|a 'strawberry' grape vine|
Every neighbourhood smallholding has a vineyard for growing wine grapes and perhaps some table grapes and we have always done the same to a lesser degree. Even before we had a house and cultivated our vines we would come down with our children to my husband's village at the end of September for the grape harvest which coincided with a major religious festival on the first Sunday of October. In turn, our children have brought their children to experience gathering our own grapes and starting off the process of making some wine.
I had intended to write about this later in the year, but as I've mentioned it in my last post I thought I would share something about what has been an important part of our family lifestyle.
Basically, the wine grapes are gathered, passed through a squashing machine into the clean wooden barrel, then left to start the fermentation process. The juice is drained into 50 litre demijohn glass jars. Later, the left over grape pulp and skins are pressed and added to the juice in the jars to continue the fermentation process. In the above collage the two oldest grandsons were helping Nonno wash the barrel and generally enjoy the picking of the grapes and other processes.
After the fermentation has finished, which takes about six weeks, the wine is left to settle for a week. It's transferred into clean, sterilised demijohns and again left to mature for a few months before transferring once more into other clean, sterilised jars ready for bottling. If there's a large quantity it's stored in vacuum-sealed steel containers.
The above collage shows a replica wine press which holds a bottle, glass wine jars, the steel container in the canteen and lastly, our wine which, of course, is very enjoyable as an accompaniment to a lunch of bread, cheese, our table grapes and apples.