David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

arrow October 16 - October 22, 2011

Sunday October 16, 2011

10:00 PM: For the first time in my life I missed Sunday Night Football, how many years has it been on the air................I thought I recorded it and found out I did not. I had other things to attend to like a Raider Victory. I will be calm because the Raiders have been disappointing for 10 years. My Mother has been most of my attention. She is still in pain and Lynda and I want to take her to the emergency and hope they will admit her through Medicare. Seriously, Medicare has been wonderful. They have people come to Vivien's house and are real nice. One is a nurse and the other is a great physical therapy person.

Vivien, I have never used that name to her, maybe I should. She is not listening to Lynda and I unless she has to. Lately it has been a few times everyday, so we are hoping she understands she needs someone helping her almost every moment so she does not fracture another bone.

I have to be here!! So, ON an upbeat, the Harvest goes on. Tomorrow is Lagrein, the big surprise varietal to me. I opened all three past bottleings tonight and I will report on my impressions tomorrow. 

10:30 PM: I just got back from checking our RaiZin and 2nd crop fermentations from Friday. They are active and smelling wonderful. Of course I am out.........without anything on my feet, shoeless and I am finding many, hiding, silent fragments all over the ground. It is striking at times, but it is what keeps me alive and keeps me knowing I am feeling the Earth. Tomorrow is another day.............. 

Monday October 17, 2011

8:30 Pm: I am on another bean roasting event. I roast enough coffee beans to keep me for only three days. I am following what some so called experts know, coffee will lose potency after 2 days or so. It is easy so I follow instructions. I have found I still get a great cup of espresso many days after roasting, keep it in the freezer. Don't worry I am not going to get into the roasting business, but I do have my opinions.

Today was tough and involved. My sister Lynda was strong and took our Mother, Vivien to the emergency this morning. She was still in great pain so she was admitted at 7pm.  It took a long time and I want thank my sister Lynda for being by her all day. At first they did not want to admit her.......long story...............

Like I said this is about me first. I want to state what happens. The diary is also about winemaking, my passion.

I have to go back to the beginning........ to the time of my existence but that is another time, but I do want to go back to my Mother's problem.

What do we know:::::,, but what I hear is my Mother had a heart attack for the first time at 89 years old. That was shocking to me. I have learned she has other complications at her age.

My Mother is tough. She does not want help at times. She said today...."Someone should listen to me!!". I do not want this intravenous Morphine to take away my pain.  But Mom.....I said, the pain will go away for a short time. " I do not want to become a vegetable like many of my friends". She is stable tonight. Medicare is great............

9:30 PM: I will have to finish this tomorrow, my beans have been ready for awhile, I have winemaking to do AND I can't miss Monday Night Football. ...........  Petit Verdot

Tuesday October 18, 2011

8:00 Am: Catarino and the crew are out harvesting Petit Verdot right now. Yesterday they brought in 2 tons of Lagrein about what we expected. The grapes were hard to handle in the de-stemmer because the skins were breaking down. The initial sugar was lower than I expected, at 24.6 brix. There may be some swell up by today.

Yesterday, we took a walk in the vineyard to look at the Petite Sirah. We have major problems!! The North side away from the afternoon sun has bunches hanging that have started rotting. There could be 30-50% infected. The South side has about 20% active rot forming. Our plan today is to harvest about a ton from the afternoon side and hope the sugar is high enough. Then on Wednesday and Thursday we must harvest the rest. Originally we were expecting 8 tons but since the rains came we lowered the estimate to 6 tons. We may only have 4 tons of good fruit. We have only sold 70 cases of Petite Sirah so one plus tons will satisfy that total. We have already harvested 1.1 tons at lower sugar. Some we have in barrel and could blend and some went into the RaiZin blend. We need a small amount for our Estate Cuvee and My Zin and that will not be a problem.

Later today we will take some more sugar samples and see where the other varietals are at. 

8:00 Pm: My mother is in the hospital and stable. We will learn more tomorrow.

I am taking a break from the Republican debate. I have it recorded. So far I have been entertained. They are lively and sometimes make good points.

What a day........I took another reading and Lagrein is still at 24.6, no swell up. So I was concerned today....Petit Verdot was coming in today. We harvested 2.3 tons of Petit Verdot, more than I expected, very little skin breakdown though, like Lagrein yesterday, so I had my hopes....first reading 26.8, second 27.0 and the third 27.0. I said that is good and I wandered off to think about the big problem!! What did that mean...of course my first thought was the break down in skins caused the lower sugar reading in Lagrein. Can I wait on the hard skin varietals....do I hope some botrytis is going to form out there and I will make another Late harvest wine........of course many more things cross about my mind.

So next I asked for more sugar tests...brix

I got one sample today that was 25.8.....it was Peloursin.............our last sample was 20.8 six days ago. I am in trouble. I ask Catarino, his computer in his head and is working perfectly. He brings me back 6 more samples of varietals. Even Carignan is ready and Grenache and Cab is near. Catarino's computer is working well so Matt and Catarino and I are ready for the challenge. The next 10 days will tell....... 

