David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 15
April 9, 2000 to April 15, 2000 

Thursday April 13, 2000 

The weather has turned somewhat cooler, but more importantly we have had some rain again after a long dry spell. As I've said in the past, the new green growth that has begun to develop on the vines this year will become fruitful wood for next year. In other words if the weather is good this spring, we will have a better chance of having a more plentiful crop next year. Therefore, I will be somewhat concerned if this rainy spell lasts for more than a few days. Unlike 1998 which was our last rainy spring, we have had plenty of heat thus far this spring. Therefore, the shoots are out at least six inches at this time and are hearty enough so that a few days of rain will not hurt them. A longer period of rain would also cause some rot problems early in the growing season. 

After wandering around the vineyard a couple of more times lately, I definitely have an opinion of our potential crop for this 2000 vintage. I still feel the Zinfandel looks somewhat below normal. Therefore, I am predicting that we may be down 20 percent on that crop. The Carignan looks really good but I am still going to be cautious and estimate that we may be down a small percentage there as well. We don't have a lot of Petite Sirah yet growing, but the crop does look to be at least normal. Even though the Cabernet Sauvignon has the least amount of growth, it already looks to be the most prolific. I still want to be cautious on the estimate on the Cabernet, however. 

That brings me to our pre-harvest 2000 futures offer. At this time, just like last year, I'm trying to decide on which of my wines will be estate bottled and which ones will have the Dry Creek Valley designation. As I have just implied above, I am hoping to have a normal or above-average crop for our Cabernet Sauv, especially from the sandy loam area on our property, which is mostly used in our Estate Cuvee. As I have told many of you over the years, this is a spicer, less tannic clone of Cabernet and also contributes to a long finish in any of our wines. If we do have a good crop, these percentages of Cabernet that you will see on our estate bottled wines will increase. By April 27th, you should have received by email or postal mail our offer for the 2000 vintage. April 27th is also the day that we plan to upload the order form to our web site. Here are the best estimates of what I think will be the percentages of varietals in our six red wines: 
2000 Zinfandel (estate bottled) - 80% Zinfandel, 10% Carignan, 7% Cabernet, 3% Barbera - 985 cases 
2000 Estate Cuvee (estate bottled) - 31% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet, 26% Carignan, 17% Petite Sirah - 750 cases 
2000 Carignan - 75% Carignan, 10% Syrah, 9% Barbera, 6% Zinfandel - 300 cases 
2000 Peite Sirah - 75% Petite Sirah, 14% Syrah, 11% Carignan - 600 cases 
2000 Cabernet Franc - 76% Cabernet Franc, 12% Zinfandel, 12% Syrah - 600 cases 
2000 Aca Modot (estate bottled) - 65% Cab Sauv, 14% Cab Franc, 12% Malbec, 5% Barbera, 4% Petite Verdot - 300 cases 

Friday April 14, 2000

Yesterday was a tough day for me. Besides my investments in my sep-ira going down---temporary(:-)), I had three important matters that had to be attended to. I decided to start on the least important. I had bought a new VCR last Friday at the Good Guys, because my old one was making loud noises during rewind and thus keeping me up late at night. I purchased a new one that had been returned thus saving myself  $100. When I returned home I realized the instruction book that the salesman, Ron, had found was in French. I called him Saturday and he assured me he would send me the English version right away. As a matter of fact he called me back to confirm my address. When I did not receive it on Monday I was concerned. When I did not receive it on Tuesday, I knew something was wrong. Pat told me to wait another day. She has always thought I jump to conclusions. Thursday, yesterday morning at 10:30, I called Ron and of course he barely remembered me, but I refreshed his memory. He put me on hold and came back a few minutes later. His words were "I should have sent it myself --- The instruction manual is still in the office outbox." I appreciate his honesty, but before I called him I had looked in the back of the VCR and noticed it did not have two audio outputs so it would not work for me anyway. Back to the Good Guys with the French manual! 

The second matter was more important to me: Last October I bought one of those nice Star Tac cellular phones for Kate and Pat to share. I bought my Mother a cellular phone two years ago also. Both phones have the same server, Cellular One, under the same account number. Even though the phones have different area codes, the payments were applied to the correct accounts for the first several months. Three months ago my home account payment was applied to my Mother's bill creating a credit. The same thing happened the next month. Of course this created an overdue amount on our home phone. I noticed the problem three weeks ago and called. I was told they would make note of it. I laughed and agreed that I guess I had to send the current payments in separate envelopes with two separate checks. Two days ago Kate our 14 year old called on someone else's phone informing us our phone would not work. Being my usual uncool self I complained to Pat that she did not charge the phone. The next day was more serious. After recharging, Kate took the phone with her to a softball game 40 miles away. She said she would call us to pick her up when she returned to Healdsburg. Yea you guessed it, the cellular phone did not work. Yea I guessed it, they had disconnected our service. After calling Cellular One again, I confirmed it yesterday, but what I was appalled to hear was that they had applied both checks from two different envelopes to my Mother's account creating a credit of over $100 and debit of over $100 to my account. I was told we were in two different area codes so we shouldn't have the same account number. I exploded!! Pat said I wasn't very nice!! I said why wasn't I told that three weeks ago when I called??? Cellular One offered me nothing!! Just an apology. 

The third matter is more serious: A year and a half ago Pat and I thought about the possibility of a nice little storage place over by our pond. We knew it would cost us atleast $150,000 if we included a guest house up above. We started doing research and found out that we were allowed such a building if it was only for marketing and not used for winemaking or other commercial endeavors. We assumed that we still needed to draw up plans for a commercial building and install a new septic system. Our permit was approved and our septic system has been completed, but after $25,000 consisting of fees to the county, plans and additional work on the project we must abandon the dream. I don't understand it completely, but the county is requiring a commercial kitchen even though we can not use it commercially. More confusing is that the plan checkers made us change our commercial plans to residential, requiring several thousand dollars of additional revision on the plans. Because we were not using it for winery purposes, the plan checkers thought they were saving me some money by deeming it noncommercial. Then when the commercial kitchen was required by the sanitation department,  the the plan checkers changed their minds back to commercial requiring us to potentially spend several thousand dollars more in expenses. Since Pat and I are considering not participating in the Passport event starting next year, this change of events is making us realize that we may not need a guest house for our helpers after all and we may abandon the plans altogether. 

I hope it is only a sign of our old age or even maturity, but I can't understand why we are having problems such as these. I want to think that some employees don't seem to care. But maybe it is simply that Pat and I are dealing with more items. OR as Pat would say it: TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY! Pat and I just want to let you know that if we let you down, we are not doing it intentionally. It just has to be the Electronic Revolution. 

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