David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks  5 - 6
February 5, 2006 to February 25, 2006 

  Monday February 13, 2006 

I have purchased many coffee grinders over the years. They have ranged in price from $10 for a simple blade grinder to $500 for a Pasquini burr Moka Coffee Grinder. I roast coffee very dark and the beans become somewhat oily. I grind my coffee beans to a very fine state, almost to powder. The cheapest grinder works fine, but I have to hold the button down for a long time. Several years ago I moved up to an inexpensive Braun automatic for about $30. It did a good job, but is messy and took a lot of shaking to transfer the oily beans through the grinder. It also needs to be cleaned constantly. 

After I started roasting my own coffee beans a few years ago I started looking for a better grinder. Usually that means spending money, but just like wine you don't necessarily get what you want or need. I tried a $100 Solis Maestro and was very disappointed. I could not get the oily beans to run through the grinder no matter how much I shaked it. I then upgraded to a $300 Rancilio Rocky. I had the same problem, but this machine is heavy and hard to shake anyway. Then last year I purchased a $500 Pasquini Moka. It works fine, but I have never been completely satisfied. It won't grind as fine as I want (I want it like powder) and it clogs easily and since it ways about 20 pounds it is hard to clean. Then the other week I saw a new grinder at Costco. It is the Cuisinart model #CCM16PC (# on bottom of grinder). I costs $30 and does everything I want. It is quick and grinds finer than any automatic I have tried. I highly recommend it. I see reviews of Cuisinart model DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill which looks a lot like mine, but costs $60. These reviews mostly complain about the inconsistent grind that creates some powder. Since I want powder I have not experienced this problem. 

In less than three weeks we will host the Russian River Barrel Tasting from Friday the 3rd until Monday the 6th of March. I think we are having chili this year and will offer all our red wines including the Chardonnay. Woodstock starts at 10am Saturday. I will have more info soon.

Friday February 17, 2006 

I have another problem in life. This time again it is a problem with Susie, my 18 year old daughter. And again it involves her 2003 Honda Civic SI Hatchback. Last Friday February 10th Susie decided to visit friends about 8pm. We live out in the country on Dry Creek Road about 8 miles from town. About 5 minutes later Susie calls and says the Honda Civic would not run. She had stopped at Dry Creek General Store about 4 miles away. I had been consuming some wine, but knew I had to pick her up. After navigating to the store, I put Susie in my 330i BMW and told her to follow me. I got into the Honda Civic SI and immediately noticed the burned up smell of the clutch. The engine was racing and the the car would not run very fast. Yes, I assumed the clutch was slipping and was about to fail completely. I started heading for home and finally the Honda Civic would not travel any further. We were about one mile from our house and Winery.

The next morning I had the 2003 Honda Civic SI towed to our house. And then the next Monday I had it towed to Manly Honda in Santa Rosa, 25 miles away. The cost to me was $160. Pat had to leave town to visit relatives in Modesto so she had to rent a car for four days for a total of $180. I was told by Manly Honda that they could not get to it until Tuesday and if they found any manufacture defects the repair would be free. I had little hope, because clutches are never covered under warranty. This Honda Civic has 29,200 miles on it. I bought this Civic because I had heard it was very reliable. We live out in the country and I want my daughters to have a car that would not fail out in the middle of Dry Creek Road.

As I expected, I was told by Manly Honda that the clutch and flywheel needed to be replaced and that they would not know about defects until they opened it up. They needed my permission to order parts. On Wednesday after receiving parts I was told they found no defects and that I would be fully responsible for the repair. I asked to have an appointment with the Service Manager.

On Thursday I spoke to the Service Manager and explained that I had owned only stick shifts for 42 years and, even though I had lived in San Francisco and went up and down those steep hills, I had never had a clutch go out. I have owned three high performance Fords, two Corvettes, two Porsches two Toyotas a Fiat a Ranger and I am sure a few other vehicles. All these cars were new and all were stick shifts. I told him there has to be a defective part that failed. They made me pay $1245 to take the Honda Civic home. I told him I would never buy another Honda or other vehicle from Manly Honda again. He said he would contact Mr. Manly and Honda to make my case. Later in the day he said both parties felt it was driver error.

I don't know what my recourse is. I have contacted Honda Customer relations. Does anyone out there have a suggestion. I questioned Susie and she assures me that she does not ride the clutch, and she does not race. I have never smelled burning clutch in all the time the car has been stored in our basement right near our office. There are no steep hills where the car has been driven. It has primarily been driven to Healdsburg no more than 8 miles. Here are some questions: What would make a clutch in a Honda Civic SI fail in 29,000 miles? What would cause it to burn up in 4 miles when there was no evidence of problems when it started down the road? I do know the Honda had been hard to get into reverse without grinding, right from the time we bought it. I was told that was normal and then told that it had to be put into first before reverse. With the new clutch there is far less grinding. Please HELP!!!

Wednesday February 22, 2006

Pat says I am righteous. I agree. I will never buy another Honda. I will never buy a car from anything associated with a Manly dealership. 

I contacted Honda customer relationship. Guess what??? They back the dealership which is Manly Honda. A clutch is a wear and tear item. I agree unless there is a defect in the item. I drove with Susie today and observed her driving habits all the way down Dry Creek Road for 8 miles and into Healdsburg to her school. It was perfect timing. She had forgotten something back at the school so she was in a hurry. I did not see one incident of her riding the clutch. There is no way she could have gone through a clutch in 29,000 miles. I will never buy another Honda now that it is the first auto to fail me in the middle of the night.

Like Pat says, Corporate Honda does not care!!

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