Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vendemmia 2008

It isn't about making an award winning wine or competing with any commercial offering.. it's about tradition. The grape harvest and making of the years wine was, and still is my husband's favourite time of year.

He graduated from form to form in the school of home winemaking under the close and watchful eye of his father and uncles. After keeping the bees and wasps at bay as a youngster, he was soon designated to the task of opening the cases of grapes. A few years older and stronger, he carried cases (36-42 lbs) to the crusher and later, proudly helped out with the turning of the torchio (the press).

Nowadays homewinemaking shops abound. You can find wine kits and sterilised juice from all over the winemaking world.. bring the juice to temperature, pitch some yeast and ecco fatto!

But what do we do?

We keep the tradition. We get up very early. There are a few growers around that will allow the harvest of your 'own' grapes (there are also many that will allow you to participate in their harvest) for home winemaking, so we make a few trips to the vineyards over the course of the year and again to pick up the grapes. Then the all day business of crushing, pressing the white grapes (riesling this year) and destemming (by hand) the remaining red begins.

Depending on the weather, the next few days (as the must comes up to temperature) can be somewhat distressing as we make more wine than is logistically possible for us to handle with any real control. We are at the mercy of Baccus and hope that San Martino sends us some manageable weather.

It is a bizzare ritual of worry taking a few weeks to finish. Grapes are pressed midway and the skins saved for, well, that's another post.. Once fermentation is complete, the crude wine is racked (clarified by transferring to clean vessels - demis or carboys) and placed in the cantina. Then it undergoes much the same process as in any biodynamic winery, rackings only proceed when the moon is favourable.

As I write, my nails and fingertips are still faintly purple.. but will likely post this closer to, if not after, San Martino, the Feast of the New Wine.

cheers!

October 6, 2008

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