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

Checking Those Sulfurs

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Sulfur Dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula SO2 and is responsible for the wording on wine labels “contains sulfites”.

One of the most important things to do in the wine making process is to make sure the sulfur is at the appropriate level in the wine. There are a few ways of checking this and I use the A/O method. I adjust my SO2 levels depending on the pH level in the wine. The test only takes 10 minutes per wine.

Here are a couple of reasons to add sulfur to wine:

First, it is a microbial agent which helps curtail unwanted bacteria growth. Second, it helps keeps the wine fresh and protects it from browning. We don’t want the sulfur levels too high though. That’s when you smell that burnt match smell. So it’s important to keep good notes and write down everything you do in your wine makers notebook.

Check out the 15 second instagram video



Passaggio Wines

The Day Finally Arrived!

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Passaggio Bottling 2012March 15th – Passaggio Wines on the calendar for bottling. The days leading up to this date were intense. Trying to coordinate getting all the packaging paraphernalia to the winery on time was quite a task not to mention getting the wine ready too. It actually came down to the wire. The capsules and corks were to arrive on the 14th. Two o’clock went by and the UPS driver had all ready dropped a package off at the winery and it wasn’t the capsules and corks for Passaggio Wines bottling. I immediately got on the phone to the company and they had me down as bottling on the 25th…oy vay!!! Needless to say, you can bottle without capsules, but you can’t bottle without corks!

The company realized their mistake and had the capsules and corks to me at 7am on the 15th. Now that’s cutting it close…geez!

The day went very smooth. I had wonderful friends who took part in this memorable occasion. It makes bottling more of a non stressful day when you have great people helping you get through it. Passaggio Wines bottled the 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rose Colored Glasses, and newly added to the line-up this year – Sauvignon Blanc.

Shout out to Dave Gifford, Chris Nelson, Justin Rose, and the Luna Sei group for all their help!!! You guys are awesome….



Passaggio Wines


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Video Apps – Trending

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Inner Wine Maker
Unleash Your Inner Wine Maker

There are so many new video apps to choose from…I am at a loss for which one is best. I thought I would let you choose for me. There are two new ones out. One is “Vine” and the other one “Cinemagram”

Passaggio Wines always tries to keep up with the latest things happening in social media. It is happening so fast these days that I am finding it harder and harder to keep up. Take a look at what I created from these two apps and let me know what you think. What do you think is trending…?– 

Vine (video1) – Unleash Your Inner Winemaker

Vine (video 2) – Food Pairing with Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay

Cinemagram – playing with Mattie


Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines

San Francisco Tasting Room – DogPatch & Passaggio

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Passaggio Tasting
DogPatch Tasting Room

Passaggio Wines is proud to announce it is now part of a tasting room in San Francisco. This is just one more step on the wonderful journey I have been on since 2004.  The tasting room is such a huge part of building the Passaggio brand.  For those who sell on-line only…I have been there. It is not easy. How do you entice others to buy your wines without tasting them? I have poured at events, special tastings, parties, etc. This is not an easy task to do, plus an expensive one, especially to those making small lots of wines.  We don’t have much to give away at first. We want to build our brands large enough to sustain us at least to the following harvest so we can make another vintage for you to enjoy. That’s what you call “passion”

For those who don’t know anything about the “Dogpatch” area of San Francisco, it has a rich history. The Dogpatch area was originally part of the Protrero Nuevo and closely tied to “Protrero Hill.” Dogpatch has its own neighborhood association. It shares merchant association, Democratic caucuses and general neighborhood matters with Protrero Hill.

The area was officially designated a historic district of San Francisco in 2002. The name originated mostly because of the packs of dogs that would run that neighborhood and scavenge discarded meats in Butchertown (a slaughterhouse district in BayView) This area survived the earthquake of 1906, therefore making its houses some of the oldest in the city dating from the 1860’s. The earliest immigrants were European factory workers. Over time, this area became more blue-collard and working class until its recent gentrification.

I have come to the part of my journey where I can pour for you in a tasting room so you can enjoy the fruits of my labor (no pun intended). So you can say to your friends and family “Hey, have you tried those Passaggio Wines? I know of a tasting room where you can find them. You are going to love them…”

I hope to see you at the tasting room. You can find me topping barrels, running wine analysis, or just sitting quietly on the beautiful leather sofa in the tasting room area.

You can find DogPatch Wine Works at 2455 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.

The hours are: Thursday: 4pm – 8pm
Friday: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday: 12pm – 7pm
Sunday: 12pm – 5pm


Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines

Wine and Food Pairing Guide

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Wine and Food Pairing eBook
Wine and Food Pairing eBook


As part of our daily survival, we all know what we like and don’t like when it comes to food. Why? Because our our sense of smell and our sense of taste tell us. To a certain degree, so does our sense of sight. When you become a winemaker, these senses take over again and tell you when your wine is great or when it’s not quite right. This mini-course aims to help you combine the two together – your love of food and knowing what you like and don’t like together with your love of wine for the same reasons. You will find eight chapters:

• Part 1 (The Basics)
• Part 1 (The Basics)
• Part 2 (Beef, Lamb & Pork)
• Part 3 (Chicken, Goose & Duck)
• Part 4 (Barbecue)
• Part 5 (Fish & Shellfish)
• Part 6 (Cheese)
• Part 7 (Chocolate)
• Part 8 (Christmas)
• One Final Chart

Shall we get started? 

Subscribe to the Passaggio Wines Newsletter and receive this Wine and Food Pairing Guide free eBook.


Cynthia Cosco

Passaggio Wines


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The Biscotti Cookie

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biscottiI hope you’re not tired of cookies already!!!

The holidays are behind us and the new year has just begun.  I am still in the baking mood so I wanted to share a special recipe with you that I posted in 2009…it has since evolved into  Passaggio Passionistas Biscotti

Let’s get started.

Passaggio Passionistas Biscotti

The Biscotti cookie was traditionally made for dunking in wine. (but you can dunk it in whatever you like)

Ingredients needed:
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4/cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (I use lightly salted)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons reduced Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place almonds in shallow pan – bake until golden brown (usually about 8-10min) Let cool.
Reduce about 1 cup of Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay – set aside to cool
In mixing bowl cream your butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest. Add your reduced Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Add this to your cream mixture until blended. Cut your almonds into halves or thirds and fold into mixture.

Divide your dough in half and place on greased and floured baking sheet. Using floured hands, shape the dough into logs about 1/2 inch thick, about 1 1/2 inched wide and 12 inches long. Place pan on middle rack and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Take logs and place on rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife slice diagonally (45 degree angle) about 1/2 inch thick. Lay your cookies flat on the baking pan and place back in the oven for about 10 minutes (watch closely) turning them once. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.

This recipe usually makes about 3 dozen cookies. I store mine in a cookie tin.

I like dipping mine in a glass of Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay. You may find them delightful dipped in a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or even with champagne. Sit back, relax, and enjoy with Lunch Break...


Passaggio Wines