Saturday, 20 October 2012

La Vendemmia (The Grape Harvest)

Grape harvesting is sooo important here in Italy that it even has its own word...La Vendemmia! 

And so the long awaited day of the Vendemmia arrived. On October 6th we carried out our first ever grape harvest in our own vineyard and because of the warmer than usual summer we harvested a week early.

After a lot of work over the last few months, including plenty of 6 o clock mornings by Dougie to beat the blazing summer sun in July and August(...slightly later for me as I really am no good in the mornings!), the day was finally here, and despite the running around like headless chickens in the preceding days, everything appeared to be ready. It was a real family affair, with the boys cutting the first bunches of grapes and my mum and dad roped in to do some of the donkey work!! While our adopted Italian dad and resident wine guru Pasquale told us all what we had to do. 

Before we started Pasquale said Dougie looked like an expectant father. Dougie's retort was "I'm much more nervous than that, I only waited for 9 months for each of the boys and I've waiting 6 years for this moment!" Thanks Dougie!

Between the five of us (plus two little ones) we took two and a half hours to cut and fill five 100L bins of grapes. What a beautiful sight it was when we had finished!

The grapes were transferred to the Cantina and after lunch the de-stalking machine arrived on the back of Pasquale's tractor. (At this point I should mention I have tried to upload my first piece of video footage here to show the machine in action - but without sophisticated technical team (me & dougie) are working on the problem!!!)

The Must
The pressing begins

Looks drinkable already!
The Leftovers!
Then for the moment of truth - the new press made its debut. The 'mosto', or must, was put through the wine press 3 times in the following 48 hours and then left to ferment in Dougie's shiny new 'Vinolio' until earlier this week. It has now been filtered and sealed and will be left to mature until the end of November when we will get our first taste of our own Montepulciano d'Abruzzo!!

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