David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 38
September 16, 2001 to September 22, 2001 

  Wednesday, September 19, 2001

The chemists in the wine industry always have something to say. They worry about everything that could go wrong with winemaking. Every year they have new ideas on how to keep our fermentations going strong all the way to complete dryness. This year they have a new method! Add all these vitamins and nutrients at different times during the fermentation. Years ago as an amateur, starting in 1979, all I did was sprinkle some yeast on the top of my crushed grapes and the next day I had a vigorous fermentation all the way to dryness. 

This year I have tried some of these new methods with no success. There are many possibilities on why I am having trouble with fermentations again, but one possibility is that we are adding too much vitamins and nutrients and also too much yeast. I am told by the chemists that these additions should not cause a problem.  I do know that our fermentations have been too hot.  I know Brendan and I have said we like to ferment hot, but this years temperatures have risen up to and over 100 degrees. That is enough to kill off the yeast activity.

With diligence, we probably have been successful with all our zinfandel fermentations. But, the carignan harvested last weekend is having trouble finishing fermentation. We have never had trouble before with carignan. I am concerned and thus have some big decisions to make tomorrow.

We did harvest two extra tons each of carignan and zinfandel. Julia, over at Lambert Bridge Winery, may want to purchase some fermented carignan from us, but of course. we have to be successful with our fermentations. We now also must decide how much fruit we need. We are hearing that the price of grapes and bottled wine is finally coming down. Maybe this crisis in New York will be the start of ending the escalation of retail wine prices. 

Saturday, September 22, 2001

We did end up having some slow fermentations with our carignan this last week. Yesterday we decided to press off the grapes in the least active fermenters into a tank that we could store inside the winery. This way we can keep the wine at 72 degrees till the end of fermentation. Today we are pressing off the rest of the carignan into barrels. Julia at Lambert Bridge will take 4 barrels of this wine. 

Today we are open for the first time in several weeks and thus we started tasting some of the 2001 wines out of the barrel. So far to Brendan and I, it looks like this could be a very good year. The 60% zin 40% petite sirah blend mostly from our young vines by the pond was exceptional. I was also impressed with the malbec/cab franc/merlot blend from our new Aca Modot area. The syrah had good fruit and the sauv blanc was tropical and tart. 

We should now be open on Saturdays; so come by and give us your opinion. 



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