David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 19 - 20
May 6, 2007 May 19, 2007 

Wednesday May 9, 2007

Last Night 9pm: You have to thank Steve!! I am only here because Steve failed to start my espresso maker. He always starts my espresso maker before he leaves at 4pm so I am surprised he forgot. I have 10 minutes to write while the espresso maker warms up.

I have been out of commission. Actually I have done Too Much (I will explain later) and I am suffering. Last Sunday 9 days ago after the Passport event and after all the help, mostly relatives, went off to their real life I realized my left foot was hurting a little AND I emphasize my foot Now is killing me. That evening while relaxing in my Theater Room I decided to pull my toes forward to relieve the small pain I was experiencing in my toes on my left foot. At my age, now 64, I do have a little tightness in my toes and I have noticed by flexing them I can loosen them up. The stiffness is probable caused by a little arthritis. I now know I forced my toes forward too much. 

I have been through 4 hernia operations, but this injury is the most focused pain in one spot that I have ever experienced. I was awake for two hours last night because the pain was so intense. I have taken a great deal of Ibuprofen and it does not help. Maybe Ibuprofen does not help in the lower foot. BUT I did find out that alcohol works. I feel great right now after consuming 5 ounces of tequila and a half a bottle of wine.

This Morning 11am: My nights sleep was Ok. I keep thinking I feel a little better each day. A day after the incident last Monday, April 30, I suspected I had pulled some ligaments in all my toes. My toes and most of my foot started to swell up and turn red. Kate, Pat and I went off to the Dry Creek Kitchen that night and had a nice meal. The next day we went off to San Francisco for Kate's scholarship presentation. I noticed while driving that I was having trouble pushing down the clutch in my car. I drove over 100 miles in traffic and had to walk a great deal. By the next morning I noticed my ankle had started swelling up also. My children were insisting that I head off to the doctor, but I was certain the doctor could do nothing for me except tell me what I already knew. Each day it was feeling a little better even though I continued to go out to dinner and drive all over the place during my Birthday week (See last week).

Then I really made a mistake. Well, I had to. I had to sulfur the vineyard Sunday morning at about 7am. That involved driving my tractor. Driving a tractor involves a great deal of effort to concentrate on making the right moves to avoid trampling vines. I did not realize that I also was putting a great deal of pressure on my foot. The clutch in the tractor is extremely hard to push down!! I suspect I pushed the clutch down at least 100 times. Later in the morning I started getting this sharp pain up on the left side of my leg. I suspected I had put a slight strain on my leg (it is now cleared up). What I did not realize until a little later is that the pain in all my small toes had dissipated and I could move them somewhat and I also noticed that the swelling had gone down. I was feeling relieved even though my big toe started hurting more and there was a sharp pain on the outside of my foot below the big toe. Sunday night and especially Monday night and day I could not stop this pain. The only time the pain would go away was for about one second if I moved my toe or foot slightly, but then the pain would come back. 

Yesterday I searched for "pulled ligaments in toes " on Google and came up with a health link on Yahoo. It is so nice to know that Google likes Yahoo. I read where it is good to apply heat after the swelling has gone down. So that is what I am trying this morning. I have my foot elevated after applying heat for 20 minutes and I do not feel much pain right now.

I assume it will take about a month in all for me to fully recover. On May 30th Pat and I are heading up the Oregon Coast to eventually pick up Susie on June 9th after she finishes at The University of Washington until the Fall. I hope to be recovered enough for the long drive. 

Friday May 11, 2007

My foot is feeling somewhat better. In one week I suspect I should be walking normally.

I have been accused of not charging enough for my wine. I will NEVER be recognized for having the greatest wine. Now, if I had started like Screaming Eagle I might have developed a big waiting list for a person to have the right to purchase wine for over $200 a bottle. Someone who is fortunate to obtain a bottle of Screaming Eagle can sell the wine for thousands. Screaming Eagle has created a mystique so much so that customers searching for Screaming Eagle's vineyard can not find it. Does it exist? Customers have no problem finding our winery. We have no mystique? I will never be recognized as being a great winery or winemaker unless I charge much more for my wine.

Now I could be like some wineries and charge more for my wine!! I could create a different following!! I would lose some of you, but not all because I could give you the "A" pricing because you were here from the beginning. By charging more I could create a new following and people will think I make better wine. Some of my competitors around in Dry Creek Valley are now charging well over $30 a bottle for Zinfandel. I have heard of some charging much more than that. I can see in a few years we can have a Zin in this valley priced at over $50 a bottle. I am out of touch so probably it has already happened. 

