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 – 2021 Amalie Robert Estate, LLC

Thursday, April 22, 2021

2021 Earth Day, Vineyard Anniversary & Bud Break

 Hello and Welcome, 

Willamette Valley cherry blossoms, aka popcorn trees. 
The popcorn trees are blooming, and the bumble bees are tending to the trees and the grape hyacinths. The swallows have returned from their southern vacation to build nests and hatch their chicks. The last of the daffodils are making way for the first tulip and iris sightings. Bud break on April 15th in the Pinot Noir vines puts us on notice that in about 20 weeks they will be ready for The Great Cluster Pluck – Vintage 2021, the Year of the Dijon Clones. It’s Earth Day in the Willamette Valley, and don’t we know it! 
Bumble bees are responsible for nearly 2/3's of US pollination.

A FLOG communication (Farming bLOG) by Dena & Ernie from Amalie Robert Estate. Oregon Willamette Valley Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Have a look and see what we see on Instagram @AmalieRobert Estate. We are ramping up on FaceBook! (If you don’t like us, we don’t wanna know…)
Welcome Vintage 2021! Good luck, you are going to need it!

In the vineyard business, bud break is the visual start to the vintage. Those buds, they look oh so innocent and cute just waking up to the possibilities of vintage 2021 - all 1.4 MILLION of them. Yeah, they look cute now, but give them a few weeks and those buds will have produced 6-foot canes that will need trellis catch wires and their first hedge. They grow up so fast…
We welcome the farming challenge and in turn, celebrate Earth Day. While we focus on the land, because we grow wine, it is important to remember that 71% of the Earth is covered with water.
So sure, go ahead and plant a tree this weekend, but if you are wading into aquaculture that is a whole different matter. As you make your way through life’s carnival, it is important to remember: Don’t pet the alligators.
And it’s our Anniversary! We established the vineyard at Amalie Robert Estate on Earth Day at the turn of the century. When we found the vineyard, Mr. Shingler had his Montmorency cherry orchard sitting on top of it. That was 1999, and 80 tons of cherries and 1,188 cherry trees later we are growing about 55,000 vines over 36 acres. They are viticulturally spaced at 4 feet apart.
Our little red wild cherry sporting popcorn blooms.

But there are three wild cherry trees we keep. One is a plump dark red cherry, one is a Montmorency cherry, and one is a little red wild cherry with a pit that makes up about 95% of the diameter. The latter of these three cherries are mostly propagated and sold by dentists.
The last of the first 15,000 vines went in the newly prepared soil 22 years ago. And while our communication has become more and more digital with E-mail and Zoom and INSTANT text messaging, we still find time to speak to each other face to face. Maybe even over a glass of wine. Remember those days? They are coming back into fashion. Sometimes the old ways are still the best ways… just as soon as we can get rid of these masks.
The numbers. We don’t have any climate data to share yet, that will be coming at the end of April. What we do have is the roadmap for vintage 2021. Bud break is the first major event and we were lucky to escape any frost damage from the near freezing temperatures at the start of April. But every vineyard site is different and low elevation sites without proper air drainage may not have fared as well.
They say old cherry orchards make for good vineyards and frost damage is exactly why – cherry trees bloom (flower) about the same time vines experience bud break. Cherry trees are an indicator plant of where you could plant a vineyard. Just imagine if Johnny was spreading cherry pits instead of apple seeds... Oh man!
Cherry trees are an indicator plant for wine grapes.

If a cherry orchard has a history of frost damage when they bloom, there is a very good chance that vines planted there will suffer frost damage during bud break. And if those buds get frosted and die, that pretty much cancels the vineyard growing season. Kinda like smoke taint, but at the beginning of the growing season, not the end.
The next big event in the vineyard is bloom (flowering) which is what the cherry trees are doing right now. The time from bud break to bloom is quite variable and hard to predict. However, once we see bloom we are on autopilot. For Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley, the historical average is bloom plus 104 days equals harvest. Now harvest may change a few days either way depending on Mother Nature, but no matter, Willamette still rhymes with Janet, damnit.
Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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