March 29, 1999
It appears that tartrates are going to be a problem with our winery. Tartrates are crystals that are formed when a wine is stored at low temperatures (under 55 degrees) for a period of time. Our red wines which were bottled last July have been stored in a new building, which has gotten down to the mid-40's this past winter. Some of you who have picked up your wine recently have noticed that there may be a residue on the corks. That is caused mostly by this low-temperature storage. This is not detrimental to the taste of the wine but is aesthetically unpleasant. There is little we can do about this in the future other than possibly installing a heater in the storage building. But as you can guess, I would have to raise my prices to compensate for this additional expense. Since I feel this residue will not affect the quality of our wines, I would rather not spend the additional money. The main short-term problem with the cold stabilization is that our newly-bottled Sauvignon Blanc has not been cold stabilized for a long enough time. Even though our reds and our dry Sauvignon Blanc have been held at 57 or 58 degrees for several months during this winter, I have realized this is not a long enough time to settle out all the tartrate crystals. Wineries that are larger than we are, chill their white wines before bottling in a large stainless steel tank (I'm sure you've seen them in several wineries) down to 28 degrees, but I feel this exposes the wine to too much air, or oxidation, as I explained last week. The dry Sauvignon Blanc, which was just bottled last Thursday, if stored in the refrigerator for more than about 2 days, will show some crystals. Again, I will say that this is not detrimental to the wine but it may be advisable to store the wine no longer than a few hours before you serve it. We suggest serving our Sauvignon Blanc at 50 degrees, which would be only about 1/2 hour in the refrigerator. Go UCONN!
March 30, 1999
Well, if he's not immersed in one thing, it's another! So I've decided to add a few notes of my own today. Dave's working on income tax calculations and I don't even *think* about asking if he has time to write a few words on the diary today. It's best to leave ill-tempered tax preparers on their own. I'm so happy all the late harvest sauvignon blanc is now "fixed" and back in bottles, but we still won't be able to release those bottles until we get the labels. The labels have of course been "on order" for quite some time, but the final editing and label approval for all the 1998 wines have held up the run on the late harvest labels. We are hoping to get the late harvest and the dry sauv. blanc labels by the end of April so that we can begin distribution of those two wines before the real heat of summer arrives. With temperatures dipping down below freezing for the last couple of mornings, we get the impression that summer is still eons away, BUT we really know better and it will be warming up in the next couple of weeks in all likelihood. We still haven't seen any bud break out in in our vineyard, which is good because of the still-freezing weather, but Dave says our vines are about 2-3 weeks behind "normal" this year. It's been an unusually consistently cold winter. I for one am ready for some beautiful warm sunny days. These cold, gloomy days are conducive however to sitting here in the office taking care of all the paperwork, email, phone calls, shipping forms, etc. - you know, all that boring behind the scenes stuff that really makes a business function. As far as making and pouring the wine, getting labels approved by the BATF, preparing income taxes - anybody can do those things!
March 31, 1999
I hear that Microsoft is going to be coming out with Office 2000 and hopefully Windows 2000. As much as I enjoy any new technology, there are many things that I dislike about Windows 95 and 98. I have complete faith that Microsoft will end up monopolizing all computer software and will encourage the government to break them up as they did with AT&T. The main reason I do not like Windows 95 and 98 is because of all the extra files that are created everyday on my computer. Every week when I check, I've got another megabyte or two and I have no idea how these files came to be. For instance, just yesterday, Pat and I were looking at TEMP files and I couldn't believe how many of these files were in the system. We have heard that a certain individual even has an icon on his desktop to alert him to check the c:\windows\temp folder from time to time just so he can erase the files that accumulate there .That doesn't even take into consideration all the files that are hidden in Windows somewhere that never existed in the 3.1 version. As some of you remember, a 100 megabyte hard drive was not too long ago considered to be enormous. Now, some programs alone are more than 100 megabytes. My point is that I do *not* want to back up my entire hard drive. I do not want to allow Microsoft to carry over all these hidden and unhidden files onto a new computer. I almost hope from day to day that my computer does crash and then I can start all over again with just the files I have saved in a sub directory in Excel and Quickbooks That is exactly what I will do when I get my new side-by-side, pristine clean Dell computers next year.
April 1, 1999
This is no April Fool's joke - there are only 3 more weeks until the Passport to Dry Creek Valley event. So, countdown to Passport begins today for us! Just to keep things interesting, here's a Passport trivia question for the day for any of you who have participated in the event in the past - "How many years ago did the Passport event begin?" Well, since I know you're all impatiently waiting, the answer is "10." Yes, it's the tenth anniversary of Passport and we're trying to think of some special way to celebrate it this year. The Association itself is going to provide a unique logo glass for tasting this year, but we want to do something unique here too. Our caterers/theme planners are going to be here tomorrow so that we can brainstorm some ideas. We are planning a film festival theme again this year with "The Titanic" being the focus (Dave promised this movie last year and doesn't want to go back on his word!). So anybody out there with any ideas, we'd be happy to hear from you. -- Pat Coffaro
April 3, 1999
21 more days to Passport. Passport trivia question for the day:
is the name of the winery known especially for its Pinot Noir which participated
in the Passport event from 1990-1993 only, and is now the site of one of
the current 25 participating Dry Creek Valley wineries?