David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 7 - 11
February 17, 2008 - March 22, 2008 

Friday February 22, 2008

Not much is happening here. We are preparing for the two weekends of Barrel Tasting starting on March 1st. We are planting  a lot of new landscaping and bringing in more gavel. Customer traffic was dismal in January, but sales at our winery have picked up in the last two weeks, probably because of the good weather. Our internet sales have remained strong so overall we are down about 15% for the year. Our production for this year will be down to 3800 cases because we are going back to all Estate. 

Friday February 29, 2008

Today the stock market is down again and that concerns me. I am worried about my customers. How are they doing? Is the Market reflecting what my customer base is going through? Since last May our sales have been down compared to the month in the previous year. The first four months of last year were great so for the whole year we were flat. Overall last year I spent far less money in new equipment so my cash flow was way up. Now that we are going back to all Estate wines I will be spending even less. I have mentioned before that it costs us less to make wine from our Estate grapes than purchasing grapes from other growers so even if our sales are down substantially this year we will have positive cash flow. Also we will be spending less money because we will be making less wine. Our prices for bottles and other materials are up this year but I am not raising the prices for my wine. Partly I can do that because we are also taking in money from custom crushing for the Wine Guerrilla label. 

In the first two months of this year our sales are down over 20% from last year. January and February are slow months anyway so let's see what March, April and May bring. In the past over 50% of our yearly sales occur in those three months. Today starts the Russian River barrel tasting weekends which are the first two weekends of March. In the past about 8% of our yearly sales occur in these two weeks. Then on March 27th we will be offering our 2008 Futures. After April, I will have a better idea of how the year will go. No matter what happens our expenses are so far down from the past that David Coffaro Winery is sound. I love making wine!

Thursday March 6, 2008

Our sales last weekend were down substantially. I have heard from several other wineries and their sales were down also. There were far less people out and about and many of them were in there 20's. We are hoping we will have a better showing for this weekend.

There are several factors that may be contributing to the drop in sales and traffic. Several years ago there were 75 wineries participating in the Russian River Barrel Tasting. This year there are 150 wineries participating. Three years ago there was no fee for this big weekend. All one had to do was to bring a glass from home. Two years ago a $5 fee was charged and last year when we went to two weekends the fee was raised to $10. This year the fee was raised to $20 and a winery is not even required to have food. Our winery has always served food and I have been against charging a fee. Most of the wineries have been in favor of charging a fee because they feel there were too many people coming and tasting and not purchasing. Now that the fee is $20 I believe people will feel less obligated to purchase. This weekend will be interesting.

Tuesday March 11, 2008

Our sales for the first weekend were down over 40%. I am glad for the second weekend since we did more than last year. Overall our sales were down by 20%. This is the first year we have been down from the previous year. We still took in a great deal of money so the state of David Coffaro Winery is sound. I don't know the reason for sales to be down. It could be the economy, the $20 fee, or the increase of wineries. Our traffic was way down from last year also. 

There are many wineries who are not in favor of the second weekend. All wineries who participate in the first weekend are required to do the second weekend. I am in favor of two weekends and I think those wineries who do not want to participate should not be required to do so. If we do let wineries pour only one weekend then we should charge less for the second weekend, maybe $10. Also I think there should be a charge of $10 for one day. I have been against charging a fee but I do agree it cut down on traffic, good or not. We had many limos and buses come in and I think that is a good idea. It cuts down on the number of vehicles on the road. Right now the Russian River Wine Road is discouraging both. Later this week I will have information regarding the percentages of sales for all wines sold for both weekends.

Thursday March 13, 2008

Here are the results for both weekends of the Russian River Barrel Tasting, followed by the first weekend Feb 29-March 2 and then by the second weekend March 7-March 9:

                                     Both            1st          2nd
2007 Escuro                 4.5%           4.9%         4.1%
2007 Petite Sirah          6.6%           5.7%         6.9%
2007 Carignan              7.4%          8.3%         6.5% 
2007 Cabernet              7.4%          9.2%          6.4%
2007 Aca Modot          10.2%         9.2%         11.9%
2007 Terre Melange      10.4%         13.2%        7.2%
2007 Estate Cuvee        10.7%          12.9%         8.4%
2007 Zinfandel           10.9%          9.8%         10.8%
2007 My Zin               12.2%          10.4%       13.2%
2007 Block 4              19.8%          16.3%        24.6%


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