Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 year in review

The year is drawing to a close and I first want to thank all who have followed along on the blog and especially all who came to visit Nascondiglio di Bacco this year.  Each year gets busier and thanks to my old and new american friends, we extended the season into November this year.

The January photo shows our vineyard looking west in a month of rest, as yet too soon to start pruning.
February shows pruning in the Merlot vines and with help we finished in about a month.
March shows the layout for the winery excavation in white and ground was  broken.

April brought bud break and tying of each of the 30,000 vines with at least 5 elastic ties to train them along the lowest wire.  Again we had help with this job which lasted into May.  Also you see the totems we placed in the 2 Ferraris worth of reinforced concrete which formed the foundation along with 53 columns -13 meters deep into our clay earth, all to satisfy the new building regulations initiated after the earthquake in L'Aquila.
May found us with walls for the winery and late May the flowering of the grape clusters.

June amidst copper and sulfur treatments almost weekly in the vineyard which are the only substances allowed as we are organic, the construction continues apace with a deadline to finish the lower section before harvest.
July was spent at the house of Gina and Tim with perhaps the largest meeting ever in Ascoli Piceno province of expat americans-4.
Early August shows the grapes having just finished veraison, changing colors from green to purple meaning about 6 weeks remain until the harvest.  This year was a bit late in all respects due to low temperatures and cloudy days.

September deserves a spot all its own as miraculously, the working part of the winery construction was finished in time and the new toys arrived to crush and destem and later press the first arrivals, the Merlot.

The last three months saw more grape pressing and work in the winery with racking of the wines to prevent off characteristics.  We were blessed with good fortune our first year with all the wines coming in with good numbers as far as alcohol level (13.4-14.5%), pH and total acid levels.  After a little hitch with my Pecorino, all is calm and correct and we have a big formal tasting with 2 winemakers named Roberto prior to transferring almost all the wine from stainless to oak.
Lots of americans came to visit in October and November which are good months for me to show folks around.  Olive harvest just takes 3 days and pruning is done in December, so I got to put on my tour guide cap a few times and see some new things as well.
The olive oil this year was a grand surprise and the 100%  frantoio (one of our olive varieties) oil is the best we have made in my opinion.  The pruning, 50,000 cuts, was finished with no major injuries this year prior to my only visit to the USA where I enjoyed seeing great friends, skiing, eating wonderful foods and making a dent in my remaining wine cellar.  All ended with an early Christmas celebration with my family which was thoroughly enjoyable.  
As I can't stay long away from my buddy Bacco, I returned on Christmas day to a happy pup.
The rainbow picture taken in November pretty much sums up our "most difficult year" which while stressful for both Raffaele and myself, has ended with great promise, turning out about as well as possible with happy, healthy wines, a prospective importer and distributor lined up for the US and an improving economy.
Happy 2011 to everyone and thanks again for a wonderful 2010. dds


John D Williams said...

A hallmark year indeed. I wish you much success and happiness in 2011. And keep us posted regarding your US distributor. Gotta give the product a try!

Richard said...

What a great wrap-up to an eventful year. As the country song goes...These are the days we'll remember. You sure brightened our 2010 and our 25th wedding anniversary.

Giulia said...

Love the first photo! ...can I "steal" it for my blog? I will link it to your blog and page.