David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

December, 2009 

Friday December 4, 2009

I had a customer call me two weeks ago and say they love my wines but they had one of my 2002 Wines and it was BAD! I have heard this before and I have replied many times that since it is an old wine and was sealed with a synthetic cork which we found does not seal well it may not be good. We switched to screwcaps in 2003. I have even had customers say my screwcap sealed wines have gone Bad so I am always skeptical. I have asked many times before that the customer should send the wine back to me and I would pay for the shipping, but this time this customer made the effort to send the wine back to me at their expense. I was surprised and shocked that the wine they sent back was undrinkable. I called back the next day to say I would give this customer a credit even though I have said I love young wines and believe in drinking even Bordeaux's with in 10 years. 

I decided to send a bottle of this 2002 My Zin to have it analyzed at Vinquiry, a wine chemistry lab. I hoped it was just the cork, poor seal that aged the wine more quickly...then it oxidized to close to vinegar, it is an acquired taste that some customers like. I personally don't even like vinegar in my salad, too acidic, Balsamic is tolerable, sometimes. I got the results back today and I was vindicated sort of. The lab said it was a spoiled wine which is not good!!!! BUT I was happy to hear the wine was normal with no bacterial problems, just very oxidized. Wine will not harm you even if it tastes bad so I am comfortable that even the few customers who like the taste will not be harmed. 

In the last few nights I have opened several of my 2002 wines sealed with synthetic corks. All of them have been highly oxidized. Then I remembered my first wine sealed with a screwcap was a 2002 ZP2C. I also found some I sealed with the synthetic cork. Last night I opened those two wines and was happy to find that the wine sealed with the synthetic cork was awful, similar to the 2002 wines I have tried while the 2002 Zp2C sealed with the screwcap was wonderful and Pat and I consumed half the bottle. We will drink the rest tonight. Remember all my 2003 wines were sealed with both synthetic cork and screwcap so tonight I plan to open a couple of those. 

Thursday December 10, 2009

I have been busy planning for the holidays like many of you. I also have been selling and buying back Amazon and Google. I keep putting off paying my bills but I did remember to pay my property taxes. Matt and I have been checking out the alcohols on many of our 2009 barrels and I have started putting together a chart to choose which barrels to blend starting in the first week of January. Three days ago we moved all our 2009 Sauv Blanc and 2009 Rose barrels out side to chill off. It was perfect timing because it got down to 21 degrees on Tuesday morning and 22 yesterday. Today the temperature got down to 27. We checked the temperature in one of the barrels and it was showing 36 degrees. We want to leave them out for awhile longer so that all the tartrates fall out and then we will rack and fine them to clarify. We are also waiting for some caps for our Sparkling wine so that we can seal bottles with some yeast and sugar in order to ferment and age until next summer. We have been busy. 

Saturday December 12, 2009

Recently a customer asked me if his wine was damaged because it was shipped to Minnesota and it survived with the outside temperature at 10 degrees. Here is how I responded to him: 

No the wine will not be harmed by cold weather. Last year we actually started putting our 2008 barrels outside about this time of year to cold stabilize the wine. Most wineries actually freeze red wines to settle out the tartrates that can form around the cork, but we do not have closed tanks. This year we have already put our 2009 barrels outside. Last week we had some mornings that got down to 20 degrees which was great. In the past, including the 2006 and 2007 wines you purchased, we did not put the barrels outside so maybe you may see some tartrates at the bottom of the bottle. Just stand the bottle upright for a few hours or even you could store screwcaps upright. That is way they are boxed. Also for your information when screwcap sealed wines are bottled we leave a larger head space so you could even freeze the bottle and not have the wine seep through the cap. Do not try that with corked wines because the cork will be pushed out.

