David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 40 - 41
October 12, 2003 to October 25, 2003 

  Wednesday October 15, 2003
I've been real busy this week trying to decide when to harvest the rest of our grapes. Some of them have been produced by growers and they have the responsibility to harvest and deliver them. The rest will be harvested by Catarino and his two helpers. On of his helpers left last Saturday, so that means they will only be able to pick about a half a ton per hour. We have about a half a ton of Peloursin, 1.25 tons of Carignan, maybe a half ton of Mourvedre. These varietals will go into our 2003 Terre Melange blend. We also have 1.5 tons of our Barbera to harvest as well as 4.5 tons of the cabernet that goes into the Estate Cuvee. The high temperatures each day have remained in the 80's with a few 90's. This is ideal weather for ripening these late varietals. Yesterday the guys picked some 2nd crop zin and 1.6 tons of our estate Petite Sirah. All the sugars were above 25%. 

Then I had to consider Doug Rafanelli. It is a long story, but the bottom line is that we will receive the rest of his petite sirah tomorrow. He has some very ripe grapes up high and some less ripe on the bottom. I told him to bring in all the ripe stuff and then bring in an equal amount of of the less ripe fruit. I am expecting about two tons. 

Most of my time has been concentrated in gathering information on what we have in the barrel. I have done tests for alcohol and acid on most of the critical barrels including all the zinfandels. This was the most important task for me, in able to determine when to harvest next. The tests revealed that most of the zin barrels were over 15% alcohol and since I do not prefer to bottle a zinfandel that is over 15%, I had a lot of work ahead of me. I then used several Excel spreadsheets to shuffle these zin barrels into many rows and columns. First of all I moved the lowest alcohol zinfandel barrels to the Estate Zinfandel section. I came up with 17 barrels at 14.7 alcohol, not bad but only 375 cases potential. I may decide to blend in some carignan, cab and petite sirah, as I have in the past. I wanted to make a pure 100% varietal and maybe I will, still. Then I moved all the highest alcohol zins to the "My Zin" area. I have planned all along to use 75% zinfandel in this wine, so I can blend lower alcohol wines into the blend. 

The "My Zin" was my biggest concern, because after adding 15 barrels of zinfandel, I had an alcohol of about 15.5%. Of course I had my ace in the hole: The Rafanelli Petite Sirah at 11.5 alcohol. (By the way, I gave Brendan a blind taste of that PS yesterday and he did not guess what it was and he was pleasantly surprised at the fruit. It sure has a bunch of tannin, which I love). I added all three barrels to the "My Zin" blend, along with one barrel of Rafanelli Cabernet (Great tasting at 14.7 alcohol). The last three barrels are a blend of some of our new zinfandel at 14.3 alcohol which had a bunch of Raf PS skins added without the juice. Boy what structure this wine has. I came up with a total alcohol of 14.7% just what I am looking for. 

These blends are all tentative, but I have a good idea of what I want to do. The last 10 barrels have been transferred to the Estate Cuvee. The alcohol is 15.2 now, but our bottom cab is to be added along with carignan and peloursin. I have decided to hold off harvesting these varietals until early next week, because the acids are great and I still will be able to harvest with the intention of about 14% potential alcohol, resulting in a final alcohol of about 14.5%. I now can sleep peacefully. 

I forgot to mention that we still have the Roberto cab to be delivered to us. We will also have that brought in next week. What a week it will be. 

Thursday October 16, 2003

Today was another busy, tough day. I don't want you to think I could not handle it. Actually, I found it easy. I had to be organized and patient. Most of you who know me may find that hard to believe, because I can be wired whether I am into making wine or discussing political matters. I am passionate and I do have an opinion about anything that is presented to me. Pat, my wife has put up with me for 30 years. I feel fortunate she is still with me. 

Today was easy, because I have experienced similar days over the last 25 years. Doug was not organized and was not ready to deliver us petite sirah today, even though I had everyone here to process this fruit. Brendan actually stepped up and suggested that he call Doug and encourage him to harvest. We still don't know why he did not want to pick, but that is not important at this time. The point is that when a winery who is paying you top dollar in a bad market asks for you to harvest AND is willing to take responsibility, you should accommodate. He did not, so we sent Catarino over to pick his crop. I knew that the grapes were ready and I was right. We ultimately ended up with 1.2 tons at 25 brix. Perfect, but we want more, in a different area, with lower sugar now. Next week this area should be ready. The high temperatures could reach into the 90's in the next few days, which will ripen up all of our fruit. Harvest will be over next week. 

Friday October 17, 2003

We will be sending an e-mail to all our "Futures" holders to remind you that we will be having an open house with some food and videos. The dates are November 1st and 2nd. You may pick up wine that day or just come and taste these new 2003 wines out of the barrel. Here is a link to the text of the previous postcard you should have received. 

2:00 PM: I just heard from my BMW dealer in Berkeley that my new 2004 530i has not arrived yet. It was scheduled for yesterday, but I suppose the driver decided to stop off somewhere in the middle of the country. I am so busy that I wouldn't have time to drive it anyway. Toward the end of next week, will be fine, since we will be finished harvesting. 

Wednesday October 22, 2003

7:00 Am: It will be Pat's birthday Friday, but I get my gift today. Pat will accompany me to Berkeley to pick up my new 2004 BMW 530i. I may let her drive it once in a while.

The last two days required many decisions involving the harvesting of our last fruit for the season. I'll go into detail when I get back, later today.

Thursday October 23, 2003

There was a lot of traffic, yesterday, so I was quite tired when I got home. This new car will be a challenge to learn all the little gadgets included in the menus. Yes, there are so many buttons and things to turn, that BMW even includes a DVD in the large folder. Pat and I watched it last night, but we are still confused. Like, have you ever heard of several menus to access (like a computer) before you can turn on the radio or play a cd? I love computers, so I look forward to learning everything.

Tomorrow will be our last day of Harvest, I know I said that yesterday was to be the last day, but we had to pick up the new car. We have our estate Barbera and one ton of cabernet to harvest tomorrow. Also, we will be receiving 4.5 tons of cabernet from a vineyard in Alexander Valley. I know we are making a 2003 Barbera, but until I see what the quality is, I can't say where the cabernet will be incorporated into our wines. 

Over the last several days, we harvested our new Estate Petite Sirah, some Petite Sirah from Doug Rafanelli, some of our own 2nd crop, carignan, cabernet (for the Estate Cuvee) and peloursin. All the sugars and acids look great. After fermentation, I'll explain where all this new wine will go. 

Satur October 25, 2003

I know you think I've had some wine to drink after seeing the Saturday without the DAY, and you would be right, but I know what I am doing. I hate typing! I type 15 words per minute if I concentrate. I want to keep anything SHORT, so I am eliminating the DAY. This diary is a lot of work for me! Besides not being abel (to spell) to type well, I was barely passing in my creative writing clsses before; (Actually I never got that far; I had to take bonehead english, (Did you notice the lower case e in Englesh? woops-spelling?). BUT I am tired of typing "the days of the week" with the same ending.

I will go in more detail on SUN---, We had an interesting two days. I know I tease, but remember I can't type> 


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