| Tuesday March 14, 2017
The last two week ends of the Wine Road barrel tasting event was a great success so we are now in to thinking about our 2017 pre-harvest futures offer. We should have the form set up by March 29. We will be offering less types of wine but we still will not be raising prices. Actually we will offer 2017 Dave's Cuvee for $11 a bottle and as low as $7 for Club members who purchase a whole case. Of course we also will be working on our Club shipment which will go out April 10. Club members should see info on the club on about March 27. Now I am going to talk about the amazing day back in November, 1978 that changed my life forever........
Back in 1969 I discovered high end Cabernet and Bordeaux. In 1972 I quit my job as a banker and started playing the stock market full time. I made a modest profit and survived throughout the 70's. In 1971 I had purchased a house up 120 stairs in Fairfax for $14,000. I was told the owner would have sold for $11,000 because he was desperate, no one wanted a house up 120 uneven stairs. By 1978 I had enough Bordeaux and other Napa Cabernet wines to have one bottle every night for over 3 years. Pat and I took a trip down to the Central Coast in 1978 and I told my broker to not invest in anything unless it was a sure thing. I had about $60,000 all in cash. I even had control of some family and friends money so I could go on margin. The broker did invest most of my money and others into Advanced Micro Devices, a small thriving company. Unfortunately for me the company reported disappointing earnings, stock went down by about 30% and I lost most of my money. I had to protect my Family and friends money so I decided to sell my house in Fairfax California and pursue a more stable way of surviving. This tragedy turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
One day on a sunny November in 1978, I decided to take a
trip to the Wine Country and see what opportunities
existed. I was told by a friend to see a real estate
broker in the town of Sonoma. The broker said I should go
up to Santa Rosa and visit Rich Thomas at the Junior
College. He was teaching viticulture and might have some
advice. Even though I was really into high end wines I did
not know of small vineyards. I thought all vineyards were
owned by the wineries. It took me about 30 minutes to
drive up to Santa Rosa and another 15 minutes to find out
where to find Rich Thomas. I stepped into his office in
the early afternoon and he was about to walk out. I
convinced him to stay awhile and that 15 or so minutes
changed my life. I was told later, the chance of finding
Rich in his office without an appointment was almost
Rich suggested I go up to a small Real Estate office in
Healdsburg and think about purchasing a vineyard and
selling grapes. I had no idea where Healdsburg was and I
had only been to Santa Rosa once before that day. I walked
into Mid Town Reality at about 2pm or so and was escorted
to a young man named Dave Hastings. Within 30 minutes I
was whisked up to this very Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley.
We went into a small 1100 square foot house and also down
to a basement under the house which had about 18 inches of
standing water. I took a quick look in and immediately
knew this would be a perfect wine cellar for my 1200
bottles of high end wine. (I already had a pump which was
purchased in Fairfax because of the drought in 1976 and
1977. I had used the pump to move soapy water from our
washes up to my vegetable garden.)
As we left, Dave Hastings pointed up to the sky, a large
flock of hundreds of Starling birds covered the sky over
the whole 20 acre vineyard in a black maze, squeaking in
joy. It was an unbelievable day.
I became a grape grower for a living. Pat helped by
working at a local law firm which paid for our groceries
and vineyard costs. The grape sales paid for the debt
service. I did all the work, except the actual picking of
the grapes. The whole property is about 25 acres and as
some of you know there has been a lot of changes since I
took possession in March 22, 1979. It took 4 months from
that memorable day in November to convince the previous
owners and also the long time owner before them who
carried the first mortgage, that I was the right person to
purchase this amazing property. In March 1979, 93 Taylor
Drive in Fairfax California was the lowest house to sell
in Marin County in years, $73,000. It took me a month to
find another person willing to climb up 120
stairs........After selling the house I had $70,000 to put
down and this whole property cost $240,500. I owed
$170,500 and no money left in the bank. The rest is
history? Oh no, the rest has not been easy but I love what
I do. At some point I should talk about the first 15 years
here as an amateur winemaker and grower before I started
the winery in 1994........
So on March 22 1979, I had an ace in the whole, Joe Nunes a grower of Ruby Cabernet in Modesto. He sold his grapes to Gallo for about $125 a ton then. He knew how to drive a tractor. At soon to be 35 years old, I had never been on a tractor so Joe, Pat's Father, stepped on a tractor that was left here and drove down a row of grape vines. I watched him and learned how to duplicate what he did, wow he moved the levers on the tractor back and forth and moved through a 7ft x 7ft vineyard. The vines here are still to this day only about 56 inches a part if you include the growth from over 100 years. The tractor that day back in 1979 was 52 inches wide. Now we have a tractor which is only 48 inches wide so we still have to be careful not to knock off arms of the vines.
Catarino told me yesterday he heard about a tractor which is only 36 inches wide. At Harvest this new tractor, if I choose to purchase will help us at harvest time. We need a narrow tractor so we can move through the vineyard without hitting the fruit. Sure we are not driving fast and our other 52 inch wide tractor has an enclosed Cab with air conditioning, if Catarino remembers or even has time to turn on the air...........so a more narrow tractor may not be necessary, but I like spending money.
Thursday March 16, 2017
I finished the preliminary line up for our 2017 Pre-Harvest Futures. I will have a copy to see next week. You will see there will be exclusive Dave's Wine Club wines including Syrah and Mourvedre..........
