David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 37
September 9, 2001 to September 15, 2001 

  Sunday, September 9, 2001

Yesterday was one of the longest days Brendan and I have had. We crushed 12.7 tons. That is about 20% of our yearly production. Most of it was zinfandel and 4 tons was from the Block 4 area. We did finish all our old vine zin, but does leave a few tons of newer zin. The 4 tons of Block 4 does assure that we will be able to satisfy all of you on our waiting list for that wine and some new people who are interested. We will have it in the barrel in one week to taste. I am so exhausted and it will take days to decide how to organize the winery. We did have Barbera picked Friday and half of it has already been blended into the zin we harvested Thursday. 

The biggest problem that we are having is that our fermenters have been leaking. I did manage to repair 16 of the twenty, but that means we are fermenting in half ton bins. Monday I am hoping to receive new parts to repair the other four. I am sorry I must sign off now inorder to process some Barbera. Brendan has the day off today. I hope to explain more tomorrow. 

Monday, September 10, 2001

There are so many things to do today that I thought I should start noting them early this morning, otherwise I will forget what happens. 

5:00 AM: I woke up at my usual time, but forced myself to stay in bed until 6 AM. I probably got to sleep at 11 PM so I am fine. I need only 6 hours sleep. 

6:00 AM: I went down stairs to clean off my desk and get organized. I have been trying to pay bills for a week. 

7:00 Am: Brendan arrived. We just discussed the plan of the day. I had all day yesterday to regroup and decide possibilities for today. We have 28 different fermentations going on so we must decide what to do with them (see picture). 7 half ton bins are Block 4 and the rest are old vine zin. We really don't know what the potential alcohol is in each one, but we can estimate with a hydrometer. So Brendan will punch down and then check every bin for sugar and PH's. Two bins contain the last of our Barbera picked Friday and we must decide what do do with it. Later today I am hoping to get the parts for the repair of our bigger fermenters (T-Bins) and that will free up some space inside the winery. Also we will transfer four bins of Block 4 into our milk tank. We also have to find some time today or tomorrow to rack our Sauv Blanc into barrels. 

8:15 Am: Now that it is after 8 Am, I've made a few phone calls, the most important to the supplier up north who will deliver our Bulk Head Fittings for the fermenters. I was told they are on their way with these metal fittings. We have been using three inch plastic fittings that fit through our plastic fermenters so that we can connect a valve to. We hope that these metal ones will hold up better. 

8:00-9:45: I try to consolidate my bills. 

9:45 Am: A guy from Willits (over 100 miles north) dropped off our new bulk head fittings. It looks like I will have to do some modification to the fermenter like drilling holes, but they do look like they will do the job. I pay him $1423.10 for ten. It's only money! 

10:00 Am: Brendan finishes the testing and we must decide now what the results mean. 

11:00 Am: Brendan and I decide to add barbera to half of our zin fermenters and all of our Block 4. The ph on the Block 4 is already about 3.65 before M/L and the sugars are about 25 Brix. The zins that we are adding to are at high Brix levels. We also decided that it would be too much trouble to transfer, punch down and transfer out of the two ton milk tank; so we are going to transfer wine into our one ton fermenters when we press the zin that has been fermenting since Thursday. 

11:00 Pm: Twelve hours later I am still working. With 3 hrs off for cooking and Monday night football, that still gives me a 15 hour day. Brendan left at 5:00 Pm to attend a concert in San Francisco with his girl friend. I worked till about 5:45 and finally got three fermenters ready for tomorrow. Brendan in the mean time cleaned up and started adding the nutrients and yeast to all our fermenters from Friday and Saturday. 

I have taken many pictures to try to explain what went on today; see our 2001 Harvest Gallery page 2 and page 3

After I had decided that the bolts that came with the bulk head fittings were too short to fit through our fermenters and about to give up, Brendan came up with a brilliant idea. Why don't we cut out an opening from the outer layer of the fermenter so that we wouldn't need such long bolts. The t-bin (fermenter) has an inner layer and an outer layer for strength ( a total of two inches); but the outer layer is not needed where the bulk head fitting comes through and then is connected to a valve. I hope the pictures explain some of what I am saying. I spent the rest of the day cutting away the outer layer and drilling holes in three fermenters so that I could install the new fittings and then our newly acquired valves. Again I hope the pictures help. 

Tomorrow is another long day. 

Friday, September 14, 2001

We have been glued to the TV as all of you have, but still we have had to carry on with all the important matters needed to be done at our winery. 

Our 8 fermenters, that were started after Thursday's 6 tons of zin, were pressed yesterday. We decided to pump into a tank instead of barrels, because we had a few fermenters that were slowing down. We don't believe the fermentation has stopped, but we have more control if the wine is all in a tank. This way after going dry, we will be able to put the exact same wine in all our different barrels. That way we can have fun tasting the different wines that will be created. All barrels depart different flavors. We did add a new yeast that hopefully will encourage the wine to finish fermentation. 

The Block 4 and other zin in fermenters that was picked Saturday are still fermenting and hopefully we will be able to press them tomorrow. We need to free up more fermenters enable to find a place for our carignan. 

Caterino is picking some old vine carignan now and will finish the younger zin from the wire tomorrow along with the rest of the carignan. It will be interesting to see how much carignan comes in today in order to estimate the total for the old vines. 



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