So, not only have we had the solar panel installation going on this last week, but most of our (meaning Dougie's!) spare time over the last fortnight has been taken up with the preparations for the grape harvest, followed by our first ever wine pressing. All exciting stuff!
A week before the grape harvest Dougie decides we should really have a good look at the wine press in the Cantina that we will be using for the grapes next week. Oops...perhaps we should have looked a bit earlier! A classic case, in true Reid style (for those of you who know us well) of 'why do something now, that can be put off until tomorrow?'. Until this point, we just hadn't been feeling enough pressure. One look at the spars and the top of the wine press riddled with wood worm, the pressure was now on!
Our press went from looking like this:
To looking like this...
...just 7 days before the harvest!
Luckily, we live a few hundred metres from a sawmill. It's run by two brothers, who I'm sure think of us as the crazy English family on the other side of the railway, but they are always very helpful and accommodating! Dougie takes up one of the spars and the two semi-circular pieces that do the actual pressing and they obligingly say yes, of course they can make us new ones. Now, making wine is a way of life round here, every man and his dog has their own little area of vines, so the brothers know full well that the grapes will be harvested any day...and the crazy English people decide that now is the time to re-build their press?!
The younger brother proceeds, in the rapidly fading daylight with no electric lighting on hand, to cut the pieces by sight, until Dougie says "it's ok, it can wait until Monday." One of the brothers has already lost at least half a finger in a 'work related incident'. We decided we didn't want another one on our conscience!!
Monday comes around, 5 days to go. Dougie goes to collect the pieces of the press at 6.00pm and they haven't been touched since he left them there on Saturday night! An hour and a half later though, all the bits are cut and ready. Now we just have to plane them all and screw them into place!
Tuesday, 4 days to go, and off to Santo Pasquale's (our invaluable Italian neighbour and wine making guru, without whom I'm not sure we would have made it this far on our Italian adventure). By the end of Wednesday our press goes from this:
...not bad, eh?
Wednesday, 3 days to go. Another few hours work and 120 new bolts later, the production line was complete! We could now say with reasonable certainty that we had the newest wine press in the Valley! My description of our situation at that time: All the gear, absolutely no idea!