David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 35
August 27, 2000 to September 2, 2000 

Sunday August 27, 2000

I have only a few minutes, because we must go up in our movie room. It is Kate's and Susie's last night to see a movie, because they go back to school Tuesday. 

The fog  came in again in the last two days, but we are still harvesting for Lambert bridge tomorrow. 

We have had our usual 60 to 70 visitors in this weekend so I haven't had any time to report the results that Brendan took. Not surprising that all samples of zinfandel came in at over 24% brix after swelling up. We are still going Thursday. The flavor of the juice is outstanding, We are excited!!! 

Monday August 28, 2000

Well the kids are preparing for school tomorrow so that means no movie tonight. Actually that means I have more time to write to my diary. 

Somehow the high temperature in the last two days was 100 degrees. As I have said before, I become oblivious to the temperature of the day during harvest so I did not notice this event. The fog has moved in in the last few days until about 10 am, but it has still stayed hot in the afternoon. 

Today we harvested the rest of our sauv blanc fruit for Lambert Bridge Winery. Julia was hoping for under 24 % sugar and the last indication from her was "perfect at 23.2". She has bought fruit from me since 1983 and she has been so easy to deal with. Sometimes I think she gives me a sugar reading that I want to hear. But then again I believe that would not be in her personality. Maybe we just work well together.Over the years though I have felt I have let her down. I try to predict a reasonable crop level and deliver her less. We were hoping for 9 tons today, but ended up with 6. That is only 5 tons to the acre. I have heard that some, of the big producers of sauv blanc wine, have vineyards that yield twice that amount. Maybe that is how they can sell their wine at such reasonable prices. We could earn twice as much money if we sold Red vaietals in this section and 4 times more if we made wine from those red grapes. I HAVE NO PLANS TO REMOVE THESE SAUV BLANC GRAPES AT THIS TIME. I want to keep Julia happy and also produce the best wine sauv blanc wine I can. We have plenty of grapes on this small vineyard to satisfy our winery and also help out Julia. 

Tuesday August 29, 2000

Well it got cold today!! The sun never came out!! There is a weather disturbance that no one can understand!! No one can predict what will happen!! Each hour it appears there could be some rain. I am not concerned!! I welcome rain--as long as it is no more than half an inch. That much rain will wash off the leaves and help out ripening. Most important: we are harvesting all our zinfandel Thursday and Friday, rain or shine. 

Bendan and I were out today doing sugar samples and tasting of the grapes. I have never tasted such intense flavors from my vineyard. Maybe it is a great year or maybe the grapes taste so intense because I am on the "Atkins diet" and I have had little sugar this year. But there is more to this season. As I have said this has been the most average season in my 22 years here, but also I have never seen such great looking zinfandel bunches. I remember showing Marty Bannister of Bannister wine fame a perfect bunch of zinfandel from my vineyard. This happened to be 1990 after our harvest. There were as usual a few bunches left unpicked and of course they were left hanging a little longer. Today half the bunches in our vineyard looked like those perfect bunches. I am so excited because nothing can stop the harvesting of this fruit. Even if it rains 3 inches tomorrow, the dilution that will result will not effect our vineyard for a few days.

Our sugar sample results came in as no surprise. All petite sirah, carignan and cabernet samples were between 19 and 21 % meaning we are atleast two weeks off from harvesting after our zinfandel. Our Pinot Noir vineyard in Russian River did show a 22.3 sugar, but is probably two weeks off. 

As with most of you, these are not the only events in my day::

1) Kate, 15 years old, drove Susie and I to their schools today. I mentioned to Kate twice to avoid frequenting the center line on Dry Creek Road. (concerning).

2) I called a barrel shipping company concerning a $57 charge for two barrels for me delivered to Lambert Bridge Winery. I tried to explain this charge was 7% of the cost of the barrels and that I had to send Brendan over to pick up the barrels. Long story------still unresolved.

3) Brendan and I set up our new de-stemmer and processed the sugar samples thru it---three hour project. (still learning)

4) Steve and I decided to harvest a small part of the Lane vineyard tomorrow.

5) Brendan took off in my truck tonight to pick up-- tomorrow our sorting hopper in Napa.

6) Our stray cat Feebie? was let loose in our office and seemed to enjoy the experience.

7) Our new storage, guest building is in its 4th day of foundation preparation.

8) Our movie room is almost done.

Do you get it!! I could go on and on, but I don't have the time. I just want you to realize we are like all of you: there are other things that go on in our life besides our business.

Wednesday August 30, 2000

Too many things happened today to mention all. It was a very long day. The sun did not come out for the second day. We also got some light sprinkles. As I have said, I am not concerned about a few sprinkles, but it will slow down the harvest.

Brendan came back at 12:30 from Napa after picking up our sorting table. So I decided to send Caterino and three others out to pick some zinfandel. These four guys had picked 500 pounds of zin from the Lane vineyard earlier in the morning. I wanted to harvest from this very small Lane area because it was stressed and sparse. After setting up our sorting table we proceeded to sort out what we had. The Lane zin was very high sugar, but it appeared that there was some unripe bunches in our vineyard that needed to be sorted out. I was very impressed with Brendan, because he immediately asked me whether we had to harvest all the zin at once. I was hoping all the areas in our vineyard were ready, but I was wrong. Even though the flavor is there, we need another week to reach the desired overall sugar and consistency. Even though I said yesterday that 50% of the bunches look to be at very high quality, there are others that need time.

We do expect that after swell up over night, we should get readings in the high 23% range from the 2 tons we harvested. We are aiming for mid 24s so we must wait for the rest.

Saturday September 3, 2000

Our zinfandel is fermenting very slowly, because the weather has been cool for a few days. Actually we have had several periods of showers, but yielding only a few hundredths of an inch. There could be some rot that starts up, but ahhh, we always get some rot. Our sauv blanc fermenting in the tank at 51 degrees has still 7% sugar, but all the barrels are dry. 

I was just out in the vineyard to see how much zinfandel was picked and I wasn't surprised that the yield is very low again. It doesn't look like we will have more than 2.5 tons per acre. I am now going to start recalculating my total cases.

I gave Brendan off the next several days. On Tuesday I will send him out to do more sugar tests. If it gets warm again we will probably harvest more zin toward the end of next week.

We've added some 2000 Harvest photos you might want to look at.


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