David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

arrow March 25 - April 7, 2012

Sunday April One, 2012  

We are back from LA, Hollywood, Irvine, Arizona, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, and Harris Ranch////Tomorrow is another day.  

Monday April 2, 2012 

Pat traveled on this trip to see her sister Sharon in Irvine and see a Giant baseball game with her sister Janie in Scottsdale. Janie and Tim spend a month in March in Scottsdale to play golf and watch the Giants in Spring training. This was the first time we visited them in their rented condo.

I travel for the food!!

We dropped Kate off to see a friend in North Hollywood. Then we got back on I5 and experienced stop and go traffic down to Irvine. We went to a nice restaurant with Rick and Sharon and our friends Nicole and Mike...fun time.

The highlight of the trip to Scottsdale was the wonderful cheese crisp at a Mexican bar...very crisp similar to a very thin pizza with loads of cheese and peppers.

For me I travel to Vegas for the food, not for the shows or gambling. Again this time the food was not a disappointment. I believe Las Vegas has more great restaurants than any city in the USA. There has to be at least 50 high end restaurants.

Pat's favorite food in Vegas was at Wolfgang Puck for lunch. I was looking for an IPA and a sandwich. We settled on splitting a wonderful Pork Belly BLT and a great salad of apples fresh fennel, greens and nuts.

The first night we had a great experience at L'Atelier de JoŽl Robuchon. We were surprised to be sited at the bar next to a young couple who obviously were on their first date. I tried not to listen but being two feet away from the lady I heard that they worked together. Across from us within 10 feet was the kitchen where we saw many chefs prepping our food....a lot of fun since I ordered the 9 course pre fixed. There were very small portions but that is fine with me.

The last night we were at Seablue.....wonderful fresh lobster and the best onion rings I have ever had. Pat had three pieces and I had the rest, maybe 50!!! They were sliced as thin as 1/8 inch.

More about wine at the winery tomorrow.......    

8:00 Pm:

What is a race????...not a run.....here is what Wikipedia says:

Race...... is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by heritable phenotypic characteristics, geographic ancestry, physical appearance, and ethnicity. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in its taxonomic sense, to denote genetically diverse human populations whose members possessed similar phenotypes.[

If you have gotten this far.....If my Father was born in Sicilia, Sicily....: are Sicilians a race?... maybe not so, since we look similar to others. So of course African Americans and Asians, Mexicans among others can be signaled out because of the way they look. It is so sad and this will not change...prejudice will always be prevalent because of how we look.

Ok I am a person who looks at all the news. My paper has been dished in the gutter almost every Sunday by our carrier so one of my last several pleasures will end. I will not be able to grasp on to a news paper in the morning. I will get an e-mail and be able to print it myself. I love to settle up in the kitchen at about 10 am or so and have a nice small meal and read newspaper. It will be another change I will deal with.

Yes there is a lot going on in the news, sports and politics....so I have to  be ready to focus........ 

Tuesday April 3, 2012

Today was a transition day and extremely busy....sports....politics and of course the Winery!!!! And my accountant showed up!! As I said we just got back from a 10 day vacation. I prefer being home but one thing a vacation will do to you is create memories. At home I like the more active adventures but I am familiar with all the challenges and some repeat themselves SO I can forget a day at home easier than a unique day on a vacation. I like to escape......

Matt is here tomorrow...big day to make plans. Cindi was here the last two days and we accomplished a lot, but I am just starting to focus again after the adventure traveling in a 535i to Arizona. The first few days in the BMW was not easy....long story but everyday in the 2500 mile adventure got easier. Cindi has been coordinating the Wine Club. Because of Cindi out Dave's Wine Club is growing so much we are having trouble finding wine to send and thus what to choose. Cindi and Pat had good suggestions and I have to talk to Matt to make our final decision.

My Press Democrat paper was missing out on my street this morning....Ok not surprising since I asked for cancellation BUT why could I not access the eEdition & Ipad-The Press Democrat?

I spent two hours this morning complaining. I had many other things to do BUT what took so long? Yes after two hours I was directed to the eEdition and I will love it. I set up my lap top which I usually only use on vacations....(maybe 20 days a year)....in my kitchen and will now be able to eat my brunch with the Press Democrat and Pat is happy she will not have to recycle newspaper again.

I talked about Race last night briefly. I got thinking about the prejudice in all my life so I saw a word I really did not understand the meaning of. One person today who reads my diary, like many of you responded to what Race is about and I hope to post about it tomorrow.

Wednesday April 4, 2012

Matt should be here in an hour and I will be busy deciding on Wine matters. The Club and our cold stabilization project will be top priority.

For those of you who remember college or even High School lectures and enjoyed them, the rest of this post today will be from a guest.......Thomas Mercer-Hursh, Ph.D.

I'm not sure what prompted your diary entry on race, but I can give you my 2 cents worth as a Harvard Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology on the topic ... and who should know better than a biological anthropologist!

As a biological concept, race is largely useless, despite its persistence. Clearly, it has significance as a social and psychological concept where it is empirically defined by the specific cultural milieu ... often inconsistently and imprecisely.

