David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 34 - 37
August 24, 2008 - September 20, 2008 

Wednesday August 27, 2008

Two bunches of Pinot came in at 25 brix so we may be harvesting next Tuesday. Probably over all we are at 23 brix right now.

Just a reminder that we will stop selling out 2005 wines on September first. We will still have them around but stacked out of the way. If you are still interested, let us know a few days in advance so we can get to them.

Also on September first the price on our 2008 Futures will go up by one dollar a bottle. We will raise them again on December first. Every cost that goes into the price of producing our wines has gone up by over 10% in the past few years. Next years Pre-Harvest Futures will start at $16 and $14 for Vintage Circle discount which will amount to a 7% increase. Here are Zinfandel prices for Vintage Circle Customers for the last 12 vintages: $12 1998, $12 for 1999, $12.50 for 2000, $13 for 2001, $13.25 for 2002, $12.50 for 2003, $12.50 for 2004, $13 for 2005, $13 for 2006, $13 for 2007 and $13 for 2008. In those 12 years the price of most zinfandels and other premium red wines have doubled. I am proud I have been able to hold my prices for all these years.

Wednesday September 3, 2008

We have started harvesting!! Yesterday we harvested a small amount of Pinot and today we harvested 2.5 tons of Zinfandel. The quality looks great, but the bunches are small and we may be harvesting less than I figured. All the sugars came in about 25 brix and may swell up to 27 tomorrow. We will be adding some 2005 Zin to the fermentations....that should make up for the light crop.

Friday September 5, 2008

It is getting hectic around here. Our zin, block 4, grenache, sangiovese, barbera and peloursin are all ready. That is a total of about 24 tons. We have room to ferment about 33 tons, but the problem is that we have to harvest for Bruce, the WineGuerrilla. It looked like he had 20 tons ready and we only have room for 8, but now it looks like the Price Family Zin for Bruce will need another week to get ripe. That makes it 14 tons for Bruce. We won't be pressing until next Friday and that will only be 2 tons. One thing that is good is that Catarino and Salvador can only pick 2.5 tons a day so it will take 10 days to pick our 24 tons and in the mean time we can press some everyday starting next Friday, day 10. I can figure this out, but it will take time everyday because everyday things change. 

After next week we will harvest petite sirah and Cabernet along with Merlot and Cab Franc. We will also have some more WineGuerrilla. It will be fun. 

Tuesday September 9, 2008

We harvested even Sunday. Catarino and Salvador picked 300 pounds of Sangiovese, our first crop which goes into our Barbera. We have good news on the Barbera.......we got 1154 ponds of first crop off the frost damaged vines. Catarino thinks we could get another 1000 pounds of second crop in about two weeks. That means we should be able to make at least 75 cases. We also got in 648 pounds of Grenache which will go into our Terre Melange. Yesterday we did our Peloursin which will be fermented with our Grenache from Sunday. Today we are starting on our Block 4.

Bruce contracted from Gallo 12 tons of Zinfandel just a half mile away from us. Today we will have a full day of crushing and tomorrow our winery will be out of fermenters. Friday we will press and make room for more grapes. 

Wednesday September 10, 2008

I miss calculated and forgot the day of the week.  It has been stressful. I thought yesterday was Wednesday. Our fermenters are full after the picking today so we have to press some Zinfandel tomorrow, Thursday. That will free up 5 fermenters for Friday and Saturday's picking. I am not sure what we will pick on Saturday but I do know we will finish picking the grapes for Block 4 tomorrow. 

Thursday September 11, 2008

We are now pressing half our Zinfandel today and tomorrow we will press the other half. We should get about 30-32 barrels which will go into our Estate Zin, Estate Cuvee and My Zin. Today Catarino is finishing up picking our Block 4 and tomorrow we will do a joint fermenter of Tannat and Lagrein. That should be fun to see how it turns out. So far our Zin production is running 20% below last year and 15% below normal. 

Sunday September 14, 2008

I know some of you have had more problems today than I have; my day definitely did not start off well. Kate came home yesterday and since Susie has been home for two weeks, last night was great having both our daughter's home. This morning did not start off well. We had no water.

Actually our problems started yesterday. We noticed our septic tank was overflowing. We think the pump had been staying on so long that it burned out. We pulled the old pump and found an old sump pump to drain the tank. I figured our problem had been solved because all we had to do was replace the old pump with a new and better one. But when I had no water this morning I found it hard to believe I could be out of sewage and water supply in the same 12 hours. I was right to suspect something unusual: the problems were related.

I found out this morning that our water tank was so low that the pump could not supply us with water. I figured we were using too much water in the winery, using our irrigation for landscaping at the same time and our daughters were using the washing machine too much. We stopped using water and noticed the water storage tank was still not filling up fast enough. There was a loss of pressure also as if there was a mystery water valve open somewhere. Sure enough, we finally found that one of our water filters was stuck and was back flushing a great deal of water constantly. We don't know how long this had been happening.

How are these two problems related? The back flush water is sent out in an area above the septic tank. By staying on all the time, it was draining into the septic tank at a rate that was too much for the septic pump. It overheated and stopped working. So the water filter caused both problems. That is what I get for living in the country, but living here is worth all the problems.

Monday September 15, 2008

All my water problems have been solved.....for now.

We are still in a cooling faze so we won't be harvesting anymore fruit for at least 8 days. We will be pressing through out this week so we will still be busy. By then we should have over 60 barrels filled of our Estate wine and 40 for the Wine Guerrilla. The quality looks great. 

Thursday September 18, 2008

We have been pressing, pressing and pressing. Today we are pressing our 2008 Block 4. Saturday we will press our first Tannat and Lagrein. I just took a sample of the Lagrein for testing and was amazed by the color. It is the darkest wine I have ever seen. It is going into the 2008 Escuro so that is very appropriate since Escuro means "Dark" in Portuguese. Our sugar tests this week on the remaining grapes showed no increase so we will not be harvesting for at least 6 days. The Petite Sirah will be next.


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