David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

arrow October 9 - October 15, 2011

Sunday October 9, 2011

We could get more rain, just when it seemed the ground was drying out. Monday could be wet with as much as 1.5 inches. This will not be good because it will delay our Harvest again. I had been hoping for dry and warm weather for a few days and starting to pick some Lagrein on Thursday or Friday. Friday or Saturday still looks like a possibility but we will have to have high temperatures into the 90's Wednesday through Friday. Actually there is a warming trend predicted but who knows.....yesterday and today were supposed to be in the 80's and even 90's and we may not hit 75 today. Also the troubling fact is we have had low temperatures in the 40's which makes it harder to warm up during the day. And of course the days are getting shorter. When I walked out Friday in the vineyard mid-day the grapes I tasted still were cool.

We did finish thinning the Petite Sirah and thus took off one ton of fruit. Matt suggested putting most of the fruit in a bin and thus we have a little less than a ton of Petite Sirah at 21.5 brix, down from 23% last week. Right now we are planning to ferment hot as usual. Petite Sirah has a lot of color even at low sugar so we expect a wine with good flavor. We are not sure if we will blend it in to another wine or keep it separate. It will be fun. We have also decided to pull some leaves in some sections of the vineyard and expose the grapes to more sun. Unless we see 100+ temperatures, which has happened at this time in the past but rarely, this will speed up ripening and decrease the possibility of rot.

While out in the vineyard I looked and tasted most of the varietals still on the vine and I was happy with what I observed and tasted. With warm weather in the next few weeks we should have no trouble harvesting all that is out there.

Tuesday October 11, 2011

Al Davis did have a good side to him back when.............


The sun has finally come out and we may see some warm weather in the next few days, but now there is a forecast for more rain this weekend. If we get more, we could be in trouble. Catarino is thinning leaves in the Carignan and when he touches some of the bunches the berries start falling off. Carignan and most of the varietals we have left to harvest have thick skin and do not rot BUT the stems can get weak from continued rain. Eventually they can not hold up and the berries fall off. Tomorrow we will take a sample from all sections and see where the sugars are. Unless we see two weeks of dry weather, most of our crop will not be harvested at high quality.

8:00Pm: I will make great wine this year!!! I will find a way. I do not think the Republicans have a way to beat Obama. Remember I have voted for Republicans before so I can see both sides. I am taking a break after the first half from the recording of the Republican debate tonight. I am amazed at what I am hearing. I have seen all the debates so I will give a report tomorrow. I have to get back and see the end AND then it will be fun to see the talking heads.

8:30:Pm: I found out I need to roast more coffee beans so I am delayed. I have seen and read so many stories in tribute and against Al Davis. It was interesting to see both sides just like in politics. Who knows maybe the Raiders will do better. I am still a Raider fan, forever. It is one of my passions. I have many. I know one thing for a fact and a certain for the Future. There will be no one more passionate about the Raiders now that Al Davis is gone...............................................................................  

Wednesday October 12, 2011

The weather forecast has changed for the good....no rain for the next week...........whoopee!

3:00Pm: The samples are in! I just finished checking the sugar from 14 varietals left to pick in the vineyard. The results are not surprising. The last sample from the Lagrein and Merlot was taken on September 30. The results today are the same: 22.7 on the Merlot and 24.8 on the Lagrein. We are planing to harvest the Lagrein on Monday.

While out in the vineyard I tasted all the fruit from the varietals in each section. It was interesting to taste and find out that most of the berries taste like mush after getting through the outside skin. I assume that consistency will become very concentrated in the next week and thus the sugar will go up by as much as 3%. The vines have absorbed a great deal of moisture over the last 10 days and transferred water to the berries. Now we need them to dehydrate.

We have kept a section of our Zin in the 6th block to shrivel to half raisins. We are planning to produce our first Estate RaiZin. The sample today came in at 23.5 brix. We also took a sample of a few bunches with many raisins and it came in at 25.5. After looking at the section, it appears we have about 30% raisins right now so the sugar is plenty high enough to harvest because the must should swell up to 27+. I want to see what happens to these samples over night. We may harvest Friday.