But, biologically, it is really a term with no real use. Populations, now, have some real meaning. A population is a group distinguishable from the surrounding members of the same species by a tendency for higher inbreeding within the population that between surrounding populations. It is a meaningful concept because it means that, to the degree of its isolation, the population is evolving separately from the rest of the species. This may progress to the point where breeding is no longer possible with surrounding populations, in which case the population may become a species in its own right, but this happens fairly rarely in nature since most populations will have a certain amount of gene flow with neighboring populations which thus keeps them interfertile. Indeed, it is one of the important forces in evolution that a new trait will develop in one population which is advantageous generally and then spreads from that population to others. E.g., if one population develops resistance to a disease and then neighboring populations are decimated by that disease, then then surviving population will flow in to take the place of the missing members and the gene will disseminate very quickly. Thus, species which consist of small interconnected populations can evolve more rapidly than ones consisting of large, homogeneous groups because new genes can become rapidly established in the small groups and then spread when they are advantageous.

As for humans specifically, clearly there are population barriers, e.g., Sicilian, where historically there was a tendency to breed within the group ... a tendency which is dramatically reduce in recent years with the greater fluidity of people in the world. Those populations tend to acquire characteristics of looking like each other and looking less like neighbors. With migrations, that can result in neighbors originally from far away ending up neighbors and looking quite different. But, it isn't just migration. The Mbuti Pygmy and the Masai are next door neighbors and are about as different in body type as any two people in the world, but the Masai live on the savanna and the Mbuti live in deep forest so they are living in very, very different ecologies.

Anthropologists used to try to struggle with this because cultures were so convinced of the reality of race, but there is no characteristic or set of characteristics which actually end up making a very useful classification. E.g., some groups in India, normally consider caucasian by history and other characteristics, are among the darkest people on the earth. Some people classified as black from their history are lighter even than many Mediterranean groups. Biologically, it is really just nonsense. To be sure, one can map things like the frequency of various blood groups and other genetic markers and the maps may make sense in terms of what one knows in terms of historical population barriers, migrations, gene exchanges, etc., but the map that makes sense for genetics doesn't correspond to any simple map based on overt physical characteristics like color, hair form, and the like which people usually use to make their judgements about race.

And, of course, one ends up with a person who is 1/8 black, but who retains some features that make people think black will be called black, but a person who is 1/8 black and looks white will be called white. Obviously, that makes no biological sense. Indeed, the whole idea of 1/8 black makes little sense since that component could have come from any one of a large number of diverse populations or a substantial cross breed of those populations.

I'd better quit ... you can probably tell that I used to lecture on this stuff for whole semesters at a time!

Thank you Thomas. You are a valued addition to my diary.

8:30 Pm: I need to comment on Race only superficially only in what I have experienced in my life..... since Thomas did all that is in great detail. I am reading Gone With The Wind.....

When I have thought of race in the 1950's I thought of Negros and many very descriptive words when I read Gone With The The Wind in 1962. I am at 60% now in my Kindle for the second time in 50 years!!!....and loving it but the "N" word is used extensively. I was brought up in my family in San Francisco to respect all people and judge them by how they act. I learned about Race because I was told Negros were different from us because they were poor and looked different. But my Father brought in a fellow worker in our house when I was 10 years old. I was impressed. I could go on and will but I learned about Sweet Potato Pie from all the wonderful Women at Rincon Anex...Us Postal Service from 1962 until 1968 when I went in the Army....long story....

Sure things changed in the late 60's to call Negros....Black which was fine with me and then now we classify them as African Americans.

The point is we still call people of different skin color as a race? Is it because of the way they look....sure. It is easier then to judge someone. Will prejudiced ever end????

More tomorrow......Pat wants to see Marilyn................top priority.

Friday April 6, 2012

8:30 Am: "Marilyn my week with her" is the title of the movie we saw on Wednesday evening. I loved it and Pat was OK with it. I have a passion for Michelle Williams since Dawson's Creek and then in 1999 when she was featured in "Dick" along side Kirstin Dunst another great actor. Michelle Williams so good she made me like Marilyn. Marilyn was in some great movies but I was not enthralled by her looks or her public life. My bottom line is Michelle Williams can be a bigger star but she has to get over her past tragedy?

Last night I tasted a 2010 Aca Modot 16 months version and it is very intense!! It is nothing like the last few vintages and what I have said in the past..............put the 2010 wines away for a year or two. If you do not like very young intense wines which will last maybe 20 years or more put them away and First, drink the 2011 wines to be bottled in July......that is the bottom line.

I think I need another year to really enjoy these 2010 wines and as you know I like very young wines. We are so impressed right now with our 2011 wines out of the barrel that we will featuring them way before the 2010 wines.

Have you ever heard of a wine with a beginning a middle and an end? That is what we strive for. The 2008 Vintage wines are underrated in my estimation. Our wines are wonderful now. I opened a 2008 Petite Sirah and it blows away the 4 bottles (Two of ours) of 2009 Petite Sirah I have been tasting over the past few days. Unfortunately we are out of all our 2008 wines including the 2008 Block 4 which is a wine with a rare beginning, a middle and an end.............. complex.

