David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 12
March 17, 2002 to March 23, 2002 

  Monday, March 18, 2002

Today Brendan, Steve and I are thinking about our bottling next week. We are receiving our labels, corks and bottles this week for white wine bottling. If all goes well we will bottle next Tuesday the 26th. That will include our 2002 dry sauv blanc and our late harvest. Today we are going to check out PH's on the two wines as well as experimenting with some blends on the Late Harvest. Right now the residual sugar on the late harvest is about 29%. To me that may be too high. By adding some dry SB to the blend we will see if the wine becomes more balanced. As I write Brendan is preparing blends of 10%, 15% and 25% dry SB additions to the late harvest. 

The first tests are in. We have PH's on the Late Harvest and Dry SB. 100% Dry has a PH of 2.94. The Late Harvest has a PH of 3.46. A 10% addition of Dry SB to the Late harvest brings the PH down to 3.43 while 15% was 3.39 and 25% was 3.37. By the way, I just had Brendan run the PH's on all our reds and was happy with the results. The Zin was 3.57, Estate Cuvee 3.54, Carignan 3.54, Block 4  3.59, Syrah 3.69, Terre Melange 3.69, Aca Modot 3.58 and Petite Sirah 3.40. The Pinot Noir came in at 3.99, but I have arranged to buy some Pinot bulk from J Wine. The PH in the sample I obtained from J was about 3.5. After blending the wine in April, we will check the PH again. I suspect I will add some tartaric acid to the final blend. 

Now we just got finished tasting the blends. I felt that there was no question that the 100% Late Harvest had the most concentration and character than any of the blends. The incredible apricot taste was fabulous. I also thought the acid was fine. We will now prepare to filter the wine today before our bottling next week. We are now running the alcohols on the wines. 

We had some trouble calibrating our alcolizer, but after a great deal of time we determined that the alcohol on the 100% sample of Late Harvest was about 9%. We are now preparing to filter it and see how much wine we will bottle. 

We just finished our first rough filter and actually came out with more wine than I thought. First the filter pads must be soaked with water and citric acid to get rid of the paper taste and dislodge loose particles from the filters. Then we decide to pump through some dry sauv blanc to rid the filters of the citric acid taste. After tasting and determining that the acidic taste has disappeared we start with the sweet wine. A few gallons of dry sauv blanc filters into the sweet wine by the time the the pads are cleared. Ultimately we will have added about 5% dry sauv blanc and we should have about 65 cases of Late Harvest to bottle. 

Last night the low temperature in our vineyard was 30 degrees. Tonight some forecasters are predicting low temperatures in the mid twenties. I moved here in 1979 and there have been many years that low temperatures at this time of the year have been predicted. The lowest I have observed has been 29 degrees which does very little damage. As a matter of fact there would be little chance of damage tonight, because most of the vineyard is still dormant. Brendan and I just took a walk through the vineyard and only found a few vines that even had green shoots forming. We have only about 40 vines of chardonnay (many green shoots), but the potential crop from those vines will go to Lambert Bridge Winery. We do also have a few vines of carignan that are showing a little green, but the damage would be very small. Waiting and worrying about a big frost has been like waiting for the big earthquake that will wipe us completely out. I'm still waiting, but I don't worry anymore. It is now later in the afternoon here, and I am hearing that it may not freeze tomorrow morning. I predict by the end of the week, we will be seeing green shoots all over the vineyard because of warmer highs in the morning and during the day. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

As I suspected there was no freeze last night. The temperature right now at 1 PM is 70 degrees and it will probably be warmer tomorrow. There will be a lot of green showing next week. Steve is just setting up my duster on the tractor, because in about two weeks I will have to start dusting with sulfur. 

I just received a bottle of Erado-Sol stain remover. I've found out that it removes red wine stains much better than Wine Away. Actually I tried Hydrogen Peroxide and dish soap Saturday night and found that it did a great job also. Please See http://waterhouse.ucdavis.edu/rwstain/ for a discussion of what does and doesn't work on red wine stains on various materials. 


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