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, June 3, 2021

Amalie Robert Estate Vintage Update: The Great Cluster Pluck in 105 Days - and Counting

Hello and Welcome, 


Flowers in Pommard Clone Pinot Noir. 
It seems everyone is back to work after the long weekend, including the vines. It’s not like you are going to tell 20 year old Pommard vines when to flower, especially those grafted onto 5C. But in the course of putting up our first set of trellis wires, they have decided now is their time. On June 1st we spied our first Pinot Noir flowers, and it was 103 degrees. We chose to commemorate the event with a glass of Pinot in Pink Rosé!

Winemaking: The Continuation of Terroir by Other Means.® A Farming bLOG (FLOG) communication from Dena & Ernie. Estate grown Amalie Robert Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley. Have a look and see what we see on Instagram @AmalieRobert Estate. We are posting on Facebook and LinkedIn. Check us out if you can. We can use all the likes we can get…
The Harvest Window Appears
Over the past 30 years or so, Pinot Noir wine berries in the Willamette Valley have usually achieved full aroma and flavor development 105 days AFTER flowering. So, we can now pencil in a harvest window, and that is a handy thing to have as we move through the growing season.
From the vine’s point of view, they are simply trying to ripen their seeds and attract some creature to deposit them hither and yon so they can reproduce. Kinda makes you feel bad for seedless grapes.
We just want to make wine. If you are into the Julian calendar, as we are, you can take June 1st (Day 152) and add 105 growing season days to get Day 257. And that day is the first potential day of harvest, September 14th. You can check our Julian Calendar math here.

Stages of wine berry flowering.

But first we must have pollination. Flowers are nice, but we are not going to have any clusters to pluck if there is no pollination. Good news is that the weather is supposed to be nice and wine berries are self-pollinating – they do not depend on bees as most other crops do for pollination.
After a couple weeks of pollination, we can check out the fruit set. The flowers that do not pollinate are called shatter and they fall off the stem. What is left are tiny green wine berries. Quantitatively speaking, if there are “a lot” of them, then the “fruit set” was good. If there are only a few, then you have a “poor set”.
The quality of fruit set gives you an idea of how many tons of wine berries you have on the vine. Watching the temperature over the next 45 days gives you an idea of how hot the growing season may be. If you are paying attention, somewhere in there is a plan to thin the potential crop load to match the growing season.

Flowers in Dijon Clone Chardonnay.

Vintage 2021 reminds us of vintage 2009 where we harvested early because the vines flowered early. And thus denied the birds their opportunity to freely feast upon our wine berries. It was a wonderful thing. However, in 2011 we flowered in July, and harvest was not scheduled until late October. The birds were back early that year with a vengeance (and friends and relations) when several TONS of wine berries took flight.
That’s what’s in store for us. Along with everything else Mother Nature and the farming endeavor can send our way. What are you going to be doing in 105 days?

Kindest Regards,

Dena & Ernie

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