David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 49 - 52
December 17, 2006 December 31, 2006 

Tuesday December 19, 2006

I am one of many who can evaluate a wine after my palate warms up. You can take this two ways: I spit or I don't!! I do not spit! I do not like tasting wine in the afternoon. I get sleepy. I have never volunteered to be in a commercial wine tasting. I am sure I would be welcomed, but I cannot evaluate a wine by spitting! I want to taste a wine from beginning to end. The finish of a wine is important to me. I want to swallow a small amount of wine so I can make up my mind about the quality. I could not judge accurately if I spit. Wine judges must spit. Several times a year I go out to the winery in the evening and taste out of the barrel. I am amazed how much character I can get out of these barrel samples. Last night I tasted the cabs again and I am happy to report that our new cabernet from our vineyard is the best cabernet this year. I only have two barrels, but it will go either into the Aca Modot or the Dry Creek Cabernet. 

I made my decision. I just ordered 800 vines of Pinot Noir from a nursery. I also ordered 500 vines of Cabernet Franc. We are pulling out an acre of vines (700 Zin and 600 Petite Sirah) from our problem section near the pond. We have been having problems getting the fruit ripe in this area. Also the quality has been disappointing. I believe the soil could be the problem so by planting Pinot which ripens early, we should be able to obtain a high sugar level. Since we will most likely harvest at the end of August the acid in the grapes should be great. My experience with producing Pinot Noir wine from Russian River and Bennett Valley is that the acid levels fall off because it takes so long to ripen this fruit in these colder areas. I don't believe Pinot has to be grown in a cool area. I could be wrong so we will see. I should be able to produce about 200 cases. The Cabernet Franc will eventually go into our Aca Modot blend.

Saturday December 23, 2006

I finished balancing my check book several days ago. It was much easier than I thought. I then started thinking about which wines I will make this coming year. I also finished making up my cashflow statement for next year. In the next few days I will finish my excel statement that will set up our blending which starts January 3rd. 

OK, so what have I decided for next year. Well first of all I will not be raising my wine bottle prices. We have many cases of 2005 and 2006 wines to sell. We have no 2004 wine left. In 2007 it looks like I will produce about 3700 cases. We are selling about 5000 cases now so we should be able to catch up and have no 2005 wine left in two years. The great news is that the 2005 and 2006 vintages are outstanding. I am seriously thinking about lowering my bottle prices for the 2006 wines when they are released in August. That will mean I probably will not raise my futures prices again for the 2006 vintage. I know I said my costs are up and probably as much as 50 cents a bottle. BUT in the last two years we have been selling more wine so the cash flow has been good. I am working on a new cost per bottle and I will explain more soon. I will have more to say about Wine Guerrilla next time.

Monday Christmas Day, 2006

Merry Christmas!! I hope everyone will have a great day. We are having friends and family over amounting to a dinner of 18 people including are immediate family. I am barbecuing a 25 pound turkey and also having a great Russian dish of marinated lamb (Onions and lemon). 

The Wine Guerrilla has decided to make more wine here. That means we will produce and bottle as much as 2000 cases of that label. I love making wine so I am happy to help Bruce out. In the future we may produce about 4000 cases for the David Coffaro label and 2000 cases for the Wine Guerrilla label. Bruce is very happy with the Price Family Vineyard so if you like our 2005 Price Zin you can purchase a similar wine starting with the 2006 vintage through the Wine Guerrilla.

Our cost to produce a bottle of wine continues to be about $8.50, but when I consider all the living expenses that it takes to run this property, the overall cost is closer to $11. That does not include all the equipment I have purchased in the last several years. With the cost of the equipment included we are breaking even. If I can stop purchasing new equipment I should finally be able to put money in the bank. I love spending money so we will see. BUT the bottom line is we will not be raising prices. We will however be charging sales tax on shipped wine to certain states when we become compliant in those states. I'll have more news on compliance in the future.

Happy New Year!!


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