If you read my previous post Grape Harvest and Winemaking you will know that it came as something of a surprise to us to find ourselves making wine this Autumn.
On Friday morning the fifteenth of October, after the grape pulp had been fermenting for just over four days we went next door to our neighbours to continue our lesson in wine making, the Italian country way. It is actually an extremely straight forward and simple process, certainly for the white wine that we are making with no artificial additives what so ever.
The first two pictures show our barrels, with the fermentation now at the stage where the barrels were about to overflow it was time to drain the liquid off from the pulp and transfer it into our wine making demi johns.
Just some our neighbours white wine fermenting in barrels.
Of which luckily there were loads still in our cellar, good job we did not clear out completely when we moved in! First we had to get the wine home to our own Cantina, the room above our cellar, which B and A actually refer to as our ‘Tinaio’ which I cannot find in any of our Italian dictionaries. This word even confused Google Translate, although I know that is not actually difficult to do, providing no translation at all. Someone somewhere might be able to translate this for us, the word is obviously in local usage still as even our geometra used it when drawing up the plans for the house during renovation! Anyway it is a very useful storage room where we store any produce in jars, fruit and vegetables are overwintered, plus we keep a freezer and a gas burner where we prepare large scale preparation of fruit and vegetables for bottling and jams etc. When we moved to Italy we had no idea that we would be going back in time a generation to a way of life that was normal to our parents and a novelty we soon abandoned when we first married in the early seventies!
Anyway I digress, to transfer the wine we used 20 litre sized plastic water carrier style containers and then transferred it again into the largest green glass demi johns from our cellar. We were shown and told how important it is to keep these bottles completely full, some top up liquid having been saved in smaller bottles just for this purpose. While this fermenting process is going on it is very important to cover but not seal the bottles, otherwise they will explode. We were told most specifically that the wine will be ready for sealing on St Martins Day, which I now know having checked the calendar is November 11th. We will be guided through that process and in the meantime kept an eye on to make sure we are topping up the liquid in the demi johns on a daily basis. I assume that we will then be told to prepare for bottling.
Pulp left after draining.
The last three photos are back home in our ‘tinaio’ where we transferred the wine into our demi-johns.
After our wine making lesson for the day, we were joined by B and A to help us harvest the last of our apples, as in return for the grapes they have agreed to take some of our surplus apples. Apples,Apples,Apples This is good news as we hate seeing them go to waste and even better they have taken not just the last apples from the trees but also all the windfalls. Which along with any damaged apples will be fed to the pig that is already here being fattened up ready for January. What happens in January you may ask, why the Annual Pig Celebration Lunch Annual Pig Celebration Lunch of course!
Life is still lived very much by the seasons using produce that the land and their hard work provides for this kind Italian couple. Without a doubt they are not unusual here, there are very many families all over Italy that still live this type of life controlled by the rhythm of the seasons.
I have only posted a selection of photos from the Winemaking Process in these posts, if you are interested in viewing the full album at Flickr please visit, Grape Harvest 2010.