I always start a movie and think:....can I identify with any of these characters so I am more into character stories and especially relationships when I see a movie. Marilyn was nice the other day, but last night was harder to relate to....The Girl In The Dragon Tattoo......

I have a big announcement today....we are planting more vines!!!!!! Last week there was no place to plant more vines. Catarino got 4 Michelin tires today for a great idea. That guy...Catarino, loves this place. After today, he deserves even more..............more later......... 

11:30 Am:  A bit more on the race thing.  Soon after I posted the first message  I got a message from one of our customers who said the following:  "When I was in public high school 40+ years ago, I was taking a class in history. The teacher taught us that there was no such thing as race... pretty much along the lines of what Thomas Mercer-Hursh was saying.  Apparently some of the kids went home and told their parents. Not soon thereafter the teacher was gone; we never saw him again. Fired.. All these years I have remembered that incident. I'm thankful he was my teacher and I learned and agreed with him then and I agree with him now. This was in a residential area that you'd "think" would not have fired a teacher for that. It was a rude awakening to the world."

1:00 Pm: As promised I will talk now more about our new plantings. I hear Matt is not happy about the new work he will be doing in a few years. Do any of you want to take Matt's place? Just kidding!!

We have many separations in our vineyard called avenues which are 14 feet wide between our old vine blocks 1-4. A few weeks ago we planted several 100 vines in the middle of most of these avenues. That means I can't drive my pickup down them anymore but should still have room to traverse with my tractor because we will use a more narrow trellis system. Catarino came up with the suggestion to plant. This week Catarino came up with another bigger idea: Plant in the middle of our 12 foot rows!!

In 1981 I planted new vines for the first time and one of the suggestions then was to plant vines in rows 12 feet apart because there were concerns about Mexican help at harvest. With 12 foot rows, mechanical harvesters could easily traverse. We have not used Mechanical harvesters because Mexican help has been good and the quality of picking is better. Also now mechanical harvesters have changed so that rows are being planted much closer these days with updated trellis systems. Some rows are only 6 feet wide. So Catarino has suggested planting in the middle of our 12 foot rows meaning we will be able to plant over 2000 new vines. I will have more info when I receive the vines in two weeks. Catarino is already preparing the soil.

Have a nice Easter.

Saturday April 7, 2012

Last night I tried two bottles of wine. 2004 Aca Modot. They were the same wine but with a different screwcap closure. One was sealed in a plastic liner and the other was a tin liner. We have been using tin since this bottling of Aca Modot in 2004. After a year I tasted these two wines and made my decision to use only tin. The difference was slight then and a little more pronounced tonight. I thought the tin lined wine was more smooth and had more fruit.

I need a new challenge!!!! I feel I am in a cross roads in my life. I have so much to say also. Before the last year I had no interest in my past life. I even remember people I respected from my past who would come by and I would not be friendly. The bottom point is I have not been interested in the past until recently. I have always wanted to progress to the future even at the expense to the present. And maybe still now.

Wine is now my presence and probably my future but I am now looking for a new adventure.

As you know I do not sleep well and I dislike sleeping so it is an interesting time to think.

I have always been a big believer of the 7 year cycle. Have you ever seen the "7 Year Itch"....a great movie and Marylin Monroe was great. Even though I was not a fan then, no one could have done a better job in that movie. Hey I am a movie fan and that is one of my top 100.

Try your self, it could be fun! Ok the problem I had in bed the last two nights was wanting to decide what my 7 year events......occurred in order and it was tough. The problem is what year do I start. There are so many important times in my life. But I have to start with 1943 my birth but I do not remember anything until 1950 when I was 7 the first year and event I remember something. I was 7 and was up on Mount Davidson in San Francisco near where I lived and my cousin who was a year younger than I defecated on the soil right in the open. We were alone but I was shocked. I thought it was disgusting and have not forgotten.

1957..........Seven years later. I hated Elvis. He was disgusting also in a different way. I did not like the way he asked women to cater to him. As a 14 year old I knew who he was. In 1957 in San Francisco I was in the Mechanical Drawing class at Balboa High School on March 22. Elvis had a big hit at the time called "All Shook Up". I thought it was an Ok song so I was prejudiced against it because of my disrespect of Elvis. In the class at this event I was writing slowly..........perfect ones or I's in a row with a very sharp lead pencil.............I still have the lead in my hand!! On March 22 1957 I experienced the strongest earthquake in my life. San Francisco had an earthquake happen near where we were and obviously the closer you are to an earthquake the stronger you feel it. The pencil somehow extended up to my hand. My teacher was older and was very "All Shook Up". Some of us shouted what is that? I remember the teacher assuring us it was an earthquake and not what we feared!!!!! Those times we were all scared there would be an atomic bomb dropped on us!!! Shortly after that I heard "Mean Woman Blues" in 1957 and then "Hard Headed Woman" in 1958 and Elvis was a big part of my life. I was hooked. No one I knew at that time was a fan so it was tough. I liked Elvis for his voice and music not for some of his actions.   

The seven year cycle will continue but here is where there is a gap or conversion............How do I not include my Father's death in 1953?   


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