David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

January, 2009 

Saturday January 3, 2009

I am happy to report that the wine in the barrels we moved outside into the cold earlier this week has continued to move down in temperature. This morning the wine was down to 41 degrees. Tonight we are expecting lows into the 20s so I am hoping the wine will move down into the high 30s which should be all we need to achieve cold stabilization which will settle out most of the tartrate crystals. On Tuesday we are planning to start our blending with the 2008 Block 4.

Sunday January 4, 2009

This morning the outside temperature got down to 27 degrees and my last check of the wine in the barrels in our parking lot was 38 degrees. Like I have said that hopefully will be enough to settle most of the tartrates in our 2008 wine. We will rack starting Tuesday by carefully pumping out 56 gallons of wine from each barrel into a tank and leave 4 gallons of sediment containing the tartrates and fermentation residue. Tomorrow we will move 26 barrels containing the 2008 Block 4 into the winery to warm up. Even though the Block 4 is fermented together, each barrel varies a little because of the age of the barrel and grapes from many sections of our vineyard. By racking into one tank, the wine will become the same. 

Thursday January 8, 2009

Our blending is going well and we are really happy with the results. We will be finished blending our wines tomorrow and next week we will start on the Wine Guerrilla blends.

On Monday we tasted wines out of new barrels we purchased last year. I thought the Zinfandel tasted much better with our Demptos American Oak Medium+ toast barrels. We also have the wine in Demptos Heavy toast which actually was less smoky and less rich. I did not like the World Cooperage American oak barrels with the Zin but they did add a little more acid to the Block 4. Overall I still preferred the Demptos in the Block 4. The Petite Sirah and Cabernet showed well in our Radoux French oak. Next year I will purchase more Demptos and Radoux. 

Saturday January 10, 2009

I actually believe that wine improves with a higher heat storage, say up to 65 degrees and even 68. Here are two stories of instances I have experienced that make me believe wine can take more heat than we have been told.

1) I once sold wine to Chicago through a distributor. It was picked up here in the original carton (No styrofoam) and delivered and stored at several places in Chicago. I have no idea whether the truck was air conditioned. Several months later I was running low on the wine and decided to buy it back from a retailer at twice the cost I sold it for to the distributor. The wine was shipped back here by the retailer in styrofoam and I put it in my cellar. The same wine went straight from the bottling line and stored in my 62 degree wine cellar. One night I went down and picked out a bottle of the wine to have that evening. Without thinking I noticed the wine was tasting much better than the last time I had remembered trying it. In the next week I decided to try another one because I liked it so much a few days before. I noticed again how well it was showing.....then I looked closer at the bottle and noticed it had a bar code on it and realized it was one of the bottles that had traveled to Chicago and back. I went down and got a bottle of the same wine that had been stored in my cellar for over a year and sure enough that wine tasted young and not developed and much less enjoyable than the wine from Chicago. I assume the wine had received some heat either in transit or storage in Chicago which actually improved the wine in my opinion.

 2) One time at bottling in July the temperature outside reached 110 degrees for 4 days. We had stored some empty bottles in a bin outside in the sun to be recycled later. After bottling I had Catarino take the empty bottles to recycle. To our surprise he found two cases of bottles that still had wine in them intact with the synthetic cork. That evening I tried the wine compared to the same wine I had stored in my cellar. I was amazed to find that after tasting the two wines blind, I could not tell the difference. I assumed the heat exposed wine would deteriorate after time so one year later I tried them again and found they still tasted the same. 

Here is another story:

Have you heard of the movie "Bottle Shock"? I saw it recently and even though I thought the movie was poorly done it did point out a fact that is interesting. As you might know there was a blind tasting of wine back in 1976 that confirmed California had great wine that was just as good as the French. We actually won the contest. Here is the story in Wikipedia. What is interesting is the wines from California for the tasting were flown 7000 miles and I assume tasted soon after arrival. I am sure the wine went through stages of variable temperatures and was shaken up and still won the competition. I believe the trip helped. I believe young wine is not as fragile as we think.

The credit crisis and losses in the stock market could be hurting the wineries around here. We only had four people in here all week. We made two sales and one was very large, but this is concerning. The first two weeks in January are usually very slow but this is far less traffic than in the last several years. I feel we could take a drop in sales this year of 20% and still have enough cash flow to pay all our expenses so time will tell.

Sunday January 25, 2009

All our blending has been finished and I tasted the barrels and I am very happy with the results. I prefer the heavier Cab and Petite Sirah blends but I know some of you prefer our more balanced wines such as the Block 4 and Estate Cuvee. Of course I like all my wines so I usually open a few a night and use what we don't consume to top off barrels. It's fun! I especially like the My Zin, Escuro, Cab and Petite Sirah, but I do consume a great deal of Block 4 also.

Friday we also bottled  our new Fresco, a Rose and our 2007 Ultimate Cuvee. Yesterday we started selling the Rose at $18 a bottle before any discounts. It will go up for sale on our order form starting on February first. Just send us an e-mail if you want to purchase before hand to take advantage of our extra 5% discount which will expire on January 31.

We are changing our label again, but only slightly. In stead of using all caps for the wine name we are going to use a flamboyant script called Zapfino. I love the change and I hope you will, but I have already heard that some of you will think it is too busy. Here is a sample of the Zinfandel label that is almost finished. Please give me some feedback since it is not a done deal.


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