Yesterday I went off to Costco again. I was just there last week but I decided to see what my eyes see. I went to an optometrist who I have seen for over 20 years but not for 5 years. I went to my eye doctor I respect recently and so I gave his optometrist a chance but I suspect the person there had not as much experience and I am not happy with the new driving glasses I have now. I am one of those who can see specs on my gasses even in small amounts so if the prescription is off slightly it bothers me. I want to have good glasses that are up to date for my eyesight. Pat and I are heading up to Jasper soon, a trip of over 3400 miles in my Tesla Model 90D. This will be my last big adventure in my model s, and fortunately the best ever adventure...............
As some of you know I was in to Elvis and other artists who got started on Sun so take look at a new show...........
Sunday March 19, 2017
I had a customer call the other day and complain about a lot of sediment in the bottom of a bottle of 2013 Aglianico. I must admit I was rude to her and questioned the amount she saw. Last night I did open and look at the bottom of a 2013 Aglianico and there is some tartrates in the bottom of the bottle. Those tartrates will not hurt you and it looks like there may be a tablespoon. Unless a wine is cold stabilized, even red, it will throw some sediment, tartaric crystals. Matt in the last two years did not stabilize our 2013 and 2014 wines. He said he thought they were stable and would not settle anything. To stabilize correctly, the wine has to be chilled down to 24 degrees for several days. With screwcaps, bottles should be stored upright and if some sediment does deposit, it will fall to the bottom of the bottle. The last tablespoon or so can be filtered or just dumped out. I have told Josh, our new cellarmaster to chill our newly racked 2016 wines down to 20 degrees. As most of you know if you put a bottle of liquor in a freezer the wine will not freeze. Alcohol at 15%, most of our wines, will not freeze unless kept at 18 degrees. I want to make sure I do not lose another wine club member.
Tuesday March 21, 2017 First day of Spring
Today we started racking our 2016 wines again. I have been starting to figure out how many cases we will be bottling in July and then 6 months later in January. Like I said I want to make less types of wine so we have more room in our storage building. Soon I will let you know my decision.
This next part is weird but I can't get this out of my mind..........this is my dairy
So a few times I have talked about the past..............
Recently I have been thinking about many of my past times. These two times I forgot about and now all of a sudden, they have popped into my mind, why?..............
One time back in about 1965, I was in a statistics class at City College of San Francisco and this one guy and I would talk back and forth to see who could guess the answer. Statistics was easy for him and I so one time I mentioned: "I thought about this thing that happened to me several years ago and it just popped back in my mind for no reason". He was amazed because things like that didn't happen to him. He said he had trouble even remembering things from the past and certainly not just pop in his mind for no reason. That guy was better than I at statistics. He impressed me and I am sure he went on to great things. I don't know why I am even mentioning this. Is it because it just popped into mind for no reason?
So another thing keeps popping in my mind for no reason? Like I said back in the 70's I lived in a house in Fairfax, California up 120 stairs. I tried to find a way to bypass the stairs by finding a way from up beyond my property on a hill. So I walked up the hill until it became flat and I even looked up the records to see who owned the properties. I found a gate locked. I checked it out and found it was a gate put in by the fire department and I even could get the key. This had to be in 1977 or 1978 just before I had to sell the property. I was determined to get an easement from one or more of the property owners to put in a road and access my property from above. It was a pipe dream but I was pursuing it. One day I saw a guy who owned a property and nice house beyond the fire gate and he invited us for a lunch. His house was easy to drive to because it was on a nice paved street just before you get into town. I don't know why but lately one thing about that day keeps popping in my head, for no reason? He cooked hamburgers and even to this day I never seen anyone cook them perfectly so easily. I have tried and almost always fail! He cooked the hamburgers to medium so easily. Why would I have this keep popping in my head after all these years? Seriously I can be just thinking about something to do with the winery and one or both of these things just pop up.
Wednesday March 22, 2017
So Pat is off to Scottsdale visiting her sister, Janie and Tim, so I can eat what I want. I had fried gizzards last night and fried Razor Clams tonight.
I went off to the dentist today so that is fine, I love dentists, they make me enjoy food, now I need another crown...........
When I got home Ken and I put up a new projector. Here is a review of it:
It is an amazing projector that sits only 18 inches from the 10 foot screen and only 10 inches below. It took us well over an hour to get it to look OK. Our 10 foot wide screen on the wall at the end of our winery does not sit perfectly against he wall, it has wrinkles in it. I didn't notice it as much with our other projector which sits 20 feet away above the screen. This new Viewsonic is very sensitive. By moving it one inch can completely through it off since it is so close to the screen. We finally got it set up to our liking and the color is amazing even with a lot of lights on. Our other projector lamp had to be replaced so I figured it was time for a new one. The lamp in the new one is rated at 15,000 hours so it should be good for over 10 years.............
Birds, I love spring and I hope to see Dri and Brad soon, I miss them. I also miss Duane, it was nice to see him. It is more important to talk about birds. Dri loves birds!! Most of you, I guess do not see nests around your home? I do every year so it is huge, Assume, Great..............little birds outside, it is raining so they are trying to keep dry and wait for their mother who is off trying to find food. Every year birds come back here in March and try to survive. Obviously the Mother remembers her last trip here about a year ago. I go outside now and hear their nice cries for food. It was raining so I hope their Mother is successful. Dri is there something I can put outside for them to enjoy?.................
7:30 Pm: It is still light, I love this time of year, Spring is by far my favorite time of year...........I just went out side for my espresso and such. I see my cats are out watching the new birds. I see the new mother has brought them out to a spot I can't see, interesting.........I hope she keeps her new ones safe. My cats are not interested in food tonight so they are having a good time.
For any comments or questions I encourage any of you to e-mail.....email@example.com
Home | Read | Diary | Tell Us What You Think of Our Diary | Last Week | Next Week