David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 40 - 41
October 3, 2004 to October 16, 2004 

  Sunday October 3, 2004

I have problems to solve again. It will be easy. I have started to do some barrel tasting, even with a few customers. I have also started to analyze alcohols on all our barrels. This year will be less than last. I will only have 190 barrels. My first three alcohols on Old Vine Zinfandel came in about 15.6. I will not make a wine with that much alcohol. Then I checked out our new zin and came in about 14.8. I did find two barrels of Cab and Petite Sirah at about 14% which will blend in fine with "MY Zin" and some carignan and peloursin as well as Estate Cab to blend with "Estate Cuvee", but I need to find more zin barrels with lower alcohol to create a 100% Estate Zin under 15%. In the next week I will find out the alcohol on all 190 barrels AND then I can start to solve the puzzle to create all my wines. 

Friday October 8, 2004

I am working on the late harvest Sauv Blanc. I have decided to dump out the late harvest Sauv Blanc from two years ago. Sure it had a potential for $10,000 gross, but we did not need it. On Monday, after laying off our temporary harvest workers, Catarino picked almost 700 pounds of Sauv blanc by himself. At first after starting the press, the brix reading was 28. A little lower than I was hoping for. The next day sugar readings were up to 38%. Overall I don't think I had more than 31%. I figured that we can sell about two barrels of Late harvest (About 1200 Half bottles at Average of $15 yielding a gross of $18,000). With our harvest of three weeks ago and this harvest, we now have enough 2004 late harvest for two barrels. The wine in the barrel from two years ago was not tasting great and I needed to referment it to rid the off flavors. Instead of being greedy and blending to make three barrels I have decided to go with this new harvest wine.  The first wine, started three weeks ago, got away from me and went to 18% alcohol and about 3 to 4% sugar. I want a late harvest sauv blanc at about 10% alcohol and 15% sugar. 

I decided to start with 25 gallons of the first press at 28% sugar. I added this fresh unfermented juice to a neutral 60 gallon barrel. I then added about 30 gallons of of the tank fermented 18% alcohol and 3-4% sugar wine. I measured the combined wine and came up with about 9% alcohol and 15% sugar, so I added some more of the tank mix and came up with about 9.5% alcohol. Not bad for the first barrel. I continued to press and added about 25 gallons of fresh juice to the second neutral barrel. I again topped off the barrel with the tank mix. This time I have about 17% sugar and about 9% alcohol. NOW the key is to keep the barrels from fermenting. By adding 100ppm of so2 (sulfites) to the barrels, and combining high sugar and high alcohol batches, the mix in both barrels have remained silent and are not fermenting. The winery is kept at about 73 degrees lately which is warm enough to start a fermentation. I have not added yeast to either barrel, but the barrels do have some older yeast from the tank mix. I will keep an ear to the barrel until next week and then we will do our first filtering to eliminate the dead yeast cells and fresh pulp. By clarifying the wine I should eliminate some of the potential to referment. 

Sunday October 10, 2004

My Late Harvest is fermenting again. We will have to filter it Tuesday. I feel there is less than a 50% chance that filtering will completely stop the fermenting. Now, there is a chance that the fermentation will stop on its own, but I doubt it. Even if it stopped the alcohol could rise to above 15% which I feel is way too high.

Wednesday October 13, 2004

Yesterday did not go well. It took 4 hours to roughly filter one barrel of 2004 Late Harvest Sauv Blanc. It does appear stable for now, but we will have to filter it at least two more times. We will attempt to filter the second barrel today, but it has more solids in it SO in preparation yesterday, we ran it through a fine mesh first.

3:00 PM: I have great news. We finished running the second barrel through our rough filter. All the wine went into our small chiller. I had lowered the wine down to 28 degrees last night so the wine was somewhat being protected from oxidation. In the last hour we filtered all the wine from the tank back to the barrels with the same type of rough filters. Steve is now setting up to use our medium filters and we will filter back to the tank and chill down again. This time I think I will add a dose of Argon gas to protect the wine overnight. The wine tastes wonderful. I just did a check of the numbers and wound up with a sugar of 15% and an alcohol of 9%. The PH was 3.45. I may add more acid later. We have been priming the filter pads with our 2002 Dry Sauv Blanc so we have not lost much wine from the barrels. We will continue to add some of this dry wine which is 14% alcohol. If everything works out as planned the end wine should be a little under 15% residual sugar and a little more than 9% alcohol.

3:45 PM: Great, we had no trouble getting through our medium filter pads SO we will now filter the wine through the sterile pads back to the barrels. I will then store the barrels over in the wine case storage building where the temperature is about 60 degrees and where the temperature will go down in to the 50's in the next month. At some point I plan to borrow a larger size sterile filter from Lambert Bridge Winery. Hopefully this will only be needed just before we bottle. BUT if the wine decides to start fermenting again, we will borrow the large filter then and give the wine a final try. I do not plan on taking money for this 2004 Late Harvest Sauv Blanc until I see whether it starts fermenting again.

Saturday October 16, 2004

I have to get into the Stock Market. It was interesting that I heard President Bush in the last two debates say that the Stock Market had been going down 6 months before he was elected. Yes I agree that stocks had started down then, but isn't the Stock Market supposed to predict future events. Some of the reason the Stock Market had been going down could have been the realization that we were going to have a Republican President. Here is what I wrote in December of 2000 just after President Bush was declared the winner.

"I know most of you are hoping the stock market will start going up since we finally have a Republican president elect. Beware, check out history. I have been following the stock market since 1962 and have noticed that, probably by chance, the stock market goes up more during Democratic administrations. Just think, for the last year, most of us have expected Bush to get in as our next president. Then why has the general market been going down? In other  words, just because we have a Republican in, that doesn't mean the market will go up."
I see I was right or has History repeated itself again? Although don't worry, just as when Reagan was elected in 1980 the Stock Market went down, but in his second term it started back up again. So my prediction is that no matter who gets elected President the Market will go up. 
` Dave 

Home | Read | Diary | Public Forum | Tell Us What You Think of Our Diary! | Last Week | Next Week