David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 16
April 18, 1999 to April 24, 1999 

April 18, 1999

Less than a week until Passport! Well, we shouldn’t have, but we did. We took a day off and visited some wineries in another part of Sonoma County yesterday. We joined some friends and did some touring around at the "April in Carneros" event. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed visiting an area we’d never been to and tasting some wines we’d never had before. This also gave us the opportunity to stand on the other side of the bar at a big winetasting event which provided us with another perspective as to what works and what doesn’t for all of us consumers at these kinds of affairs. We hope to be up to the challenge! 

Surprising to me, we have had a number of people playing along with our trivia game. Correct me if I’m wrong, but according to my count, we have Everett Bandman in the lead so far with 5 correct answers, next Tom and Ann Flack with 3-1/2  (one of them guessed Meeker and the other Alderbrook on the last question), 3 for Fred Berry, 2 for Mike Daly, and Phil Adcock, Brad Brown, Bob Sisak, David Perlmutter, Les Ferroggiaro, and Pete Morse with one each! Thank you all for your participation. I hope to continue with the questions to the end of the week, but as we get closer and closer to “P” day, I may not have the time. 

So at least two people knew for sure that it is the Meeker Vineyard which is owned by Los Angeles transplants, Molly and Charlie Meeker. They sold their vineyard property a few years ago, though, and just recently closed their teepee tasting room. Not to worry all you Meeker fans as we have been told that they have acquired other property on Dry Creek Road and will be moving their operation to that location soon. In the meantime, they will be setting up their temporary village at Timbercrest Farms, also on Dry Creek Rd., for the Passport event. Maybe they’ll be serving their famous rattlesnake stew again this year! 

Speaking of Meeker, makes me think of a new question – The former winemaker for Meeker is now making wine at which Dry Creek winery? Since many of you probably know the answer to this one, for a half point bonus, what food is this winery famous for serving at Passport each year?   --  Pat 

April 19, 1999

Two people knew that winemaker Mike Loykasek moved from Meeker to Armida (this was about a year and a half ago) and that Armida has been serving Tomales Bay oysters (among other foods) at the Passport event for the past few years. In fact, this year's Passport Activity sheet for Armida states: "Back by popular demand, the Tomales Bay Oyster Co. shelling out bite-sized power packed aphrodisiacs. Also in a repeat performance we have the fantastic Pulsators, bring your dancing shoes. Head up to the barrel rooms for a peek into the Wonderful Word of Mike, as our winemaker presents his latest elixirs with his usual flair and panache (picture A Walk in the Clouds through Vegas and you'll have just an inkling of what's in store.)" Wish *I* could be there! 

I don't have much time to think up my own question today, and I just happend to find this information and thought I'd use it for today's trivia challenge:  "Fascinated by wine since his youth, this winemaker founded his winery in the Santa Cruz Mountain village of Bonny Doon in 1976. The winery soon developed a reputation for Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. In 1988, after years of producing wine from purchased fruit, he acquired land in Dry Creek Valley for an estate vineyard and winery. What is the name of this winery? I almost had Dave stumped with this one but then he's slumped in front of the other computer dozing off and on. He says he's tired after having worked all day on beginning to blend and rack all the '98 reds, but he insists on continuing to work on the percentages of the make up of each of his wines for the 1999 futures order form even though we all know that he can't possibly know the final blend of each wine before the grapes are even growing! :-)  -- Pat 

April 21, 1999

Only 2 more days. This is very scary! 

The answer to the above question is Bill Frick of Frick Winery. As he states in this year's Passport: "Syrah, Viognier, Merlot and Cinsault are the stars here. Hillbillies with the culture of kings and queens. Since 1976 Frick has produced unique, flavorful wines. The winery is only open for Passport. This is the time to visit."  So check it out! 

Here's a question requiring two answers since I missed posting yesterday: Which two Dry Creek wineries won the Santa Rosa Harvest Fair sweepstakes award, one in 1995 for the best red wine and the other in 1996 for the best white?

We have been approved for credit card processing and just received our processing equipment yesterday. So by Friday we hope to have our new order form on the site and everything up and running so that we can begin taking orders on the 1999 futures. In fact, with all the warm weather we have been having this past week, the vines have even finally started to grow - which means that the 1999 season is officially underway just in time! 

April 23, 1999

Well, it's less than 12 hours to show time! We feel like we could be ready tomorrow at 10:00 but would feel much better if we had an additional 24 hours! Oh well. 

Just wanted to make one last brief post this week to give the answer to the last question. I'm sorry if I misled anyone, but as was so kindly pointed out by one of our trivia players, the two awards I was referring to were both made in 1995. J. Fritz won the sweepstakes award in 1995 for their 1993 Zinfandel and Mill Creek won in the same year for their 1994 Sauvignon Blanc. Winemakers David Hastings of Fritz and Hank Skewis of Mill Creek accepted the awards that year for their respective wineries. Two nicer guys you'll never meet. David Hastings has gone on to work for Taft Street Winery (the last we heard) and Hank Skewis is still at the helm of Mill Creek's operation. 

Now one last quick question:  Which Dry Creek Valley winery almost became a "celebrity" because Bill Cosby tried to buy it?  

Well, it's off to Passport this weekend. Thanks to all of you who have followed this trivia challenge in the past few weeks. I promise, though, that if we make it through this weekend's acitivites, I'll put Dave back to work on the diary next week.  -- Pat 



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