David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 14
April 4, 1999 to April 10, 1999 

April 4, 1999

We had the privilege of celebrating a birthday yesterday!  Diary reader and faithful customer Shawn just hit the big 4-0 last week, and his wife Tami arranged a surprise bus trip to the wine country for Shawn and 20 of his best friends! And their first stop on a busy day of winetasting was here. We greeted their enthusiastic group at 10:00 a.m. with a round loaf of "birthday bread" to accompany the barrel samples. Later, Dave even cracked open something actually in a bottle (I think it was a 1997 CarignanE (the 1997 version has an "e" on the end) - Shawn's favorite varietal from our list), and by special request, we watched a few cuts of the "Hell Freezes Over" performance - one of Shawn's favorite groups we were happy to learn. Dave now has Hell Freezes Over on DVD (the former version was on laser disc) and guess what..........*he* thinks the audio and particularly the video are even better! 

The answer to yesterday's Passport trivia is - Robert Stemmler Vineyards, which is now the home of Pezzi King. We only received one correct answer by e-mail - all right, it was the *only* answer we received - and that person's name will be included in the drawing for "something" at the end of the contest. Countdown to Passport continues:  20 days to go!  Trivia question for today is - Which two currently participating Dry Creek Valley wineries offered two of the three vineyard tours at the very first Passport in April of 1990? Answer in a couple of days. We're off to visit family for Easter. -- Pat 

April 7, 1999

We're back! 17 more days to Passport. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, my assigned task for Passport is to arrange for purchase and delivery of 540 cases of bottled water for the Passport event. So I spent my day ordering the water (from Costco of course) and arranging with an independent trucker to get the water delivered up to Pedroncelli Winery, where it will be distributed to the 25 participating wineries a few days before the event. The trucker said he'd have to make two trips up from Santa Rosa and would have to charge the association $270 for the delivery. I'm thinking - what a bargain. In past years, I've gone down to Costco to meet one of our association members who drove his truck and trailer down to pick up the water and you can imagine what a hassle that was.The $270 is well worth avoiding that inconvenience (after all, that's less than the price of only 5 Passport tickets). 

The answer to Sunday's Passport trivia is David Coffaro and Forchini Vineyards - 2 fairly new wineries but grape growers for many years! The new Passport challenge question for today is:  Julia Iantosca is currently the winemaker for this winery, but started her winemaking career at another Dry Creek Valley winery which no longer exists but participated in Passport from 1990 to 1993. What are the names of these two wineries? Hint: The second winery's facilities were on W. Dry Creek Rd. but their tasting room was located in downtown Healdsburg because the road up to the winery facility (now owned by Pezzi King) was too long and narrow.

April 8, 1999

We received three(!) correct answers to yesterday's question - Lambert Bridge Winery and William Wheeler Winery are the 2 wineries in question. When we purchased our vineyard in 1979, the grapes grown here were being sold to Gallo (known as the Frei Bros. facility in Dry Creek Valley), and we continued to sell to Gallo for our first few years here. But when Gallo continued to refuse to commit to a definite purchase price per ton until *after* all the grapes had been taken in by them, we gradually began to look for a new winery in the valley who would buy our grapes. Our first written contract was in 1983 with William Wheeler Winery, and that is how our relationship with Julia Iantosca began. When she moved to Lambert Bridge, she continued to purchase some of our grapes for that winery as well. 

So now, today's question is:  Which winemaker/owner worked in Gallo's Frei Bros. lab for over ten years before establishing his own winery in honor of his father, a pioneer farmer in the Dry Creek Valley since 1946 who passed away in 1985?

April 9, 1999

15 days and counting!  In case you’re wondering, we have been taking care of some Passport preparations. In the past couple of days, we have been working with some really nice folks at a company called Imagery Products in San Luis Obispo. They are designing a wineglass name tag for us which will include our logo and some specific text regarding celebration of the 10th annual Passport event. We are going to hand these out to our Passport attendees and they will hopefully write their names on them and put them on their wine glasses to let people know who they are as they travel from winery to winery and also of course advertise our winery at the same time.  If you haven’t seen these wineglass name tags before, they are donut-shaped and have a slit it them so that you can easily slip them around the base of a wineglass. We also ordered a bunch extra (without the Passport text) to sell here at the winery, so if anyone’s interested, you’ll know where you can get some on your next visit here. 

We’re also beginning to work on the 1999 futures order form which we will be using at Passport and also putting up on the site on the 23rd. Brad, our web designer, has been getting an electronic ordering form ready for use on the site and we’re hoping to have credit card processing available at that time as well. Although we have submitted our request for credit card service to Costco more than three weeks ago, we have not heard back as yet. 

The answer to yesterday’s question is Dan Teldeschi of F. Teldeschi Winery. Dan is a great guy and our relationship with him goes back to our very first year here in Dry Creek when Dave and I were driving back from the Farmers’ Market in our old 1969 International Scout 4-wheel drive pickup and it broke down on Dry Creek Rd. over 5 miles from our place. We got out and started walking home thinking no one would stop for us. But low and behold Dan drove by on his motorcycle, recognized us, turned around and drove back to his place to get his truck and then came back and picked us up and took us home! That was one of our first experiences with the friendliness and generosity of our neighbors in Dry Creek. 

For today’s Passport challenge (we received 3 correct answers to yesterday’s) - “Which winery has featured the foods of cookbook author and newspaper columnist Michele Anna Jordan at several Passport events? The principal of this winery was the instigating force behind the formation of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley - a coalition of grape growers and wineries which sponsors the Passport event – and in addition to winemaking is well known for his creative talent in another related area.”

April 10, 1999

Jeannine and Michall of C'est Bon Caterers were here last night and prepared for us a sampling of possible dishes to serve at Passport. We had three choices for a main course and they were all absolutely delicious. After much confusion, discussion, and dissention, the "chicken in reisling and grape sauce" won out over the more traditional beef bourguignon and coq au vin. It was a difficult choice, but a conclusion had to be reached so that they could begin to order the ingredients and something new and unusual won out over the typical (we've never been noted to be conventional around here anyway, so why start now?). We'll also have a table with a couple of homemade pates, several cheeses, fresh local french bread, and crackers. And back by popular demand will be the French crepe cart and espresso drinks for dessert. Now that the food has been determined, we can focus on movies, music, and decorations. 

The answer to yesterday's question (two correct answers this time) is Preston Vineyards. For those of you who didn't know, Lou Preston now has a brick oven kitchen at his winery so that he can now pursue one of his other passions - bread baking. His breads are really quite tasty and it is quite a treat to find some hot bread just out of the oven there during a stopover for winetasting. We really admire Lou Preston for all he has done for the winegrowers in this valley. As a matter of fact he specifically helped us in our early years here by buying Sauvignon Blanc grapes from us from about 1987 through 1992 and they were used in Preston's Fume de Cuvee program - that still being one of our favorite wines from his winery. (P.S. We just received our Passport activities sheet and I see that Michele Anna Jordan is back at Preston this year and will be signing her new book "Salt & Pepper" during the event - great news for all of you who are going to be able to attend.) 

And now on to the Passport trivia question for today - Which winery had a Hawaiian theme and gave away buttons which said "I got lei'd at ___?___ Vineyards" a few Passports ago? The winemaker at this winery began working in the wine industry as a cellar rat at Dry Creek Vineyards and also now makes wine for another Dry Creek Valley label. We'll post the answer to this question on Monday to give all of you weekend warriors time to get back to your computers at work on Monday. 


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