Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harvest is finished...almost (Part one of two)

Phew! After an exhausting few days I finally have time to write about what has been happening here in Montalcino. The harvest is finished except for a half acre of Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese which will be harvested next week and made into a Sant' Antimo DOC wine. 

We started harvesting a hectare (about two and a half acres) of Brunello on Wednsday, waking up with a huge cup of coffee at 5:30 in the morning. PJ and I were out by 6 putting 150 boxes through the various vineyards. By eight all the equipment was set up and it was time to begin. PJs friend Dan was visiting from Ireland to help with the vendemmia, and PJs parents Serge and Marie Claire from Corsica, and of course Ludmilla. Eliah was really sick, so Kalyna had to stay inside to take care of him for most of the morning but they were able to come out in the afternoon to help. 

It was a beautiful day and everyone was in high spirits. Picking 4 vineyards the first day was exhausting but very gratifying work. A lot of quality control work was done in the vineyard, and were all together working side by side. There were really beautiful bunches in the first vineyard and Ludmilla described them as looking like works of art. Indeed they looked like you would expect grapes that produce one of the most noble wines in Italy to look. (Thanks to Ludmilla for all the pictures she took while working hard). We filled 119 boxes the first day, each one weighed 25 kilos, and when we had enough fill PJ's  late model 4x4 Land Rover (32 boxes was the limit), we drove them straight to the roof of the newly constructed cantina (winery). At this point the grapes were put directly into a crusher/de-stemmer and pushed by hand into a hole connected to PJ's brand new 3000 liter French oak barrels in the cellar below, all without pumps, fed by gravity. 

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