March 14, 1999
We had a visit today from J.D. Massler, the wine representative of Prima Restaurant in Walnut Creek, California, a retail/restaurant operation which is carrying our wine this year. This picture was taken and sent to us by David Neuman who was obviously also here. Putting up a photo image is new for us, so if it takes too long to load or is annoying, please let us know and we'll take it off the site.
If you look closely at the background in this photo, you will notice that we are standing in front of the Sauvignon Blanc barrels. I am going to be bottling this wine next week, and I have been serving this wine for many recent visitors. As a matter of fact on this particular day, besides our visitors from Prima, we also had Claudio from Vancouver, BC, visiting with his extended Italian family, including his wife, children, mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and their children. The entire family was vacationing in Clearlake, California, and arranged an appointment over the Internet, site unseen of a small, family-run winery in California - ours to be exact. Even though it was pouring down rain today and they had left Vancouver hoping for some California sunshine, they were quite jovial and we could just tell they were going to have a wonderful vacation in California!
Since this is the first dry Sauvignon Blanc I have made commercially, I am still trying to determine in my mind how this will turn out. In January, I thought it was a little rough or austere, but it seems to be rounding out and developing more body as the last couple of months have gone by. Since this is a new baby of mine, I am trying to be cautious and I am hopeful that it will be close to the benchmark Sauvignon Blancs in our area - such as Rochioli, Murphy-Goode, Dry Creek, and of course Ferrari-Carano and Lambert Bridge to whom I have sold Sauvignon Blanc grapes for the last several years. They are going to be tough competition and I hope that I will still be able to appreciate my efforts. I feel that at $10 a bottle on futures, it will be a good value.
March 15, 1999
From what I have tasted, 1997 is going to be a very good year for Zinfandel. As a consumer, I too appreciate many different styles of Zinfandel. A few days ago, I bought a case of 1997 Yoakim Bridge Zinfandel, and just today I also learned that Limerick Lane has pre-released their 1997 Zinfandel which I have ordered as well. If I'm lucky, I hope to also purchase a case of Rafanelli Zinfandel in the near future.
March 16, 1999
On my way to Costco, I visited with Julia who had just gotten back from vacation. She looked refreshed and focused. Maybe I need a vacation. I've been concerned about whether I should cold stabilize my dry Sauvignon Blanc to make sure there's no objectionable crystals remaining in the bottle after someone leaves it in a refrigerator overnight. The cold stabilization would involve taking the entire 240 gallons of juice, putting it into my chiller, and then turning the temperature down into the 20's. My concern is even though the wine is around 27 or 28 degrees, it would be exposed to air, oxygen. In other words as I've said before, as great as Argon is (I could put a layer of Argon over the top of the wine), it still would not preserve the wine enough to keep it from oxidizing somewhat and losing fruit. Julia seems to think that if I advise my customers not to store the wine for several days in a refrigerator (in other words, just put it in the refrig for only a half hour to an hour before serving), there should be no problems with tartrates. We also discussed that since I will be sterile filtering, probably less tartrates will form. Any of you chemists out there would probably understand, as Julia explained to me, that since after sterile filtering would eliminate some solids in the wine, tartrates would have less possibility of clinging. As I've said before, since I failed chemistry in college, I'll leave it to the experts to understand these fine points. Since all my focus is on bottling the late harvest Sauvignon Blanc and the dry Sauvignon Blanc, along with sterile filtering for the first time, I am going into my winemaking concentration mode, instead of devoting more time on the stock market. I stopped off at The Beverage People in Santa Rosa and have arranged to rent their 3 bottle filler and corker. Normally, I hate renting anything but since in a couple of months I hope to be receiving my automatic bottling line, even I realize that it wouldn't make much sense to buy a small filler or corker at this time. The total cost of buying those two items would be about $200-$300, but I could rent them for two days for $40. By the way, I only spent a couple hundred at Costco today, so I'm a little disappointed. It's actually the first time I haven't come home with a new DVD disc.
March 20, 1999
Pat, Kate and Sus went off to the mountains to visit family, so I am
stuck doing my own typing. I'm slow. Yesterday a new strip of concrete
was poured off the side of the winery. We hope to crush there so that we
don't have to get the inside of the winery dirty all the time and we don't
have to move the stemmer every time we want to clean up. This was Brendan's
great idea and I can't wait for him to see it Monday. We hope it is big
enough although I think I will add a deck to extend it around the back
of the winery. That way we can keep our buckets and empty bins on the deck.
We also found an old commercial dishwasher for $350. They cost $3200 new
so I thought this was a great find. It doesn't look that great, but if
it works it will do a cycle of glasses in 90 seconds. We even have a good
sized refrig in the winery, now with ice. All the conveniences of home.