David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 48 - 52
November 30 - December 31, 2009 

Tuesday December 2, 2008

I have made a few trades in the last few days and actually made a little money, but I decided to sell most of the stocks I was trading in for the short term. Those stocks were GE, Ford, Cisco, Amazon and Google. I am still holding on to my core investments which I have loses in. Since I am usually wrong on my sales, it is probably a good time to buy. I may trade again if the market goes down and tests the lows of Friday the 21st of November.

This weekend is our open house and there will be no fee to come in and taste wine, look at videos, and have a little barbecued turkey. Come one come all.

Monday December 8, 2008

I wasn't surprised that we had less people stop by at our open house Saturday. We were expecting as many as 300 and I don't think we had 150. Sales of course were down also. The economy may be part of the reason but we are hopeful that things will pick up next year. In the past, December through February has been our slowest time so I won't get concerned until March. Since we have gone completely back to using just our Estate fruit a small drop in sales will not put us in a big bind. We have plenty of cash in the bank at this time. We also may see more sales by the end of this month before our extra 5% discount goes away on December 31. It will be interesting to see if sales of some of these expensive wines from mostly Napa wineries continue to be firm. 

Pat and I will be away for a week on a short vacation so I will be in touch shortly.

Friday December 26, 2008

We are back from our vacation. I hope everyone had a nice xmas and will have a happy New Year. There is only a few more days for our extra 5% discount on our bottled wines. If you need wine please take advantage of this offer. We also still have some 2005 wines so let us know if you are interested. 

I am excited about our 2008 wines and can't wait to see how the blends come out. We will taste many types of new barrels on January 5th and start blending on January 6th. We will bottle our new 2008 Rose and our 2007 Ultimate Cuvee in the last week in January.

Wednesday December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

We are trying something new. We are chilling down our wine while it is cold outside. We moved all our 135 barrels of 2008 vintage wine into our parking lot. Here is what I said last year in July:

Tuesday July 17, 2007

Tonight I have to ask all of you a question: Do you mind sediment at the bottom of a bottle of wine. I know we have that occurrence in some of our wines. If you pick up our wine after March your chances are that the wine has been cold stabilized and thrown tartrate crystals. The sediment is harmless but I have had numerous e-mails and phone calls from customers who think the wine has gone bad. I can remedy this problem just as high producing wineries do: They chill their wine before bottling. If I hold a red wine at 28 degrees for 3 to 4 days it will settle all the tartrates. Now you might ask: Why haven't I done this before? Yes, it would cost $15,000 AND I did not think it was necessary. 

Our wine is stored over in a building that gets down to 55 degrees in the winter. Sure wine will cold stabilize (Settle all the tartrates and other particles) in three days at 28 degrees, but at 55 over four months our wine does settle tartrates. I store my personal wine at 62 degrees. We store our aging barreled wines at about 66 degrees during the 10 months up to bottling. 

OK I have three options:

1) I could do nothing!! The least expensive option, MAYBE. What if I am losing customers because they don't like sediment? They might have picked up the wine after it was cold stabilized or they keep their cellar unnecessarily low at 55 degrees. Also I may have some customers who ask for a refund.

2) I could arrange to pipe in our heater from upstairs into the downstairs storage area. Probably $5,000 or so, maybe less!! That way I could keep the wine from cold stabilizing, say at about 65 degrees. BTW I don't think cold stabilizing either hurts or improves a wine.

3) I could purchase a stainless steel tank; $15,000+. I would have to use gas to blanket the top of the tank for at least 4 days at 28 degrees, in my opinion taking a chance of losing fruit in the wine. If the gas does not work perfectly, it could expose the wine to air and thus oxidation.

Back at that time I decided to do nothing mainly because of the cost of the equipment and energy to achieve what I want. Last week Matt suggested moving the barrels outside where it is cold this time of year and I agreed. So in the last two days Catarino, Salvador and I moved all our barrels outside and also all the WineGuerrilla wine. Right now as I write at 8:00Am it is 35 degrees in our parking lot. We keep our winery at about 62 degrees this time of year and warm the room up to 68 when we our tasting. That means normally the wine in the barrel stays in the low to mid 60s. 

When I started moving the barrels outside on Monday the temperature of the wine 6 inches down into the barrel was 62 degrees. Yesterday in the morning the wine moved down to 53 degrees. Steve put a two foot thermometer into the same barrel and we found out that in the lower part of the barrel the wine was at 50 degrees yesterday. These barrels are right out in the open during the day and the high temperature yesterday at our winery was 62 degrees and I was happy to see at 4:00Pm the temperature in the barrel was the same as in the morning. This morning the temperature 6 inches down in the barrel is 48 degrees and the thermometer down two feet is at 45 degrees. Next Monday we will move into the winery barrels to put into a tank on Tuesday. That will be the start of creating our blends for our 2008 wines. 

Depending on how low the wine goes down to I may put the barrels after blending back in the parking lot until the outside temperature starts rising. It would be nice to see the overnight low reach into the 20s again like it did two weeks ago. If I can get the wine down to 40 degrees for several days I may achieve what I am looking for: wine that has settled most of the tartrates. I'll keep you in touch.



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