Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bris type optimism in the vineyard at Nascondiglio di Bacco

30 Maggio
I am sure everyone knows about the joke concerning circumcision displaying the parents' optimism by allowing the removal of 20% before they know what he's got.   We are doing the same thing here at Nascondiglio di Bacco.  We are removing about half of the vines' branches to arrive at 5-7 which will put all the energy of the vine into those remaining branches and grapes and hopefully force a young 3 year old vine to make something a bit better and more complex.   We have flowering in the Pecorino-May 25 and Merlot-May 25-26 and Cabernet Franc-May 27 and Petit Verdot-May 28-29, one clone of Cab Sauv. May 28 and await flowering in the other 2 clones of Sauv and the Syrah and Montepulciano.  Also, the olive trees are flowering, we have a new litter of cats which has hidden in our out building, new baby pheasants in the land I left uncleared, new starlings in the roof tiles, strawberries etc... It is Spring fever here!  Oh, I should also say the spring has not been so good for the mice in my compost pile for obvious reasons..  Sorry if one of you was a future chef!

Cascata della marmora, 400th post

30 Maggio,
Remiss as usual with posting new stuff, but here is a photo spread of the beautiful waterfall in Umbria about an hour and a half (the way I drive) from Nascondiglio di Bacco.  I arrived one beautiful Monday morning to find it "turned off".  As Smirnoff would say, "What a country!"  I can't imagine arriving at Yosemite Falls, eg, and find myself waiting  2 hours for them to turn on the tap.  Anyway,  I have to say, it was cool to see the falls before and after they opened the dam upstream.  Here are some pictures and I will add, the falls is always "on" in summer.  It would be a nice day trip to have a picnic or to include with an excursion to Norcia or Castelluccio.  They offer 5 hiking trails, including one through a botanical garden and each has special views of the waterfall, flora and fauna.  Here is the series of events starting at 10 AM and finishing at 12:15.  The light would be better near sunset for photos, I hit the worst possible time with the sun overhead.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We have walls, 15 hours of weedeating and spring flowers

18 Maggio
Happy Birthday to my old classmate Rebecca today.  Here are the pictures of our construction project and some of my roses which are outnumbering the beetles which eat them each year.  I weedate (invented word of the day) for 5 hours yesterday and 7 today and Raffaele threw in his 3 hours yesterday to clean out the grasses and weeds under the olive trees which we have been ignoring because of the vineyard work.  They need love too, so now they can breathe again.

As you can see from the construction pix, we have a window on the southwest wall of the winery.  This is the floor which will be underground almost to this window, so there is a lot of dirt pushing yet to complete after this phase.  

I changed jobs because of the recent rains we received, but need to get back into the vineyard for another spraying as soon as the wheeled tractor can handle it.  We had lots of input on tractors prior to buying one with tires and all the old guys recommended a tank track tractor while the younger ones said wheeled would be better.  Pros and cons aside, with the grass seed I sowed last year, the tires are getting more traction and we seem to be in good shape.
Finally, my peaches and cream corn seeds are sprouting and I wanted to throw in a picture of my artichokes and our merlot grapevines.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cantina update, pool is open, happy bd Giorgio

10 Maggio
Lazy butt is back with a couple of photos of our progress about a week apart, the news that the swimming pool is open and seems to be functioning and an ugly view of one of my gloves which finally outgrew its duct tape patches.
The first bill for the construction came in this weekend about the same time the dollar hit a 1 year high against the euro, thank you god (little "g" god).   Like buying a stock at its nadir, I got lucky on this one and transferred money friday to pay for our little investment.
Come to europe now while Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy are weighing down the value of the euro!
We had 8 english speakers this weekend, with 6 americans and 2 from the Netherlands.  The season is beginning and now is a really wonderful time to visit along with September and October.
Tomorrow I will spray the vineyard for the 2nd time with sulfur and copper to prevent the various mildews which were imported from america 150 years ago.  It was in revenge for the europeans exporting the starling to us.  I think we came out on the worse end of the bargain.
Bacco is recovering from a little surgery to remove a pyodermic granuloma.  The vet was nice enough to take it off the same day I took him in although I really wanted to do it myself.  I don't think she could have held him down as I did for the local anesthetic.  He took 2 days to forgive me.
I have planted the peaches and cream corn seeds I imported and the little shoots are coming up!  If I didn't mention this before, corn on the cob in Italy is feed corn back home... horrible!
I took my midterm exam for the UCD viticulture and winemaking intro course Friday and await my grade.
That's about all the news fit to print.
Buon compleanno al mio amico Giorgio!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

An american in Ascoli, construction update, pollinators of Nascondiglio di Bacco

2 Maggio
The week in pictures (also 2 weeks)
Let me introduce you to Brian Hannon, a man who has lived in almost all the midwest states that start with "I" before moving to Boulder Colorado, marrying an italian and then transferring to northern Italy and now Ascoli Piceno, where I discovered his bike shop.  He got me a trainer which I have been riding in my room, trying to get fit enough for these marchigiani hills.  Notice the Steamboat sticker behind him.  As I miss my place in Colorado, I wondered if he suffered from that as well and he responded in the affirmative,  adding that his wife missed Boulder more than him.   All my local friends need to check out his shop on the western edge outside the Porta Romana near the circonvolazione.
The construction is coming along and we have finished the iron works for the pad and poured concrete to a current depth of 70cm. with 20 to go for the floor.  Raffaele and I put in our good luck charms, mine pagan, an empty bottle of Ch. Petrus which Bill Ross brought over on his last visit, in hopes we can make some really good wine as well.  Raffaele covered the religious side of things with a prayer, cross and other icons in an Acquarello can (the best risotto and available in the USA)
Next we have some of the bees and insects which are buzzing about the place and pollinating various lavender and other flowering plants.
I am trying to get the weeds in the rows under control, which is almost a lost cause and we are still stripping the vines of the buds below the 1st wire, which steal energy from the plant.
More of the same coming up in the next 2 weeks.  Happy May everyone! dds