Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winery changes, snow and work update

26 February 2011
Yesterday, we finished the preliminary couple of jobs in the vineyard.  The vines are now all pruned down to 2 buds on each branch, the branches have been pulled out of the wires and now the wires are all tightened.
Winter wheat in the foreground with the vineyard and Nascondiglio in the distance

What's new?  The crane is gone.

 Pulling the branches out is a job I don't particularly enjoy as one takes a real beating as some of them come out and act like switches, which if you are my age, you might recall were used by parents to administer a bit of corrective action.  I have bruises on both legs as well as some places I can't mention.
The snow arrived last night to put a stop to outside work, so I can now get back to studying my enology course work on Quality Control and Analysis.
Cabernet sauvignon leading down to the Pecorino in the flat

What a difference a day makes

Bacco enjoying the snow

New concrete flooring for the tasting room area
The winery now has a new floor upstairs, the roofing is complete and we have the required solar panels on the roof.  The windows are ordered and should arrive in a week or so.  The paint color has been chosen for  outside and the doors are being manufactured.  The railing should be ready for installation next week as well.
As is often the case, the barrels of various sizes which were promised a week and a half ago have not yet arrived.  In the meantime, we have chosen corks, bottle sizes and shapes, capsules and are finalizing the labels.
Carnevale in our little town of Offida is coming up next week with festivities Thursday through Fat Tuesday and as I announced on fb, the B&B weekend offer is available for next weekend wherein our guests who pay for one night get one night free.  I hope we will be full as this is a great time to visit and see the fun available in this part of the Marche.
Finally, a new world holiday is available to celebrate: the unification of Italy arriving this year and forever after? on March 17.  I don't know how it will compete with St. Patrick but we will see.  As a prelude, my friends Sigismundo, owner of Degusteria del Gigante and Raimondo, owner of La Bottegola, a fantastic gourmet shop in Castel di Lama put together a fantastic dinner with wines and cheeses from all over Italy.  Here are some of the plates with the tricolors to celebrate unification.
pacchero di gragnano
pomodoro basilico e fior di latte


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bibenda-Assisi, grand opening, 35000 vines pruned

16 February, 2011
                                           Brenda pouring a white burgundy
Valentine's day for me was the day we finished pruning the vineyard; thus ends the 1st big job of the new year.  Next comes removing the old branches we cut and then when the sap starts flowing and the vines become flexible, we tie them to the wires.
On the weekend I took a little trip to Assisi to help celebrate the grand opening of the best wine bar in central Italy called Bibenda, which you can find just a half block from the major piazza.
The co-proprietors, Brenda and Nila have both completed the sommelier courses in Italy and have spent the last 2 years searching the wine growing regions of Europe to select some stellar wines for you which you can enjoy with appetizers like Norcia prosciutto, cheeses from all over Italy, salami from a clone of black pigs in Umbria, etc.  Or, you can buy a great bottle and have a picnic in the Umbrian countryside.
Graziano, Brenda's husband and fellow wine researcher

One of the beautiful wine shelves

Nila and Larry, an american visiting from Rome

The chef working on the salami from the free range black pigs
Addendum Nascondiglio di Bacco plug:
For those of you with travel plans to Italy, B&B day is March 5 and you can stay 2 nights with us for the price of 1 and enjoy Carnevale at Offida!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Pruning in my dreams, memorial dinner for a friend

9 February
I am starting to relive my days of pruning in my sleep and unfortunately the thing I sense the most is the cable I cut which causes a distinct sensation in my hand and a nice ting sound.  I hate that!  We have now finished all but 1/2 of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Montepulciano which means about 3-4 more days of work.  The days have been nearly perfect with temperatures between 50 and 60 and sunshine.

Here are a couple of pictures looking back at the vineyard and the winery with the mountains in the background still snowcapped.
The weather is tricking some of the trees into blooming early like the almond and mimosa trees, but with luck there will be no more frosts.
Blooming mimosa

Neighboring vineyard with blue sky

New copper roof on the winery
Finally, I am sad to report my friend and former colleague/alum of UMKC, Damon Mountford lost his battle with multiple myeloma last night.  Damon was instrumental in augmenting my passion and knowledge of wines of the world.  He served as president of Cellarmasters KC for many years, organizing varietal tastings and educating all of us members on the diversity of grapes, growing techniques, and countries of origin, as well as the health benefits/risks of wine consumption.  He delighted in cooking elaborate dinners for friends and would sit quietly, listening to the battles between arch liberals and conservatives he purposely invited together to provide entertainment.  These dinners were accompanied by great wines he had collected over the years and he was always happy to share his finds.  Today, I went up to the local grocery store and bought all the fixings to make a cassoulet, Dwight style and brought out a Zinfandel I am sure he would have appreciated.  Here's to you Damon.  I wish you had been here to try our 1st wines!