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 – 2020 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: June 2020 and Salud Pinot Noir Auction

Hello and Welcome, 
This is an Amalie Robert Estate Climate Update: June 2020 and Salud Pinot Noir Auction. A FLOG communication from Dena and Ernie. Amalie Robert Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. 
iPinot COVID-19 Pivot Pricing is still in effect at $120 on six bottles with domestic ground shipping included. Just click on the Big Blue Button to browse available vintages and collect your favorite! 

You will not need a promo code to activate pricing. The pricing will automatically adjust when you select six bottles of iPinot and there is no further discount on iPinot. The shipping will be adjusted upon confirmation of your order. This is our contribution to the human condition, yours and ours. If you have any questions or need assistance, please E-mail Dena at

You don’t have to be crazy to grow Pinot Noir, but it helps. June has been quite the rollercoaster, but all in all we will log it as a positive in the vineyard journal. Cool and rainy was the beginning and the end of the month. The midsection was pleasant and sunny. This vintage is not quite sure who it wants to be. Not too much to complain about here at the vineyard though – not too much heat, or rain or pestilence upon the land, just yet.

Speaking of pestilence, we have a COVID-19 update. We opened the winery to outside tasting for one day last month. We are not going to name names, but you know who you are. Thank you for joining us. All went well and we learned what worked and what we could improve upon.

For the month of July, the winery will be open by appointment for personalized tastings. We will also have Saturday and Sunday weekend hours of 10 am to 3 pm for wine tasting and call ahead wine order pick up. We ask that you contact Dena at to reserve your time. If you can’t join us, we can arrange shipping on your behalf. And we have upped our game with insulated shippers to extend our reach.

We have adopted the following outside tasting protocol. Upon arrival you will be offered your choice of barrel station under our new sun shade canopy. Each barrel station is at least 6 feet away from any other barrel station and is equipped with a bottle of sanitizer to be used on your hands. Lip sanitizer, by definition, is part of the tasting program.

Your barrel station will include a new Amalie Robert Riedel tasting glass (they make these just for us) for each person in your party and an unopened bottle of water that you may share among your party to rinse your new stemware. There will also be a double-sided all-in-one tasting program and order form. We may also include some laminated marketing SWAG that is sanitized before and after your tasting appointment. The tasting fee is $20 with $15 refundable on any two bottle purchase per person. The now christened Amalie Robert Riedel tasting glass is yours to keep and may be rinsed again.

Vineyard tours are available based on Ernie’s availability. Lately the tractors have sprung some very interesting leaks in some not so easily accessible places. Nonetheless, the vines are on their trajectory to ripeness and we would like to show them off. They have just been freshly hedged and look quite smart. Our rows are socially distant accessible at 90 inches apart. So, either dress for a walk in the vineyard to see the vines or bring your overalls for an “under the tractor” exposé. Yes, there is a difference between 4 millimeters and 3/16”.

The Amex Shop Small promotion is in effect. Amalie Robert Estate is a Shop Small business. The promotion is good for the entire month of July, August and into September. A qualified purchase of $10 or more will earn you a statement credit of $5. And you can use this offer up to 10 times. Please visit the American Express site for more details and to enroll your card. Do it today, don’t delay or you may miss the boat!

Now the fun stuff.

Miles and miles of hi-tensile trellis wires. We run three sets and the goal is to capture the vines’ growth at the most opportune time. Of course, the vines are keen to our plan. Some shoots grow quickly as if to escape our grasp. Others more slowly as if lying in wait to set upon us when we least expect it. Remind you of anyone? Perhaps someone with just three fingers?

Wouldn’t it be nice if Wile E. Coyote were to show up with one of his ACME products that self-installed trellis wires. Wouldn’t that be something? From the Jet-Propelled Pogo Stick to the Dehydrated Boulders, the ACME mail order catalog was his go-to source for new and innovative products. Makes you wonder what shipping costs would be on a box of dehydrated boulders. And hey, can you throw in a couple of supernovas? Kinda like Cracker Jacks. You can view the entire ACME catalog offering here.

Well, that’s not how it works. A crew of 5 highly trained and specialized vineyard workers are responsible for raising our trellis wires in vintage 2020. Oh sure, we have a coyote come through the vineyard from time to time. Not all that wily looking, mostly just trying to sniff out members of the Rodentia class of varmints. However, the bobcat that comes through block 14 always seems to have a purpose, a look of intention. He or She has the face of a Bengal tiger and we enjoy observing this cat from the safety of our kitchen.

The first set of trellis wires comes up when we have about 12 inches of growth, mostly. Just before we finish that set, the next set of wires at about 40 inches are ready to come up. About this time, Ernie is mounting the hedger on his pearl essence, powder blue Landini Rex 100 GT. (It’s Italian, what can we say.) And the third set of wires is where you discover the labor pool you have is about 4 hands short of what you needed to finish on time. At the end, the shoots are out of control and now they have the leverage. It is not a pretty sight. Total time to raise three sets of catch wires is 99,902 minutes, or about 117.178 seconds per vine. Just about the amount of time you need for the 2-minute warning.

But the hedger, aka The Enforcer, comes onto the scene right behind that third set of wires. What was all chaos and confusion is now rigidly enforced discipline. Any shoot caught outside the confines of the trellis wire will be summarily “removed”. And much like the wire regime, there will be a second and third hedging pass that is just as strict. If we have excessive soil moisture that encourages more growth, there is the option of a fourth hedge. It keeps Ernie off the streets, but it would sure be fun to run the Landini Rex 100 GT with hedger blades slashing up and down I-5 during rush hour!

It’s that time of year for the Summertime ¡Salud! Pinot Noir Auction. This year brings the COVID-19 edition where all bidding and virtual tasting for that matter, will occur online. If you want to see what you look like during a ZOOM virtual tasting, just position yourself in front of a mirror. Your backdrop may give away more than you know. We recommend the red SOLO cup for a spit cup. Much better than the glass alternative.

Amalie Robert Estate has been a contributing member of the Vintners Circle since 2006. The top 35 like-minded Oregon wineries produce a special cuvée just for the ¡Salud! mission. There are only 5 cases produced from each winery, and the only way to get one is to be a successful bidder at ¡Salud!
You can preview the auction lots here. Note we are number 3 of 35 wineries on offer this year.

The ¡Salud! mission is a good way to give back into the community that makes world Class Oregon Pinot Noir a reality. To learn more about the ¡Salud! mission and register to bid, please visit their website at  website here: As noted above, those trellis wires do not raise themselves. But Ernie does have a call into the ACME company. No word back as of yet.

The numbers. While he does have the X and Y axis correctly identified, he is missing the Z axis – Speed. Trajectory, as Wile E. Coyote never seems to recall, is dependent upon thrust, or speed. In the vineyard construct, our Z axis is heat units. The hotter it is the faster the wine berries build sugar. Heat units are not just a reflection of the high temperature of the day. The vines are out there 24 x 7 and experience the cool nights as well as the warm days. And Ernie’s 3,600 data points per 30-day period approximate the curve quite accurately, every 12 minutes. Yeah, he’s got some kinda spreadsheet for that.

The month of June accumulated 341.2 Degree Days bringing vintage 2020 to a growing season total of 732.1 Degree Days. The first half of the month provided 122.6 Degree Days and 0.98 inches of rain. The second half of the month added 218.6 Degree Days and 0.59 inches of rain. The grass noticed the rain and Ernie got an unexpected extra mowing pass. The high temperature for the month was 89.6 degrees recorded on June 23rd at 2:36 pm. The low temperature was 38.1 recorded June 4th at 12:36 am.

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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