David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 28 - 29
July 13, 2003 to August 2, 2003 

  Wednesday July 16, 2003

We finished!! Yesterday we bottled 724 cases of our 2002 Estate Zinfandel. Last night Steve, Brendan, Pat and I celebrated with Lamb and roast potatoes. We really had fun tasting many of our zinfandels: 1994,1995,1996,1997,1999, 2001 and both the 2002 "My Zin" and estate zin. I was extremely happy to find that possibly the best wine was the 1994. Al three of the old wines were still tasting young enough to last many more years. I might even start enjoying older wines again. I guess I still preferred the 2001 and especially the 1999. The 2002 wines, as expected were somewhat closed, but actually the "My Zin" had improved from last weeks bottling. All the wines were very enjoyable. 

On Monday we bottled 171 cases of 2002 Barbera and 363 cases of Aca Modot. I opened the 1996 Cab (which was from the Aca Modot site), 1997 Aca Modot as well as the 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. It has been a wonderful seven days of bottling. I preferred the 1999 and 2001 at this time, but suspect I will enjoy the 2002 more in another year. The 2000 surprised me when I tasted it blind. I have always liked the fruit, but this time I was also impressed by the structure (body). The 1996 and 1997 are still tasting young and should last at least 5 more years. 

Steve, Brendan and I had a great time last night discussing the future direction for the winery. I told them that I needed a new challenge. We agreed that we want to concentrate on our premium wines, but we also want to be one of the few wineries to produce a small amount of wine in the box. Don't get me wrong!! This method is the best way to preserve wine over several days. The wine is filled into a special box and when wine is used, the box creates a vacuum. No air is involved. We feel that this would be ideal for restaurants or wine bars. This year, in August, we will package a small amount of our 2002 ZP2C in these boxes. Brendan will explain more later. 

I actually will not be having my operation on my leg so we will be open this Saturday and Sunday. 


Friday July 18, 2003 

Some of you loading up this diary may be interested in my problems in life, other than wine. Well I got myself into another controversy. My wife hates these confrontations, but I love them. 

I had to cancel my operation on my varicose infected leg. It is a long story so I will make it long, but not all tonight. I was scheduled for a local injected operation. That means they were not going to put me out with a general anesthesia. Then I was called by a nurse at a hospital stating that I was going to go under a general anesthesia. I hate needles, but I hate more being under. I like having a drink in the evening and anesthesia does not go with wine. I have had four hernia operations in the past and two have been without being under, because I insist on it. I am a control freak and want to know what is happening. If I am going to die, I want to experience it. 

I was not told of this change. I received no call back from the doctor. 

More tomorrow: 

Sunday July 20, 2003 

First I would like to say that even with the hot weather we are experiencing, The ripening of the grapes in our vineyard is about as late as I have seen in my 25 years. We are probably two weeks behind. That could mean we will be harvesting in mid September. I just saw the first berries turning color today. 

I will now continue with my medical experience. I have a friend who went to Dr John B. Long in San Francisco and was very happy with the operation he performed on her varicose vein leg. The method he used is called "Closure" which has a better recovery time than and old method which involve stripping the veins. I made an appointment to see him which required me to take a 100 mile visit to San Francisco. I was charged for the visit and then asked to come back two months later (they are busy) to have a sonogram. I was also charged several hundred dollars for that visit. As far as I remember, I was told by Dr. Long that the procedure would be performed under a local, requiring no anesthesia. 

The surgery was to be performed at 3:00 Pm Friday, July 18th, requiring me to head home in the traffic. Pat who hates to drive, was not looking forward to the trip since we guessed they would not want me to drive (I have still not heard particulars on driving or any recovery info). Also I was requested to return at 5:00 Pm on Monday and travel home again during the commute. After getting home after the sonogram on May 16th, a Friday, I realized that it would be real difficult to drive 100 miles round trip twice in three days, especially considering the operation on my leg (I think the doctor wants my leg elevated). I also remembered that I had planned to accompany Kate and the rest of the family to Cal Poly (330 miles, round trip of 660 miles) Thursday, only 6 days after the operation. I called the doctor's office the next Monday to find out what was required of me before and after the operation (The literature I was given was vague). It took me three days to receive partial response to my questions. I also asked if my follow-up appointment on Monday could be changed to a more reasonable time. After many calls on my part and no return calls, I did finally corner Dr Long and he promised to change my appointment and have Patricia (I don't know what her title is) call me back to confirm the new time. This was Friday the 23rd of May. I waited a week and received no call. I called back the next week and was told by the receptionist that she thought the appointment was changed and she would have Patricia call me back. Again I received no phone call. I decided to let it go for now. 