The only other one that will be ready early next week is the Petit Verdot which is at 24. I would like to see over 25% and I am certain it will be there next Wednesday.

The one varietal we are concerned about is Peloursin. The sugar is only 20.8 and we need at least 24. Also there is a great deal of rot forming. Catarino will thin and pull leaves tomorrow. Cab Franc and Mourvedre have low sugar readings also so we need to thin also, no rot though. Most of the other varietals have sugar readings at 22.5 to 23+. They will be ripe in 10 days.

So if everything goes well we could be harvesting many varietals by the end of next week.

9:00Pm: I just checked again the Lagrein and the Zinfandel for sugar a little while ago. They are still in small buckets taking up the concentration after a few hours. I was happy to see the Lagrein was up to 25.2 so it could be harvested tomorrow, but the acid is still high and we have time to see more concentration. The Zinfandel is ready too. This section in our 6th Block is showing many raisins so 25+ tonight on swell up is predictable. I will check again tomorrow morning, but we are on schedule to harvest Zin on Friday and Lagrein on Monday.

Thursday October 13, 2011

8:30PM: I bet most people think doctors don't make mistakes. I am talking about mostly physicians of medicine. My Mother is in big pain, the most in her life. She refuses to go back to the hospital and she refuses to ask for help from my sister and me or even a health care person in her house. She believes the doctors are right.............long story...............

I got little sleep yesterday, probably 4 hours. I remember the first time that occurred. It was in Architecture at City College of San Francisco in 1962. I was very impressed with the professors, but I had no imagination. Give me all the facts and I can put them together, but ask me to come up artistic, in an art way: I had no clue. I had to stay up on a project all night. I got 4 hours sleep and met Joe in Berkeley to see John F. Kennedy speak at Cal. That was the first time I thought I needed more sleep. I had no trouble functioning but I was slower than usual.

The lack of sleep last night was about my Mother, Vivien. BUT also about our Harvest. I am confirming here: we will be harvesting tomorrow and many times in the next two weeks. We are prepared and will not make mistakes. I will get plenty of sleep, but I can function without it. I hate sleep!!

Friday October 14, 2011

12 Noon: Catarino and the crew are out picking bunches. It appears they have about 800 pounds from the 6th Block that we were saving for our 2011 RaiZin and about 450 pounds of Petite Sirah. They are out now grabbing small bunches of 2nd crop Zinfandel. Catarino thinks there could be up to 2 tons of 2nd crop, missed or left after the first picking a month ago. We are planning to harvest about 1200 pounds today and another 1000 tomorrow. We will harvest the rest sometime next week. A small sample yesterday had a reading well over 25 Brix. We are using some of these grapes today to add to the RaiZin. That way we will have about a ton with over 20% Petite Sirah. We will top off with Zinfandel and a little Petite Sirah after racking in January to keep 3 barrels. We should have about 73 cases at bottling in July and will maintain a 75% Zinfandel and 25% Petite Sirah blend.

The samples picked two days ago from many varietals in the vineyard are already showing some fermentation activity in the buckets so we have decided to add some So2 to all the grapes harvested this season from now on. I have mentioned before we usually do not add So2 when we de-stem, but there is still so much moisture in the ground that the wild yeasts are abundant and may compromise the quality of the wines.

Saturday October 15, 2011

Catarino and the crew harvested 865 pounds of 2nd crop Zinfandel today. That gave us enough to fill the fermenter started yesterday. Next week we will harvest more, about one ton. First we will pick Lagrein on Monday and Petit Verdot on Tuesday. Next week we also have to pack up our Wine Club shipment and do more sugar tests. It looks like sugar levels are already increasing. Our sample of Petit Verdot came in at 26 Brix up from 24 three days ago.  It will be a busy week.


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