How many people fantasize about living in Italy and owning a vineyard? Our house came with two rows of grape vines containing 55 plants. I honestly had not thought that these vines would produce a significant amount of grapes to produce a significant amount of wine. However, when I queried our caretaker about this and he indicated that the yield from these vines would be 100-125 bottles we jumped at the idea of a harvest.
And yet, it is not enough to be able to harvest the grapes. You also need to transform those plump purple orbs into wine, and off course, we had no experience or knowledge how to accomplish this seemingly magical feat. Cue our intrepid caretaker, Stefano, who immediately contacted a friend with not only the knowledge but the equipment to make this dream a reality. It was just like the captivating novel, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle when the intrepid couple had to hastily pick their grapes due to the imminent threat of bad weather. Stefano urged us to begin the harvest as quickly as we could as rain was expected so the next day we were in the field, scissors in hand, harvesting the ripe grapes. The red plastic bins quickly filled up with the succulent fruit which was then placed in the truck and transported to the cantina. Here the grapes were separated from the stems, pressed in an oak barrel whereafter the juice ran into the boîte and was left to ferment.
We are told that the grapes consist of four different types from the Umbria region: Trebbiano and Malvasia (which are used to make vin santo) Orvieto and Aleatico which is a red grape characterized by the aroma of roses.
When we return in the spring, we should literally be able to taste the fruits of our labor.
Our bounty of grapes
Stems and leaves separated from grapes
Turning the press to extract juice