When bottling started up on the 7th of July, even though I was busy, I started getting apprehensive. I felt it was because of the bottling and the impending operation. Sometime in June I did hear from the hospital (not the doctor) regarding information on pre admission. I also received conflicting information from my insurance company related to what coverage I had and what would be required to facilitate it. On Monday as I started bottling my Aca Modot and Barbera, I realized I had to start making calls again to finalize what would happen. I called Doctor Long's office again and this time I got a hold of a new person named Crystal. She said "Oh, you are having an operation on Friday; are you looking forward to it?" I answered "NO". Then she told me that my appointment on Monday was still scheduled for 5:00 PM. I told her that I had thought it was changed. She said she would have Patricia call me! Then that afternoon I received a call from the hospital. The head nurse wanted to ask some questions. That is when I was told that anesthesia was to be used and I was not scheduled for a local. I told her I did not want to be put out. I also told her I was getting very upset with Dr. John Long's office staff. She was very concerned and said she would relay my apprehensions to Dr Long's office. I called the hospital nurse back the next day and informed her that I would probably cancel the operation unless I heard back from my doctor. She said that I should call the office and state that. 

On Wednesday, I decided to do some research on varicose vein procedures and found out that there was a new procedure with lasers that was just as effective as the "closure" method. There is a doctor in Santa Rosa (25 miles) who is specializing in this new method. He was kind enough to stay late to see me on Wednesday. I was charged nothing for a sonogram in order to see whether I was a candidate. He was very informative, much more than when the sonogram was performed by a nurse at Dr. Long's office. I decided, then, that I should have this new operation on August 9th. 

I called up Dr. Long's office on Thursday morning and told the receptionist that I was going to cancel the operation scheduled for the next day. She did not seem surprised. I was about to hang up when she said said that Crystal wanted to talk to me. Crystal told me it was a shame that they had gone through so much trouble to rescheduled my appointment for Monday, from 5:00 PM to earlier in the day. I asked why I was not told of this before and why I was not phoned back this week or any other time. Crystal said "I was too busy with customers". I was extremely upset and replied: "You don't give a damn about me". I guess I should have asked whether she considered me a customer. Crystal hung up on me. I called back and was told by her that she is not used to being sworn at. I said that "damn" is not a serious swear word. She said to ask my relatives and friends. She then said she would have Dr. Long call me. I have not heard from him. 

I'd love to hear from him and find out if I was truly going to have a general anesthesia administered to me. BUT this morning I could not find a record of the charge of $315 for the sonogram. I guess they are so disorganized that they forgot to bill me. I suppose I should not call back. 

8:45 Pm I just had some wine as usual. Tonight I tried the newly bottled 2002 Block 4 and Estate Cuvee. Tasting blind, I had no trouble (for a change) identifying them. The Block 4 was already showing its unique complexity. BUT I was real happy with the Estate Cuvee. I love the structure and I may enjoy it more than the 2001, of course after another year. 

I had a heated conversation with my family tonight. As stated earlier, Crystal wanted me to ask my family about the word DAMN. They felt it was indeed a swear word. I protested. After a long heated conversation I collected myself and asked what about movies. Do you see movies with FUC_ in the TITLE or even movies with AS_ in it? Then Pat came through and admitted there is a movie called Damn Yankees. I agreed and the conversation was over. But I do agree, to use damn to condemn someone is wrong. 

Wednesday July 30, 2003

I have had things happening in the last 10 days. First of all I took a trip to Cal Poly where Kate will be attending, starting September 13. It will be hard to do without her, but we know she will be back. After returning on the 26th, we found out my Aunt Helen on my Mother's side passed away. She had been sick for over a month, but it still has been tough on all of us. My Mother is 81 now and said "It makes me thing about how I will go". I am 60 now and makes me think the same. 

I opened a bottle of 2002 Aca Modot and 2002 Petite Sirah tonight and was surprised that I could drink a good amount of each of them. They still have that young bouquet, but they are very concentrated and went well with my homemade pizza. I am now convinced these 2002 wines will be special. 

AGAIN, we have a problem with our Late Harvest Sauv Blanc. After selling 3 cases to The Dry Creek Kitchen, we have been told that some of the wine is refermenting. I do believe we will not be making this wine this year. If you have already picked up your wine, make sure the bottles are perfectly clear. We have found that some bottles are a little cloudy which could lead to some fizzing after opening. We are doing research and will be re-bottling some or all of the wine. 


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