8:25 Pm:

I almost forgot. The Raiders may have acquired the best qb in football...............

Wednesday October 19, 2011

7:30 Am: Last night about 8:30 I was in the winery checking sugar readings and got stung by a bee. It seems I am more susceptible to a reaction than when I was younger OR maybe these bees here are stronger. We have a serum that can be applied and if done soon after the bite, it does work well. Since it happened when my hand was submerged in the skins and juice I was not sure at first I was stung. The juice is very acidic so if I have a small cut on my hand a sharp pain can mimic a bee sting. I realized a short time later that this pain was not going away and was getting worse. By the time, I wrote down my numbers from the sugar test and cleaned up and got back to the office, it was too late. 11 hours later my hand is still swollen up but it has subsided a little. The Harvest must go on.

Catarino and the crew are out picking Peloursin and will move on to Petite Sirah, then Merlot. Yesterday after harvesting the Petit Verdot we harvested more than one ton of Petite Sirah from the afternoon side. The skins are softer than Petit Verdot and there is some rot present so that may be why my initial sugar readings came in at 24.5 Brix. This morning I was surprised to see 26.0%. It looks good. We will harvest another ton today from the sunny side and wait on the morning side. We have many other varietals that are ready and I want to harvest them at their peak.

8:25 Pm: I need to visit my Mother again. She had a mild heart attack again so she is in Intensive Care....ICU. I didn't know what ICU meant until a few weeks ago.

We are packing up ALL our wine club tomorrow so they don't need me. We will take a break from the Harvest while I visit my Mother. I did not want to go anywhere during the Harvest but my Mother was First at my beginning in life. This will be the first time I have left the property during the middle of Harvest. In my life, there has never been anything more demanding than Harvest. This is interesting.............

I am out to do some sugar tests.....we now have 15 fermenters going.

Friday October 21, 2011

I made it back from yesterday. I am still recovering from the trip. My Mother is doing better so the trip was worth it. I left at 8:15 am and returned at 5:15 pm. That sounds OK but I only saw my Mother, Vivien, for about two hours. I also had to make a run over to her house for an eye medication she wants (She is almost blind in one eye so it is a long story, why she needs it). I went in first to her room at 10:35 but she was getting a test so I went back to collect my cell phone I forgot; I rarely use it unless I need to. When I saw her for the first time at 10:55, I knew She was alert because she said the President is coming on live in a few minutes. Her mind is still fantastic.

The trip was involved. Highway 101 was closed on the North side. I was going South so I was fine in the morning but when I heard it was still closed at 3pm on my way home side, I decided to travel through beautiful Napa Valley. It is crowded over there so A travel home could take as little as 1:30 took 3:15. It was an adventure.

We got back to action today and harvested Grenache. The 2.8 tons looked great. It was a long day and I hope to mention more tomorrow. We took sugar samples on the remaining varietals and it looks like we could finish in 10 more days. I will make it fun............... 

Saturday October 22, 2011

Monday we will harvest the fruit for our 2011 Escuro. We should have about 1000 pounds of Tannat (24+ Brix), about the same Alvarelhao (28+ Brix), a little less of a ton of Sauzao (25+) and some Aglianico (24). Later in the week we will also harvest over a ton from our new section to make a separate 100% Aglianico (25+ brix now). Some Lagrein picked earlier in the week will also be added to the Escuro. All this fruit has little damage from the rains.

On Tuesday we will harvest our Carignan at over 26 brix and it looks wonderful. Maybe on Wednesday we will start harvesting our Cabernet which is sitting at 25+ brix. After next week we will only have Cabernet Franc and Mourvedre left. All the fruit left looks fine and there is no rain in sight.

8:30 Pm: I am roasting coffee beans and Pat is up looking at the World Series. I'll be up in a few minutes. I was thinking again, that is good. I am still making plans for next week. It should be easy. BUT

Why is the Harvest so demanding and stressful? Do I bring it on me. I know Kate is stressed in her job because she wants to do everything to make the company she works for successful......BUT she can go home like most of you and escape and have no responsibility for that night. Of course that is what I do every night.....escape, but what is different? I guess in the end it is because I am the one responsible for David Coffaro Winery to be successful. Do I have help? Big time!! I like delegating authority. We now have 5 full time employees (Don't say we are not helping out the economy). We also have two part time employees. I am so happy to have them by me.

I digress. Sure it is a responsibility but it usually comes easy for me to make the right decisions but of course I am still stressed. I have to remember: Tomorrow is another day!!! The end is near.............

I have to go up later and read more of Gone With The Wind, the novel. It blows away the movie and I have said Gone With The Wind the movie is great. You have to like a conniving woman and a very complex love story. Some say it is a soap opera, but it is very believable........... the dialogue and character study is unmatched. Kindle is great.........


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