David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

October 3 - October 9, 2010 

Wednesday October 6 2010

We found more Zinfandel fruit for the Wine Guerrilla in the hills East of Windsor. The site can be called Chalk Hill or Russian River. The 13 tons of grapes came in very inconsistent. 32 Pickers are hard to control. As I have stated in the past Catarino controls only 4 pickers to make sure Matt and I pick the best fruit from our vineyard. Owning and controlling and living on the site of the vineyard is a great advantage.

In the last two days we destemmed all the 13 tons. I instructed Salvador, big Steve (Steve a construction worker was here last year and has come back to help for the next few weeks) and sometimes Matt had to slowly look at the fruit before it was destemmed. We pulled out about 10% of unripe bunches. There were raisins so the sugar was about 23 brix and swelled up to almost 25 by the next day. Overall I think it will make great wine. I probably won't take any for our winery but I have that option. 

Yesterday I found a vineyard on Dry Creek Road near Healdsburg about 6.5 miles from here. There are two sections in this vineyard one near the road and the other near the creek. The section in the front near Dry Creek Road  was committed to another winery BUT that winery did not want any raisins SO I contracted for the two tons left. The pickers went through for the first time selecting only perfect bunches, at least that is what the winery thought was perfect. Then we spent 10 minutes instructing the pickers to select all the remaining bunches that had raisins in them. We asked that they don't pick completely dried out bunches. The grapes came in late yesterday and we will destem them today. I saw obvious dried out bunches so we will have to cull them out. The wine from these two tons will be an experiment so I will keep it for our winery. We will have to rehydrate the must with a good amount of water.

10:00Am: Now let's talk about the section near Dry Creek. This vineyard has an address near 1000 Dry Creek Road. The vineyard is on the valley floor so the front section borders Dry Creek Road and the vineyard stretches South East about 1000 feet and ends at Dry Creek. There are two sections near Dry Creek separated by an avenue. Both sections are 50+ old vine Zinfandel. The fruit like in Chalk Hill is variable. Some bunches are plump (Riper than Chalk Hill) and some bunches have many raisins. I think the fruit looks great so we are accepting several tons today. We will cull out what we don't want because I know the same 32 pickers will surely pick bunches we do not want.

We have all our Petite Sirah in and we will finish our Carignan today. When I have time I will update more about our vineyard. 

8:45Pm: I am excited!! Read the first section today. I am surprised Matt may be obsessed also. We tried to crush, actually we destemmed, we should have crushed every raisin. We processed 2 tons of raisins from Dry Creek Zinfandel and did not see a drop of juice. I was shocked when I saw the first bunches drop into our fermenter. Usually I can take a sugar reading in a few seconds. It takes about two drops to obtain a sample. I could not even get a drop. I stopped everything and yelled: Is there something wrong? We have no juice!! What do I do next? What do I do with two tons of raisins?

Pat thinks I have flipped out. She thinks I have always taken too many chances. I was near bankrupt when we purchased this property. I think we have done ok. So I usually think I can succeed when I take chances. BUT Pat may be right this time. Matt and I decided to add 40 gallons of water to our fermenters today and see what happens. We think we will have to ferment this mass at a high temperature to break down the raisins and see if we can make something drinkable. Have you ever heard of Amarone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amarone. I need to do some research. This is one fermentation that may take two weeks. I can't wait for the challenge. I may fail this time, but I only paid $5000 for these raisins, I only have to sell it for $50 a case to cover that cost. It will be fun!!


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