Vendemmia II – Revenge of the Grapes

Time for the harvest of the montepulciano d’abruzzo (red) grapes! Maybe a little past, actually.

As the vines are young and the summer tough, we expected a light yield. The plan, then, was to make house wine rather than to spend money renting a tractor, trailer, and driver.

So instead of harvesting the grapes into pails with a tractor following along, we would harvest them into cassette (crates), and then use the hooptie (my 1974 Toyota Land Cruiser) to haul the crates up to the house.

The land was still wet, but the thought of hauling all of those grapes up a steep incline biased our thinking about the prospects for using the hoopster.  I made it half way down to the vineyard with only a bit of sideways sliding.  Then it became clear that the only decision I had to make was where to strand the thing… hopefully without causing it to tumble down the hill. Stuck in the mud, for real. We will have to wait for Francesco to pull me out with the tractor.

The grapes were playing coy. They were ours for the taking but we would have to fight gravity if they were to come home with us.

So haul we did, all 500kg worth (an estimate).  That’s north of a half a ton. We called in muscle (Dimitri) to help us get ‘er done.

The harvest was at least twice what we were expecting, leaving us short a fermenting barrel. Pietro gave a call to farmer Stefano, who despite getting his place ready for 100 guests (annual porchetta festa – AMAZING) brought over a large vat for us to use. We also borrowed his crusher / destemmer, and had at it.

It was a several hour project but now the must has met the yeast, and the happy marriage has just begun.

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