The Little Pecorino Harvest

This year we decided to pluck a few crates of pecorino to make some house wine. It’s the first time we’ve attempted pecorino; white wines generally are a little trickier to pull off because of tighter temperature requirements.

With the help of Natalia B, we pulled ten crates of the best clusters we could find. Then we crushed and destemmed them, and the girls (Sweet Baby G and Natalia) stomped on them for good measure. After a very light pressing, we sent the juice by food grade hose down to the basement for fermentation.

The juice is almost done turning into wine, and based on the taste I had last night it should be pretty tasty! When are you coming to try a glass?!?

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Pecorino Harvest 2016


Highlights from our 2016 pecorino harvest! This is really about how we start our house wine; although the first shot shows the guys coming up from the vineyard on the tractor (Sweet Baby G notes that if you look carefully, you’ll see the girls hiking up the hill), we pulled all of the grapes for the house wine up by hand.

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Red Vendemmia I – 2015

We took advantage of the visit from the boys to pull a couple hundred kilo of our montepulciano d’abruzzo grapes up from the vineyard.  We did it all by hand, loading 20kg cases and then lugging them up to the shed.

St. Peter scored us a crusher-destemmer machine for us to borrow… which made the crushing far easier.  For good measure, however,  Sweet Baby G gave the grapes an extra crushing the old fashioned way.

It’s always great to have some help with a harvest (even a little one) and especially great for the help to come from the boys.  The house wine we make will be a genuine family effort!

Next up: harvesting the rest of the montepulciano!

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White Grape Harvest, 2015!

The 2015 pecorino (indigenous white grape from our area in Marche) is in!  With a little help from our friends, we managed to harvest 3.75 tons… cluster by cluster, bucket by bucket!  Our young vines are not quite at 40% of full capacity, but they’re doing well.  And the berries were beautiful and perfectly ripe.

Next up: the montepulciano d’abruzzo!

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Big, Big Day at Tutto Doppio!

What a day: we transferred our very first batch of Tutto Doppio wine to a wooden barrel, we received notice that we are now official residents of Italy, we hit a key milestone in getting my book on practical applications of the behavioral sciences, and G learned that a key paper from her work on the CHOICE Project in St. Louis was published.  We celebrated with a bottle of wine pulled straight from the fermentation barrel: inky purple and promising!

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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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Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Harvest: Soon!

Buttercup and I took a spin through the southwest third of the vineyard last night, just to see how the berries look. And they look great!

Our vines are young and the spring and summer have been tough, weather-wise. My (admittedly) amateur guess is that we will get about 250kg of grapes. That’s okay for the first harvest, but not really enough to hire help, sell the grapes and the like. So the plan is to make an inaugural “house” wine… by hand (and maybe G’s feet). 

Stay tuned… should be a lot of fun ahead!

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Nostra Prima Vendemmia Bianche a Tutto Doppio!

Our first harvest is in the can… literally!  A bit skimpy because the vines are young and the summer weather was challenging, but the quality of the grapes we got was very, very good.  We are fortunate to have a good situation: lots of sun, the right kind of breeze, soil with plenty of clay, and a very steep slope to help run all that water away from the vines. 

Although the pickings were slim, we couldn’t have gotten it done without the help of our friends: San Pietro, Lidia, Dmitri (and Gigi on the tractor).  We made quick work of the grapes and then enjoyed a nice pranzo together!

Next up: the red!

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Inaugrual Harvest!

Tomorrow we’ll have our first vendemmia (grape harvest) here at Tutto Doppio. First up: our beloved pecorino — a very cool white grape indigenous to this area, and brought back from the brink of obscurity about 35 years ago.

Weather delayed us by a couple of days, but everything looks good for the morning. We’re excited, a bit nervous, and very thankful that we will get by with a little help from our friends. Stay tuned!

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