7 Habits of Highly Effective Winemakers

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These are some of my thoughts on the Habits of Highly Effective Winemakers – I would love to hear some of yours!!

1) Keep a notebook – write it down: these days, when you say notebook, you could be talking about a couple of things.  A notebook to me is the one with paper in it.  A notebook to someone quite younger may be a Mac Pro.  Either one is great for keeping notes.  You may think you’ll remember something, but in my experience, I always forgot what I wanted so much to remember.

2) Taste, Taste, Taste – yeah, I know it’s a great job…but someone has to do it…LOL  Tasting the juice all the way through fermentation through aging is a must. (no pun intended)  Don’t be surprised when the winemaker comes to your house and asks for a beer…

3) Stay up on new research, new technology, and new equipment – Things change every day.  Modern technology is changing very quickly and we need to keep up with it.  We should never be afraid to try new things.

4) Never be afraid to ask –

5) Source great fruit –

6) Stay focused –

7) Have fun – I have always said that if the winemaker is not happy or always in a bad mood, they will not make good wine…

after tank cleaning


Cindy Cosco
Passaggio Wines

Street Sweeper, Wine Maker, Football Coach

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Alabama vs Notre Dame – what a game!!! Congratulations to Alabama for winning the National Title! Congratulations to coach Saban for another great year.


In a recent interview with coach Saban he was asked “Why do you do what you do? Are you driven to be the best at what you do?” Saban answered “…and you’ve probably heard this sermon, and I’m just paraphrasing here, but if you’re going to be a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be. Sweep the streets like  Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, Like Shakespeare wrote literature. Let them put a sign up right here that says “the best street sweeper in the world lives right here.” And if you can do that, you do the best there is in life, knowing you did your best to be the best you could be, no matter what you choose to do. That’s why. Because there’s no better feeling than knowing you did the best you could be. I don’t care if it’s what you do, what I do, what the street sweeper does. It really doesn’t matter. It’s not all about results.”

wow…enough said right there…

I love opening a bottle of Passaggio Wines knowing that it’s the best wine I could have made that year….that I did everything I could to bring the best wine from those grapes to the table for you to enjoy.  The joy in knowing that I did the best I could do makes it all worth it when I pop the cork and pour a glass to enjoy.  I am a wine maker.  I love what I do…it’s all about doing what you love and following your passion.

What’s Your Passion

Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines

Sled Racing (not really!!)

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Guess what I did while in Virginia for the holidays…?  Virtual sled riding!!!  This is the only time you will see me on a sled…LOL  The characters in this short film are my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and my 15 month old grandson…oh and I’m the one in green.  We had a blast!!!   Winemakers love to have fun 😉

Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines


A Slingshot to Passion

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If you haven’t had a Tinhorn Creek Wine you have been missing out. Winemaker for Tinhorn Creek, Sandra Oldfield, talks to us about how she found her passion.

Following My Passion
Sandra Oldfield

Sandra and her sdopted daughter Melody 2005

I was not raised with wine in the house. My father was not a winemaker. There were not 7 generations stretching back to the “the old country” that handed their knowledge down to me. I never worked the land or grew up on a farm.

I backed into the wine industry as a diversion from a relationship gone bad.

If you go to work at a winery and find yourself staying later than you’re scheduled for, not taking lunch breaks, absorbing every tidbit of information you can glean–you may have to recognize you’ve found a career that is right for you. Even if you already have a degree in business. Even if you’ve never taken a college science class in your life. Even if your parents think you’re whacked. Even if you are on the rebound.

My passion for wine was carved out by myself. It was not handed to me. It led me to 2 ½ years of Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, and Biology classes in between working one full time job and one part time job in the wine industry. It led me to the Master’s Program at the University of California Davis. Once there, it opened up a world of learning that I could take to any level of my choosing—and I sucked the marrow out my two years in the program. I learned that a little bit of knowledge leads to a universe of knowledge yet unknown. I was treated as an equal by professors who I had only read about and admired for their lifetime’s work. Idolized. I also learned what it was like to attend a real college party—two or three times a week!

My passion for wine led me to my husband.

A Canadian studying viticulture at Davis, starting a new venture in some place called the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. It pulled me North. Away from my home and my family and the only life I had ever known. Away from my colleagues in the wine industry and away from my mentors and classmates. Away from my support network.

My passion for wine was now intertwined with a new life where I was once again very much on my own. Working through what would work and what would not work based on trial and error. Learning the rhythms of nature and seasons and weather. Walking row after row in our 130 acres of estate grapes to get a sense of place. Learning not only how to be managed but how to manage others. Employee after employee, consumer after consumer, and friend after friend, I began to build a new house of support. A new network of interactions. Not a home I had been given but one I had built myself.

A rebound that turned out to be a slingshot to a new life.

Posted by Passaggio Wines