David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 38 - 39
September 19, 2004 to October 2, 2004 

  Thursday September 23, 2004

Some of you may have noticed that our website was down for most of Monday. There was a fire in Maryland where are website is hosted. Why the backup batteries were not allowed to be used is still a mystery. Long story, so I will let Brad explain further:
Ok, here's what I think I know:  Due to an underground explosion in Baltimore, the building which houses the company that hosts the servers lost power. The battery backup solution actually was immediately activated. A secondary power feed, which comes directly from the city grid was turned on, but right about then the city ordered the immediate shutdown of the power grid. This grid spans for 26 city blocks. So much for the secondary power feed. So next they went to a third solution by bringing in a generator. There must not have been enough power or something to do with connectivity to allow the servers to be connected to the internet, but on the other hand, something must have kept running since no data was lost and it looks like some mail got stored at our servers. No mail or data was lost. Our webhost is a very good company called Pure Ideas Plus (we get excellent customer service), but they don't own the servers, they contract with a much bigger company called Alabanza, which is the company in Baltimore (at the confluence of a lot of big "internet pipes").  If Pure Ideas Plus can find a better hosting company it will move, they are always on the lookout and this is the second fire that has knocked out the servers in the last few years. Needless to say Pure Ideas Plus and about 150 other companies in their situation are going to be having a very big meeting with Alabanza...


The Harvest has been just about over for a week. There is just a small amount of second crop that we are picking tomorrow. Since we picked some Late Harvest Sauv Blanc last Tuesday, things have slowed down. We picked about a ton of 2nd crop and harvested enough Mourvedre to fill one barrel. For the first time in a month, we have no fermentations going on and all our wine is in the barrel. Our barrel total is down 15% from last year. This will be nice since we still have a small amount of 2002 wines for sale. The wines in the barrel are not through malo/lactic fermentation so I have not formed an opinion on the quality of the 2004 vintage.  I just know I could not be more happy about the way the wines tasted during fermentation. I will report further as they finish their second fermentation.

In the next day or two we will be sending out an announcement regarding our release party on November 13 and 14.

Thursday September 30, 2004

I got little sleep last night. I have a new problem. This time it is the Late Harvest Sauv Blanc again. Why am I making this problematic wine? I do it, because it is a challenge. Yesterday I decided to check the sugar and the alcohol of the tank that is fermenting Sauv Blanc for this year. I was shocked to find that the residual sugar was down to about 5%, but more alarming was that the alcohol was an astonishing 18%. I have never had a wine go to 18% so I have problems. Today we picked a few bunches of Sauv Blanc that are still out in the vineyard. The sugar was 33%. So I made up a sample blend of the straight juice and the high alcohol wine. It tasted great. Now how do I combine the two and make a stable wine. After much research I have decided to pick enough new sauv blanc and add it to the 18% sauv blanc tank. I am afraid that the fermentation may start over again, but if things work right the high sugar and high alcohol will kill off what little yeast is left. We will then sterile filter it. I am aiming for a wine that is about 12% alcohol. The residual sugar will depend on the sugar content of the new grapes to be harvested on Monday. In the mean time, I added 100ppm SO2 to the tank and turned the chiller down to 40 degrees. That should stabilize the wine until Monday. 

I also have a barrel of sauv blanc left over from last year. I tried to make a late harvest last year, but gave up after the finished wine, in barrel, started fermenting again. I just let it perk away until it stopped. I checked it today and found an alcohol of 16.7% and sugar of about 1.5%. I tried to blend some of the juice picked today into a small amount of the wine and was not happy with the taste. I think it has too much volatile acidity after fermenting so long. One way of saving the wine and getting rid of the acidity is to referment it with new grapes. So I will take some grapes picked Monday and see what happens. It may make a nice wine and then I could blend it into the tank mix or bottle it separate. All this will be a new challenge. 

` Dave 

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