David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 15
April 8, 2001 to April 14, 2001 

Sunday April 8,  2001

I can see 20/20!! It has been three days since my Lasik operation, and things are a little foggy. I am also seeing halos around bright objects. I've been told this will go away after a few weeks. The biggest trouble I am having is trying to see close. Since I was nearsighted before I had little trouble seeing real close. I could always take off my glasses. Now I have to wear glasses to see everything from the computer and closer. This is taking some getting use to. I have different powers of reading glasses all over the house. I guess the next step is to get something to hold the glasses around my neck. 

In just one week we have sold 58 cases of Block 4. At this time we have stopped selling that wine over the internet. I can't control the orders that come in through the mail, but obviously at some point I will have to refuse those orders also. Sure, on a normal year I could make 200 cases from our 4th block (so I should be able to cover more orders), but I'd rather make only 100 cases so I can save some of the grapes from that area to blend into the Estate Cuvee. 

Next week I must finally prepare my income taxes, but If I have time, I will comment on the potential crop that is growing in our vineyard. 

Thursday April 12, 2001

[Ed. Note: You can read on-line the Matt Kramer Wine Spectator article entitled The Money Bamboozle which is pretty much all about Dave!] 

"Ed" That's B imposing on my diary. That is fine now since he let me know. 

Taxes, oh my! This has been a tough day, but I will Survive. (Why can't they get rid of Colby?) I remember November 5, 1953 when my father died. I was 10 years old, but within one hour of hearing the news I thought of something good about his death. I loved him more than anything, but since he was gone, I thought that my friends in the 3rd grade would feel sorry for me and thus that would help. Tax liability is nothing like that. 

I found out today that we owe a lot of taxes to the IRS and to the State of California. This is one of the biggest shocks in my life. I guess I should have paid more attention (I do my own taxes and do have a finance degree). I would have been prepared. Like I say I will survive, but I have to come up with an extra $70,000 for tomorrow. Am I making too much money? Should I charge more? What if I had been charging $25 a bottle or even $40. I suspect I could still sell my wine, but probably at a slower pace. What would I do with the extra money? I guess I could give it away (Taking from the rich in order to give to the poor). I guess I should look into a corporation status. I could gift money to my children. 

As I have said before, my life is an open book. I have nothing to hide. You can figure it out. If Pat and I  sell 4000 cases at an average price of $14 a bottle ($168 a case) that yields a gross of $672,000. I ended up with deductions of over $400,000, but still was in the 36% bracket yielding taxes of over $70,000. Tomorrow I have to also pay Estimated Taxes for 2001 to the IRS and the State of California of $27,000. In addition I must pay the feds $34,000 and the State over $8000 beyond what I already paid in Estimated over the last year. I can see now, how a business can get into trouble. If they are expanding too fast, and suddenly have to pay taxes, a shortfall in cash flow could create quite a problem. Fortunately we don't have that problem now. I just have to make sure I continue to provide a quality product at reasonable prices and do not increase the production of wine. 

On a brighter note or not, I wandered out in the vineyard today to escape my depression. What I saw was surprising and not so. I have heard, in the last few days,  stories of damage from frost in vineyards throughout the Wine Country. I have even heard of loss of crop within Dry Creek Valley. As I ventured out in the vineyard, I had trouble finding any damage. I saw an occasional shoot that was dried up, but as I came upon my new vines I was amazed to see all kinds of various conditions of shriveled up growth. The vines that were damaged were surprising. These were the ones in protective cartons. Evidently water had gotten in the containers and frozen because of lack of air. We weren't expecting a crop from these vines and they should come back for next year. The vines out in the open had wind movement to prevent damage. There are enormous wind machines near us that make immense noise.  They are so big that they move cold air from the ground to warm the vines and keep them from freezing. I hope I am right that these machines have saved most of our crop. 



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