David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 19 - 20
May 15, 2005 to May 28, 2005 

Tuesday May 17, 2005
I have been very disappointed that I have had very few e-mails regarding my diary entry of last week. I assume ALL of you approve of my new "Futures Wine Club"? I did here from a few that they were confused. I will make the "Rules" final tomorrow unless I here otherwise. Don't worry you have nothing to lose or most important: You have no decision to make. I will explain more tomorrow. 

I know many of you think that the decision to overturn the ban on interstate shipment wine by the Supreme court is great for us, but I have more to say about it tomorrow.

Wednesday May 18, 2005

You are my life. My customers are important to me. I appreciate all the e-mails today, especially after last night when I said I was disappointed that I had not received many replies to my suggestions regarding our new Club. I am still taking in all you sent and I am hoping to hear more of you. Tomorrow I will have more to say. I want to get this right so I have to change a few things. We have decided to include bottled wines in our "Club" (I hate that word, but everyone thinks that Club connotes the meaning of rewards). I know I have mentioned in the past that I thought "Futures" buyers are king and that only "futures" buyers should be included in the club. BUT it will be easier for us to track anyone who has bought a certain vintage. We are now thinking of a VINTAGE CLUB. Members will be obligated to buy two cases of a vintage at anytime the wines are available whether bottled or not. 

For instance I will present a scenario for next year: A First Time customer buys on April First 2006 through the internet a case of pre-harvest Estate Zinfandel at $15 a bottle or $180 for the whole case. The customer visits the winery for the first time at the barrel tasting in March 2007 when the customer will be able to taste the barreled wine. They decide to order another case. That order qualifies them for the club discount, because the two case obligation has been met. I will go into more detail tomorrow.

Thursday May 19, 2005

I have received several more e-mails and even a few phone calls concerning our new "club". Also Pat and I have had some interesting discussions. I am going to try again to explain the club. I am having trouble explaining it to my closest friends. I see it easily, but others are still confused. We have not decided on a definite name yet (Probably "Vintage Club"), but I am getting close on finalizing the details. We use quickbooks to keep track of our orders and it would be hard to switch to other software. Quickbooks is not perfect nor is any other program. Just let me say It would be almost impossible to just track customers who bought only "Futures". It's a long story.

Here is how one of my most valued customers put it: He says I want to begin seriously raising prices, but want to keep the same low prices for my most loyal customers.  So the most recent posting on Wed can be translated to:  Those who continue to purchase at least 2 cases of each vintage (any mix) will get the lowest prices. 

My most valued adviser put it in more detail:

"Purchase 2 cases of a vintage and you are automatically a member of the Coffaro Vintage Club.  So what's that mean?

Just as in the vineyard, every vintage is a new year.  Purchase 2 cases of a vintage and you will be entitled to membership discounts for all wine you purchase thereafter for that vintage and the vintage following. And as a special benefit we are going to also give you club benefits on all vintages preceding the year in which you are a member.

It being Coffaro, there are, of course, "futures" and "bottled wine". For club purposes when we say wine, we mean futures or bottled wine. The discounts will be 30% off bottled wine and $2 per bottle on futures."

Here is what will happen:

1) I will send a card and e-mail  to customers who have purchased 24 bottles or more of 2004 or 2005 wines. They are IN 

2) The card will read something like: Thank you for purchasing 2 or more cases of 2004 or 2005 vintages. You have been automatically enrolled in our new Vintage Club. Club members are entitled to a 30% discount on all past Bottled Wine Vintages and also including the 2004, 2005 and 2006 wines when they are bottled.

3) The card also entitles you to a $2 per bottle discount on all "Futures" purchases for the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Vintages. 

4) Starting with the 2006 Vintage a purchase of 2 cases in a Vintage will entitle you to a 30% discount on all bottled wine, if still for sale, through the 2007 Vintage. Each Vintage purchase of 2 cases or more after that will entitle you to all past bottled wine as well as the current vintage and one year vintage more. 

5) The 30% discount only applies to bottled wine and the 2$ per bottle discount only applies to "Futures" purchases.

Now I hope I am not going to get confusing again. SO in April, 2006 Dave buys 24 bottles of 2006 pre-harvest futures. Dave is entitled to the discounts on all past vintages and 2007. Let's say Dave does not purchase any of the 2007 Vintage, but he purchases 24 bottles of the 2008 vintage. Dave is still entitled to a 30% discount on all bottled wine vintages from 2007 backward even though he missed one year. Of course he could have bought 2007 wines at better prices if he had bought "Futures" and he would not get the $2 per bottle discount on the 2008 "Futures". 

We are getting close, but this is not finalized yet. I want to hear more from you.

Thursday May 26, 2005

Boy did I receive a lot of comments. First of all the name.  Vintage Circle.

I understand the "circle" and can answer any question. Later in this diary I will explain it again in it's final form. Right now it is only important to know if you are IN. All customers who have bought two cases or more of either the 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages are IN. Some of you have only bought  two cases of 2003 wines, but most of you have bought two cases of wine from each vintage. Right now we show a total of 984 people. 

Regarding our pricing, here is what will happen on June first. In town at the Plaza Farms we will list 6 wines. Initially these wines will be the 2003 Sauv Blanc ($14), 2002 Zinfandel ($25), 2003 Zinfandel ($28), 2003 My Zin ($26), 2003 Carignan ($24) and the 2003 Neighbors' Cuvee ($22). We have the right to pour any three wines at a time. The discounts to apply for non circle members is 10% on a 4 pack carry out box, 15% discount on one case and a 20% discount on 2 or more cases. Circle members will get 30% off at the Plaza for as little as one bottle. The same discounts will apply at the winery. We will be holding back the 2003 Bernier's Zin and the 2003 Terre Melange until the 2003 Zin and Sauv blanc sells out. We have less than 30 cases of each of the latter two wines. We are also short on 2002 Zin. We will hold back the 2004s (to be bottled by the middle of July) until we need them for our total of 6 wines at the Plaza. 

At the winery we may pour all those wines, but not the 2003 Zin, 2002 Zin and Sauv Blanc. After the 2004s are bottled we may pour a few of them at the winery, but we will have to hold back most of them to pour at the Plaza. Some of my new advisers are cautioning me to make sure I have enough wine to sell. We have about 1000 cases of 2003 to sell and about 1000 cases of 2004. I have arranged to up my production for 2005. So far we have contracted for 4 tons of Tannat from Lodi, 6 tons of Zinfandel from the Lytton Springs area and 5 tons of Pinot Noir from Russian River. That should bring us up to 5000 cases or more. The 2005 Pinot Noir will go on sale on June First for $16 and $14 to Circle Members.

Ok here is the final, final rules for this two case Vintage Circle. 

First off, a few definitions:

The word "futures" applies to a vintage which has not been bottled.

"Vintage" is the year that is or will be marked on the bottle. 
For example, the 2002 Zinfandel is part of the 2002 Vintage.

Now the rules:

You are in the Circle NOW if you have purchased  2 cases of either the 2003, 2004 or 2005 Vintage. 
Vintages can not be combined to total the 2 cases.

You can become a Circle member by purchasing 2 cases of a vintage at the
current price. Circle members are entitled to discounts on
that vintage and all prior available vintages. 
Discounts are as follows for wines that qualify under these rules:

$2 per bottle on futures
30% off all bottled wine.

A Circle member may also obtain the NEXT vintage at Circle discounts.

` Dave 

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