Dreams can chase you just as easily as you can chase them. When you realize that they’ve become a nagging voice in your head, it’s usually time to take action. Longtime winemaker David Coventry (formerly of Morgan, De Tierra and Puma Road), who currently consults with Blair, Boete, Leal, Manzoni and Silvestri, had been wanting for years to open his own custom crush facility.
The right space finally came along, just off the freeway on Brunken in downtown Salinas. It is literally right around the corner from where Covent used to work at Morgan.
He’d been talking about doing this for years. “It was finally time to take the plunge,” he says. With some necessary drain and electrical work, he hopes to have the custom crush facility, which he will call Coventry Custom Crush, open by the middle of April. Clients Blair and Manzoni will move in immediately.
He figures on a 10k case capacity, and is welcoming clients with two barrels up to 100, from 1 ton to 40, who are interested in pursuing the art of winemaking in a wholesome, well-outfitted environment.
Small, new wineries often cannot find the right equipment and the proper winemaking conditions to make the best possible wine. Plus, they don’t have access to the advice and bag of tricks that can only be learned by doing. Coventry considers this an incubator for small to medium-sized wineries looking for support and direction. His goal is to provide the necessary guidance to winemakers to help “increase the chance of success and decrease the chance of failure.”
Coventry refers to project as a “Flavor Research Center,” carrying on his 20 years of experience in winemaking. His traditional approach has always been to let each vineyard have its own voice, and to let every grape have its day in the sun.
Says Coventry, “We try and get the best flavor out of every vineyard. We only get one chance a year to practice the craft, and every grape is precious.”
Coventry, whose first winemaking gig was at the storied Chalone property long before it sold to Diageo in 2004, first worked there as an enologist, putting his Biology major with minor in Chemistry from UC Santa Cruz to good use. He worked with winemakers Dan Karlsen and Michael Michaud, discovering his lifelong passion to make wines of place.
He went on to work at Morgan (2002 – 2005), and enjoyed the distinction of being the only winemaker with two wines on the 2003 Wine Spectator Top 100 list. Morgan was also named San Francisco Chronicle Winery of the Year in 2003.
Coventry’s golden stint at De Tierra (2005 – 2010), resulting in being named Winery of the Year 2010 by the San Francisco International Wine Competition, with over 12 Gold, Double Gold and Platinum medals in the year 2010 alone.
Coventry, who serves on the board of directors for the Monterey Vintners & Growers Association believes his new venture will be good for Monterey County’s wine industry.
“Monterey County needs more small wineries,” Coventry sayas. “The big wineries bring attention; the small ones bring greatness. I want to bring more great wine to the world!”
This is a concept to which we can all heartily raise a glass of Monterey wine.
Coventry Custom Crush • 607 Brunken Ave., Salinas • 831.214.6871
Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.