King’s horse to sing if the King would spare his life for one year. The most favorable outcomes for the Jester would be: The King could die, the horse could die, or the horse could learn how to sing. A lot can happen in a year.

Bud Break has been creeping later and later in the calendar over the last three years. In 2015 we saw the first buds emerge on March 24th. Vintage 2016 buds came out on March 36th, but keep in mind it was a leap year. And this year we saw the first intrepid buds emerge on Earth Day, March 53rd.

Now, let’s have a look at when the vines flowered. The first flowers for 2015 were spotted on May 31st and 2016 saw flowers on May 27th. Even though bud break occurred earlier in 2015, the flowers appeared later. So, logically we can infer that the correlation between bud break and flowering is weak – at best. It all depends on Mother Nature’s mood for the next month or so. The warmer it is, the sooner we see flowers and the sooner we can identify a potential harvest date. Stay tuned…

Wait, is that singing in the background? Why yes, yes it could very well be!

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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