Sunday December 13, 2009

I had another customer say he had a wine that had no Sulfates added on the label and the wine was wonderful. He suggested I use no So2 and make wine organic. Here is what I responded to him:

I have tried such wines in the past and they are a hit and miss. Some can be undrinkable, especially after a few years. Anyone who has problems with sulfites, like your friends do, is susceptible to Free So2. That is bound up within a year of bottling so our wines over a year in the bottle should not be a problem. Also with screwcaps, we use far less So2 than most wineries. SO your answer is NO! I will not take a chance of my wine spoiling. I am sorry.

Monday December 21, 2009

This is the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year. Tomorrow slowly, the days will get longer, although January is our coldest month. 

I have finished calculating all the setup for our 2009 blending starting January 4. We will be making 17 2009 wines, I think. I might have forgotten one since we are making special wines for Dave's Wine Club also. In the next day or so I will post on our order form the up to date case totals and percentages of varietals for each wine, except the special Dave's Wine Club wines. I have tasted most of the barrels that are unique so I am excited and convinced this will be another great year.

We visited Family on Saturday night and I brought along several Block 4 wines from the past to compare. I will state what I thought tomorrow.

Tuesday December 22, 2009

Saturday night Pat's two sisters, Sharon and Janie and their husbands Rick and Tim along with Kate and her friend Paul, tasted 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 David Coffaro Block 4. I was surprised in some ways, not by the results but that most of us could find a difference so easily in the wines. Along with my Estate Cuvee, the Block 4 has been the most consistent wine in the last several years. At first I tasted the 2003 Block 4 and 2004 Block 4 side by side in two glasses, blind of course. I had no trouble picking out the 2004 over the 2003 because I thought it had a little more body and had more complexity. At least two more times during the evening I tasted the 2003 and 2004 against the 2005 Block 4 and every time the 2005 Block 4 came in last. The 2005 Block 4 is still a wonderful wine, but it just seemed a little flatter and less complex than the other two. I also tasted the 2007 and 2008 Block 4 against each other and found I had no favorite between the two of them. The 2008 had more spice character but the 2007 had more balance. They are both great wines. Overall most of us picked the 2004 as the winner of the unofficial Family tasting. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite between the 2004, 2007 and 2008. NOW you might ask: What happened to the 2006? The simple answer is that I forgot to bring it to Modesto so it was home safe in my cellar waiting for another time.

Check out our order form if you are interested in the revised info for our 2009 Futures.

Last night I heard that the last decade was the worst performance by stocks in History. I decided to check that out by looking at some of the stocks I have purchased in the last two years. As some of you know by reading my diary, investing in the stock market used to be my lively hood before I purchased this property in 1979. I invested my money along with relatives and many friends and made a lot of money. I spent it all and had nothing left in 1979, but I put a down payment on this property which had a vineyard and a small 1100 square foot house. Before moving here I ran a small hedge fund and invested in very small companies. In June of 2008 I decided to invest heavily for the first time in 30 years. Don't get me wrong, I still followed the stock market everyday in those 30 years and I had a few thousand dollars in an Ira. The Market was one of my many passions from 1962 until 1979. 

I love purchasing stocks when they are going down and out of favor. It is very risky but I have been successful in the past. You have to find companies which have a dominance in their field and an advantage compared to their competition. Back in 2002 I purchased 100 shares of Amazon at 16.82. Like I said earlier stocks have gone down from their highs in this decade. In year 1999 Amazon hit a high of 113 and went as low as 5.51 in 2001. In 2002 I was hoping it would go back up to 100 eventually again. I sold that 100 shares at 71 back in 2007 so I was happy. I did start purchasing it back in 2008 and bought 600 shares all the way down to 33. I have traded it several times and now own the 600 shares again. Today's price is 134. No, I won't tell you about my losers, they are many, but overall I have made profits in 2009.

Yes, the decade has not been good. You could have purchased qqqq (The top 100 companies on Nasdaq) as high as 120 in year 2000. By 2002 qqqq had gone as low as 20. It now trades at 45. I could relate many other losers on the Nasdaq but some stocks like Apple, Google and Amazon have gone to new highs. I believe if the United States is going to start growing again, this next decade will be a winner for most stocks. 


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