Monday, June 6, 2011

Le vigne

Uve a tavola (table grapes)


Today I went across the road to la vigna (vineyard) and cantina (wine cellar), called Cantina del Tufaio, to learn something about the grape-growing process. Claudio and Mariela were working on the vino rosso (red wine) vines under the hot morning sun, trimming away leaves that were shading the baby grape clusters, and tucking the long tendrils of vine up under the overhanging wire. They were explaining things quickly to me in Italian, so I wasn't able to follow everything they said, but I got the gist of it.

After a wind and rain storm yesterday, they were working hard to "clean" the vines before another storm that is predicted for this afternoon. Only the vino rosso vines need to be cleaned in such a way. The vino bianco (white wine) vines are treated differently: the vines are cut at the top, and the leaves are left to shade the grape clusters.

They were working in the newer vineyard, planted ten years ago, which contains one section of grapes for red wine (cabernet sauvignon) and another for white wine (chardonnay).

Their older vineyard, down the street, was planted in the early 90's. Mariela took me on a tour of this more expansive tract, which curved downwards along the hill and up the other side. The views were simply breathtaking. This tract contains a variety of grapes for other types of wine, spumanti, and merlot. These grapes were much larger, and will be harvested in mid-August. Beyond the merlot vines is an olive orchard, and beyond that is a walnut orchard.

Mariela told me that most of the houses in this area are relatively new, meaning about 50 years old. But the house where the cantina is located predates all the newer construction, as it was built in 1936. Houses that are older have often been refurbished with stucco on the outside, and small patches of the original stoneware are visible to show their more ''antique" origins.

I'm wishing I could be here in the fall to see the vendemia (grape harvest). Chissa? Forse posse ritornare...

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