David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

September, 2009 

Saturday September 5, 2009

Wouldn't be nice if I could be up the hill with my friends for a small while and be transported back here without physically navigating to make the effort. Of course we have seen that in many Sci Fi movies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction, BUT wouldn't be  great, But of course it might be too easy to escape. But Isn't That What It Is All About, Though. I know none of you will admit to not escaping a little. Come clean, all of us want our time. I like to escape by tasting a few bottles of wine, until I feel good and at the same time make a great dinner. I am the cook around here, but I have said before, Pat helps a lot. We love food. I like food more than she does but that is another story. 

So tonight I would like to be with most of my friends, only for a short time, so How do you do that..........Transporting and Time Travel.

Unfortunately it won't happen in my lifetime, but if you young people push, we will have it in your lifetime..................It will happen..........

I am excited as you can tell. Susie is home and we will harvest Tuesday.......More tomorrow..................

Sunday September 6, 2009

Of course I have many other ways to escape. I have been really enjoying the US Open Tennis and also I watched the Cal Bears win 52-13 last night. Today Matt is here so we are planing our harvest.

Doug Rafanelli contacted me last week. It seems that he and many growers around here are having trouble selling their grapes. This time he wants me to try some Sauv Blanc. I don't even have to pay him until I sell the wine. Since we need a white wine to sell I guess we are producing a Sauvignon Blanc this year. The fruit is already ready so we will be rolling into harvest Tuesday. Catarino and I looked at the Zinfandel bunches Friday and they look ready. We will try a load on Wednesday. Last Monday we turned off the drip in that area so with the warm weather the fruit has matured at a fast pace. We are all excited!!!!.......... 

Tuesday September 8, 2009

We have delayed everything for one day. This morning we had a low of 46 and we haven't had water on the Zinfandel for over a week. The combination of the two could be delaying the ripening. Also we probably have a larger crop than we thought which will take longer to ripen. Our sugar test today came in at 24 brix and we are looking for 25. We will give the vines a shot of water tomorrow morning. We are forecast to see 100+ degree temperatures starting tomorrow so now we will start harvesting Thursday. 

Wednesday September 9, 2009 09/09/09

We are pressing Sauv Blanc as I write. Doug Rafanelli brought me in 5.3 tons, enough to make about 300 cases of wine. We will probably make about 150 cases of white or blush wine and use the rest for our rose which will have some Grenache in it to be picked later in the month. Instead of purchasing white used barrels which are expensive we are going to ferment this wine in red barrels. I love taking chances!! I have heard of no one trying to ferment a white wine in used red barrels. Matt and I don't think the pigmentation will add much color but if it does we will call it a blush sauv blanc....it will be good. 

The acid in these grapes is very high (Ph 3.2) and the sugar is at 25.7 brix on first read. We will add some water to bring the sugar down to 23. The pressing will take some time since we can't get all 10 bins in the press at once. I'll have more to report later. Tomorrow we will pick 1.5 tons of our zinfandel to see where we are. 

Thursday September 10, 2009

Our first Zinfandel was harvested today, we are happy!! The initial brix on 1.5 tons is 24 and we should see a swell up to 25 by tomorrow. That should give us a preliminary alcohol of 14.5%. We will harvest another 1.5 tons tomorrow and Saturday. I estimate we will have between 12 and 14 tons total. The high temperature should be close to 100 today and tomorrow. By next week I am guessing we will see an initial brix of 25 or more. Next week we will probably bring in the rest of the tons on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We want 25 brix on the Block 4 fruit so since the Petite Sirah in that block may be low we could have to wait a few more days to start up again. The Peloursin should be ready the following week. It will be fun.....

Friday September 11, 2009

The temperature today hit 104 so sugars in our Zinfandel should be up next week. We picked 1.5 tons today and we will pick another 1.5 tons tomorrow. We are going to water again on Sunday and pick 2.5 to 3 tons Monday. We just added yeast to our first fermenter and the winery is now smelling sweet from the fumes. 

Wednesday September 16, 2009

We actually had a small amount of rain over the weekend so we held off harvesting again until today. Today we harvested 3/4 ton of Barbera from our new vines. The main section of barbera planted many years ago will be harvested next week. This will be our biggest harvest of Barbera so we will finally have plenty for our barbera fans.

The weather forecast is for very hot weather next week so we need to step up our picking. We now have 1/3 of our old vine zinfandel harvested and we will finish the rest in the next few days. Next Tuesday we will probably start on our Block 4. The quality is shaping up to be very good. The color in the Zinfandel is very consistent and dark. After finishing the Block 4 sections we will be harvesting the Tannat and Lagrein, I can't wait to try those wines. Tomorrow we will press our first zin so come by next weekend to taste.

9:00pm: Pat is away so on slow nights in sports but still news concerning our former president Carter, I still have time to come down here and write. I will look at more politics later but I might even have time to start a movie. I like seeing a movie in two installments when I am alone. 

Some of you know I am in the Market after 30 years. The Stock market was my life before 1979. I made a little money and had enough after selling my house in Fairfax to put $70,000 on this property in March of 1979. The property cost $240,500 which was a lot of money then. This will now be my 31st year of making wine from the same vineyard. The first 15 were as an amateur. 

The Market rules the world. It predicted the end of the recession 6 months ago. I think the stimulus helped and was the most important thing to happen in our country at this time. We now have a chance to rule the world again before eventually China takes over. Hopefully that will take a long time.

Thursday September 17, 2009

This will be challenging. We could see 110 degrees. We already hit 97 today and the forecast is to start really heating up on Sunday. This could be big. We are ready to Harvest!! 

Friday September 18, 2009

My biggest concern tonight Is that Susie says she does not need my help. I would take it in stride if she was still a teenager. So this is new to me since she is now 21 years old. 

