David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 36
September 1, 2002 to September 7, 2002 

Monday September 2, 2002 

9:00 AM: The high yesterday was 104 so Julia, winemaker of Lambert Bridge, and I are heading out to test some sauv blanc fruit. If the acids are down we will probably harvest some Wednesday or even a small amount tomorrow. 

12:00 Noon: Julia and I came up with sugars of about 21.3 Brix and a PH of 3.00. Last week the PH was 2.90 so atleast we are going in the right direction. I've decided to harvest a ton or so of sauv blanc on Wednesday along with about a half ton of chardonnay. We will press off the sauv blanc first and see where the sugar really is and then pass on the numbers to Julia. I suspect we may have all our sauv blanc in by this Saturday. 

Wednesday September 4, 2002 

[Don't miss this year's new pictures in our ongoing 2002 Gallery!]

Today was like several other days at this winery, very unpredictable. It started off as a very easy day regarding decisions: JUST TAKE IN A SAMPLE OF SAUV BLANC GRAPES AND DECIDE WHEN TO HARVEST NEXT. I'll try to recreate what happened. 

11:00 PM, I go to bed contemplating sleep. 
12:20 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes. 
2:20 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes. 
4:00 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes. 
5:00 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes. 
6:00 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes. 
6:15 AM, I wake up and think about our first harvest of grapes and decide I BETTER GET UP!! 

Don't feel sorry, because I have no problem getting up and falling back to sleep so I thought I had plenty of sleep for such an easy day. BOY WAS I WRONG!! 

The weather forecast was changed from rain Thursday to no rain. No Surprise!! 

Our first bin of sauv blanc, the varietal we were testing came in and our first test of sugar came in a little low, at 21 Brix. I called Julia who needs to pick her fruit also and informed her that she should probably go on Monday. No Surprise. 

Nothing after that was predictable!! 

About 10:00AM, Brendan came in to report that we had a Brix of 22.5 after pressing for awhile. OK!! I can handle that. 

11:00 AM, Brendan reports that we are getting readings as high as 23. 

Our first PH readings were coming in under 3.00 and then we were getting readings as high as 3.45 after pressing. 

What should I do Next? 

1:00PM I called Steve and said I might want to harvest the rest of my Sauv Blanc in the next two days. I was told that other wineries may want to go before me. I said OK, let me do some more figuring. 

2:00Pm I decided to send Caterino and the pickers down to pick some raisins for the Late Harvest Sauv Blanc. 

In the mean time, as I was wandering around the vineyard, I noticed that our zin was looking very ripe. NOW, Brendan and I have been fooled before by the outward looking bunches on zin vines, so I wasn't surprised. 

3:00Pm, Steve says he has someone else lined up for tomorrow morning. 
Brendan and I decided to press the raisins for Late Harvest on top of the Sauv Blanc. Already the S.B. was reading 25+ on the final press. We expected to get a reading of 22 overall on the sauv blanc already in the tank. We thought we could get some at 30 brix after pressing the raisins. 

Continued tomorrow: 

Thursday September 5, 2002

7:00 AM, I tried to get some sleep, but did not do well. I went to bed last night a little after midnight, but I know I was still awake well after that. Oh well, the harvest must go on. I will now continue with the events of yesterday:

At about 4:00Pm, Steve informed me that another winery wanted to pick either Friday or Saturday.

4:30 PM, I decided I better go out and check some zinfandel in all our blocks.

5:00 PM, Brendan and I are shocked to see that the samples of zin I picked were all over 25 brix. I purposely tried to select the biggest bunches that I thought may be under ripe. THIS IS SCARY!! After swell up I am sure we will see readings over 26.

5:15 PM, I call Steve back and he informs me that he can pick for me this afternoon and Friday and also Saturday afternoon. That should be enough time to get in all the sauv blanc and zin.

8:00 PM, I find another problem or surprise: The raisined sauv blanc I am pressing on top of the regular S.B. is not showing that high a sugar. The overall sugar is about 26.5 Brix. 

11:00 PM, I decide to put the 30 gals or so of this newly pressed juice into the tank already pressed. Now I have an overall sugar in this tank of 22.2 Brix and a PH of 3.08. 

I am very happy with these numbers. This afternoon we will receive the rest of the Sauv Blanc. 

Now I have to pay bills. 

9:40 Pm As it was yesterday, Nothing ran according to plan. I had no time to pay bills and we did not receive sauv blanc.

Caterino wanted to pull leaves in the bottom sauv blanc ( thicker area) so we picked zin today and Caterino and his crew prepared for sauv blanc tomorrow. We had several problems today:

One problem was we could not open the press to empty the skins from yesterdays sauv blanc and then a more serious problem occurred: our scale stopped working. We need to have a scale in order to weigh Lambert Bridge's fruit and ours.

To be continued tomorrow

Friday September 6, 2002

I went to bed at 11:00 Pm and got up at 5:45 Am. I feel fine and I am ready for a new adventure. I will now continue with what happened yesterday:

Thursday, We got the press doors open after finding out that the bladder had not deflated and thus was putting pressure against the doors. One problem solved.

The scale was another matter. We tried everything and could not get it to work again. I called the company I had bought it from in 1995 and found out they were no longer in business. There is now only one company in Sonoma servicing scales. After a nice conversation they a guy in the town of Sonoma, I decided to buy a new scale. It's only money: $5700. I hope to see the scale by noon today.

We received about 3 tons of old vine zin yesterday (no scale to weigh) and the initial sugar readings were all over 24 brix. Brendan is now in checking the readings this morning to see if we need to add some water.

Friday 8:00AM Caterino and 7 pickers are now down picking Sauv Blanc for us. It looks like we will pick the rest for Julia Monday.


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