David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

September 5 - September 11, 2010 

Wednesday September 8, 2010

A lot has happened since yesterday morning. We are picking Zinfandel right now. Yesterday morning Catarino told me to walk out in the vineyard because there were a lot of raisins in the old vine Zinfandel blocks. After testing several bunches we have decided to pick two tons. There are a lot of burned berries but also many raisins and the acid is real high. We should have well over 25 brix after leaving some bunches that look less ripe. It will be interesting to see if there is a great deal of Malic acid which will dissipate and hopefully lower the acid from a PH of 3.1-3.2 down to 3.4-3.5. Ultimately we desire about 3.6-3.7 at bottling. 

So what happened? Our soil is really well drained. We slowed down the watering because we saw a large crop and the weather was cool. Starting on August 23rd we started having days over 100 degrees. In the last two weeks we have averaged in the high 90's. Since we slowed down the watering the Zinfandel dehydrated quicker than we had anticipated. This will be a challenging year. They all are!!

Today we are pressing our Pinot Noir that we picked last Thursday. It fermented real fast and should be down below 1% sugar today. We will press into two barrels and let the fermentation finish in the barrel. Depending on the results in the Zinfandel today, we could be very busy from now on.

8:15Am: Catarino came in from picking and said the bunches on one side of the 3rd Block do not look good. So Matt and Catarino went out to take a look and bring me back several bunches. I think they look interesting, very different from normal with many shriveled berries. The juice is lighter than usual and the sugar is well over 25 brix and could rise to close to 30 brix after the raisins rehydrate. I sent Catarino back out to pick all the bunches including some that are plump and with less shrivel. I would rather have less ripe fruit than add water to dilute the sugar down to 25%......more later. 

Thursday September 9, 2010

It's harvest so things go wrong.  Yesterday about mid-day, within a short time, our bladder in our press exploded and our tractor broke down in the vineyard. We used the forklift to bring in the grapes and the bladder will be fixed today. It was nice that our pressing of the Pinot was almost finished anyway. The bladder was 10 years old and we were told that was the normal life expectancy. 

Yesterday we picked 1.8 tons of Zinfandel with a sugar of 24.2. Today after soaking over night we have a reading of about 27% so we are adding water to adjust back to a potential alcohol of 15%. We will probably have to add more water after the swell up during the first few days of fermentation.

Today we are picking more Zinfandel, hopefully about 3 tons.

Saturday September 11, 2010

We finished picking all our Old Vine Zinfandel. There was a lot of dried fruit so our haul was way below normal, 8.5 tons compared to 13 tons last year. I have said in the past that in my 32 years of producing wine from this Coffaro Vineyard I have seen no obvious correlation to quality versus tonnage. I think 2009 is a great year and we had way above average tonnage. I think 2004 was a great year and we had the same tonnage as this year, way below the average of about 11.5. Time will tell!!

We will pick our Sauv Blanc next Tuesday and probably start on our Block 4 a few days later, depending upon the weather. For the last week there has been a prediction of rain next weekend. Now the forecasters are backing off. I will know more by Wednesday and then I can make my decision on whether to harvest the Block 4. We can pick the 6-8 tons in two days. I definitely want to get it in before any rain. Most of the rest of the fruit will stand up to some rain.

Today we will punch down our Zinfandel for the first time and after that we will have an idea about the potential alcohol. We may have to add more water because there are a lot of raisins soaking up.

In the past two nights I have been tasting some Bordeaux wine compared to mine. I was pleasantly surprised! I tried one 2003 Bordeaux to my 2003 Aca Modot. I was very happy with the Aca because it still had great fruit and showed no evidence of decline. I was very disappointed with the Bordeaux. In comparison the French wine tasted light with far less structure and fruit. I experienced the same results with a 2005 Bordeaux versus my 2005 Cabernet. Like I have said I must have the Coffaro palate. Others may not agree. After all these were well over $100 Bordeaux wines.


Home | Read | Diary | Tell Us What You Think of Our Diary