Matt and I are stressed already and we have only got in 10% of our grapes. It will get HOT in the next few days. We hit 102 today. It might be a little cooler tomorrow and warm up again Sunday. Here is what I am reading http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecasts/display_special_product_versions.php?sid=mtr?pil=afd

Catarino and Salvador have been put on guidance. Catarino especially does not want to quit picking. He and I bond since we both know what has to be done. Both Salvador and Catarino will even pick Sunday. BUT I want them to stop at noon when the temperature will be under 100 degrees. I have to be in control! Every year is an adventure in to the Future of great wine.

Monday September 21, 2009

It is the Fall and the daylight hours will start getting shorter than the night. Today we will have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark.

After posting last Thursday I realized I have never seen 110 in September in all of my 31 seasons here. So I suspected that the weather forecasters could be wrong. They now have revised the estimate to hot weather tomorrow, but have backed off on temperatures well into the 100s. It is now 1pm and we have a temperature of 92. We will see what happens tomorrow.

Catarino and Salvador did pick yesterday and today we started on the First Block that we use for our Block 4 wine. The sugar was a little low for the 1.5 tons we picked so we will probably use it for another wine and stop picking. The true Block 4 section is in the middle of the vineyard so we will do a sugar sample tomorrow to decide to pick or not. Since there are so many varietals in the field blend in some years it is hard to determine when to pick.

Tomorrow along with the Block 4 sample we will take samples in the Barbera, Lagrein, Tannat and maybe the Petite Sirah. We have plenty of time so I need to be patient.

Tuesday September 22, 2009

8:00Am: We checked the sugar in the two bins that were harvested for Block 4 yesterday from our front section near the winery and got a sugar reading of a little more than 24 brix. The sugar will probably go up a little more when fermentation starts, but we want at least 25 brix. We have a section in Block 4 South that is mostly Zinfandel so we know those grapes are ripe. We also have a few vines of Pinot  which we know are real ripe so we have decided to pick about 700 pounds to mix with the two bins from yesterday. I am guessing we will get about 50 pounds of Pinot and 650 pounds of Zinfandel with a reading of well over 25%. The resultant wine will produce about 120 cases of Block 4 with a potential alcohol of about 15%, just what we want. Later today we will do a thorough sugar test in the main area of Block 4 to see what we have for a potential harvest tomorrow. This sugar test will avoid the Zinfandel vines which we know are ripe. We want to see what the sugar is in the Carignan, Syrah, Peloursin, Valdigue and other varietals in the Block 4. If we get a reading close to 24 brix we will harvest tomorrow. It will be fun!

12:00 Noon: The vineyard samples have been brought in and the sugars checked. Here are the results: Tannat 24.5 Brix, Lagrein 26.0 Brix, Our new Zinfandel 25.9 Brix, Block 4 without the ripe Zinfandel 25.3 brix and the Barbera 25.1 Brix. Our schedule is now set. Tomorrow through Friday we will pick the main section of Block 4, which should be 5 or so tons. On Saturday we will pick the new Zinfandel in our 6th Block which should be about 3/4 of a ton. On Monday we will pick the 1+ tons of Lagrein and then we will do another sugar test to see how the First Block picked yesterday has developed and of course check the Barbera and Tannat again. The Peloursin should be checked also. We are excited!!

We ended up picking 870 pounds of mostly Zinfandel today. Maybe we had 30 pounds of Pinot also. The sugar turned out to be over 25 brix and should swell up to over 26 tomorrow. We then bailed out about 400 pounds of the low sugar Zinfandel from Block One harvested yesterday into the high sugar bins from two days ago. That should give us over 25 brix in all the containers, just right. The Master Blender strikes again!

Thursday September 24, 2009

Yesterday we picked 2 tons from our Block 4 and got perfect sugar of 26 brix. As in the last several years we will add some water to make sure the resultant wine does not go to 16% alcohol. Block 4 has been our best selling wine over the last several years so I want to do the same thing I have done in the past. The alcohol has ranged around 15% or so. Today and tomorrow we will pick more. Saturday we are still scheduled to pick our new Zinfandel and on Monday the Lagrein. Yesterday and today we are pressing some more Zinfandel. Yesterday we also pressed Barbera from our new vines.

Yesterday our high pressure heat machine broke down again so I now have a new Hotsy. We will use the old one as a back up in the future. Also yesterday we had a flat tire on our forklift. We are hoping that will be repaired today. There is always something going wrong during Harvest. 

Saturday September 26, 2009

Yesterday we finished picking over 7 tons total in our Block 4. The quality looks fantastic. We still have about a ton to pick in our First Block which was low sugar last Monday. That will give us close to 10 tons of fruit to use for our 2009 Block 4 wine OR about 600 cases. We are excited!

Catarino and Salvador just finished picking a little over a ton of our new Zinfandel that was planted in March 2006. This is our first substantial crop and will be used for Dave's Wine Club. Matt is taking responsibility and is thinking about blending in some Petite Sirah. We have many possibilities for the blending and we do not have to make the final decision until January. 

Monday we will be harvesting our Lagrein which was also planted in March 2006. We may get 4 barrels of Lagrein so I am thinking of bottling some separate. In the last few weeks I have been opening a bottle of our 2008 Escuro which has 22% of Lagrein blended in it. It is still my favorite wine of the 2008 vintage. Each week it is getting more intense. 

Sunday September 27, 2009

Kate and I decided to travel 90 miles to Oakland to check out the Raiders in hope this would be a better year. No way.......we still had a nice time together, maybe they will do better next year.

Roberto a great guy and friend of Catarino, offered me free Pinot Noir grapes and I couldn't refuse. I will pay him back after we sell the wine. I will have enough for about 75 cases. The fruit was very ripe at over 30% but still had good acid.



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