I should make less wine so I could create more demand, but I love making wine!! I will never screw the customer!! As long as I am in control which I suspect could be forever I will never charge too much for my wine. 

We are purchasing more grapes from Gallo this year. I just received a contract for 2 tons of Malbec, 3 tons of Cab Franc and 4 tons of Petit Verdot, all from the Frei Ranch 4 miles south of us on Dry Creek Rd. We are also picking up a ton of Carmine from Russian River and 3 tons of Tannat from the MacMurray Ranch in Russian River. Also I have decided to purchase 5 tons of Cabernet from Fox Ranch owned by Gallo near Lytton Springs Rd. That means we will be producing about 300 cases of Cabernet this year. I will start selling it on June first. 

Thursday May 17, 2007

I need to talk about Block 4 (check out the vineyard map). I have been concerned because the part of the vineyard going into Block 4 has changed over the last few years. It is still made with all old vines, but instead of sourcing the fruit exclusively from the 4th block of our vineyard I have started to use some of our first block as well. Originally the first block has been sold to Lambert Bridge Winery, but we claimed it back starting with the 2005 vintage. In that year we used half the fruit for the Block 4. The first block is a mixture of about 60% Zinfandel, 15% Carignan, 10% Peloursin, 10% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah, 30 rows in all.

We started producing Block 4 with the 1999 vintage. At that time I only used 40 rows of our 4th block. That is the section that is most mixed and consists at random about 40% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 10% Peloursin, 10% Carignan, 10% Valdigue and 10% Syrah. For the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 vintages we produced about 300 cases. Then in 2003 I started taking more of the total block 4 which in all has 102 rows. After the first 40 rows Zinfandel vines start to dominate the section. At about 62 rows the block turns into all Zinfandel with the last 40. In 2003 I used about 46 rows and then in 2004 I started using 62 rows. That changed the percentage of Zinfandel to about 50%. Most of us feel that the 2003 Block 4 has developed into our best wine ever, so I have been anxious to see how the recent vintages have compared.

There has been so much demand for our Block 4 that I had to increase my production. Sure I could have done what other wineries do and increase the price substantially and/or offer it exclusively to a few of you. That is not my desire so with the 2005 vintage I took half of the first block and the 2006 Block 4 has all of the first block mixed in. 

I am excited to report that I feel the latest vintages of Block 4 have compared very well with our 2003. In the last two nights I tasted blind the 2003, 2004 and 2005 as well as the 2006 in barrel. At first the 2003 shows the best, but after a few hours and especially over night the 2004 and 2005 show just as well as the 2003. Yes the 2003 is more complex and softer after a day, but the latest vintages have more intensity and look like they will be just as good. I also think the 2006 in barrel could be the best wine. We have 15 cases of 2005 left to sell so I am taking it off our order form. If I consider 6 cases I am holding for myself I could say I have 21 cases available. Matt has been insisting that I enter the wine in the 2007 Harvest Fair and I am considering it. I need 40 cases available. Amazing enough as of Monday, there was still 67 cases of 2005 Block 4 not claimed by Futures customers. Some of these customers have contacted us and will pick up their wine in the next few weeks, but the others we have not heard from have only 2 more weeks to contact us so I will see what develops. 

Do you want us to send you wine without your choosing? That is what most wineries do with their Wine Club. Now some of the time that consists of wines that only Wine Club members can obtain and also wines are sent that members might not want. With our Vintage Circle you have the right to decide! We do not choose the the wine we send to you. You just have to purchase two cases of one vintage at least every two years. Well, I have heard from many wineries that there is much more money in getting people to allow wine to be shipped to them sometimes without the right to taste and sometimes a wine is shipped that the member may not desire. These wineries say that if they did not have their Club members they would not survive. I know I have heard almost everyday that some of you feel I have not made a bad wine, So do you want to join the Ultimate Wine Club? I am considering it, but I have not decided on the details.

At the end of April I mentioned that we participated in the Passport event and that we dressed up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Here's a bunch of really gnarly pics that show the groovy fun we had. I want to thank all of the friends who helped make the event such a success, especially Pat, Sharon and Rick. 


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