Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Italian vs. AZ immigration rules, Nocino, ongoing driver's license struggles, winery construction update

30 Giugno

The winery construction is coming along and the roof of the functioning part of the winery, which is the floor of the tasting and sales area is drying and they should be able to take the supports away by next week.  That will leave the lower space open for the installation of the refrigeration system and the electrical works.  So far, we are just a few days behind our tight schedule.
I have now failed the driver's license test twice, which means I had to pay again and re-apply, but I have to have some sort of license and they give me a patente rosa which is my legal paper to drive until I take the test again.  The 1st time I missed 6, this time 5 and only 4 are allowed for a passing grade.  It is a bit frustrating.  On the way home from my excursion to motorizzazione, the police pulled this blonde guy in the convertible z4 over to inspect my papers.  PROFILING!!  I am not sure how AZ will handle their new law and its enforcement, but I can tell you in Italy, you will see random stops by the polizie or the  carabinieri on many roads.  I made my annual trip to the immigration office and did the rounds to get my application for a new permit of stay completed.  I have to show earnings, a dwelling which passes inspection, a valid passport with every page photocopied,  my tax form showing I have paid into their system so I am covered by health insurance, a valid italian "SS# and then there are the little payments to cover their costs for the application.  It is a hassle, but I respect their right to control who lives here and be sure they are legal and can't see why the US states can't do the same. However,  I am not a fan of profiling, surely and hated the way the Leawood cops would pull over any black person driving through, even Lou Smith!  I hope it can be handled discretely and fairly.
We are down to our last 2 rows of vines to prune back, selecting only 1 branch when there are 2 coming from the same place and thinning out the rest, leaving only 5 or 6 per plant.  This allows the plants to concentrate their energy on fewer grape clusters and allows better passage of sunlight and air to help prevent the various fungi which plague us.  One row is taking 3 hours, so I won't be sad to finish this up;  then it is on to thinning grape clusters in the pecorino white grapes or in essence, starting over at the beginning.
I started the Nocino which is walnut liqueur on the 26th of June, so 2 days behind the normal starting day of St. John the Baptist or the 24th, but I picked on the right day.  I will leave the green walnuts, which I quartered in the pure grain alcohol for 40 days with spices and then dilute half with simple syrup and the other half with white wine, to see which I like the best.  Last year's batch was lost in an accidental container drop on day 43, but my tears helped rid the patio of the stickiness!

The last picture is Bacco with his new squeaky pig toy which was a wonderful gift from some return guests from Rome.  He is having a great time playing keep-away with his plastic maiale!

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