Sunday 17 October 2010

Wine making in Italy. Part 1

Tomato time has well and truly passed here in Italy. It's October after all which means it's wine making time. Bel fidanzato has not made wine for a few years, but since we are now back in Calabria, living in Malito we decided that this year we would start making our own wine. To make wine you'll need:

Grapes. These dark, juicy grapes come from Donici which is a grape growing town near Malito. Don't ask me what type of grapes they are as I have no idea! We don't have enough grape to pick and use our own, so for the time being we buy grapes. We hope to plant lots of grape vines in our future home, but that is still a few years away. You can use what ever combination of grapes you want to make wine. We used just red, so this is going to be a dark, rich, strong wine. Lots of people add some green grapes to make the wine lighter.

These cases of grapes should give us 100-120 litres of wine.

Lots of Italians also have a cantina, which is a storage room of sorts for storing - and making - wine. Bel fidanzato's family have a small cantina in one of the country properties. The cantina is full of beautiful, old, antique wine bottles which I just want to steal as decoration for our home! When we moved here in January, long before wine making time, some of these bottles happened to find there way into our apartment...

I am not so knowledgeable about making wine, and was quite surprised to learn that you do not have to clean the don't worry if you see some little spiders or insects mixed in with the grapes. This wine is going to be 100% natural - no chemicals, nothing added except for grapes, and the odd insect it seems.

Once you have the grapes, the first thing you need to do is separate the vine part and the grapes. To do this, the family has this:

Once this machine (I have not idea what it is called) is clean, you take it into the cantina and fill the top with grapes. Have a look inside and you will see what the grapes will be squashed by.

Now it's time to tip the grapes into this machine.

It is hand operated, and you want the grapes to fall into the container below, while the vine part falls into a different bucket. When you turn the handle, there is a metal, colander type thing which pushes the grape vines out, rather then down into the container.

This is what you are left with: a container of grapes which you need to leave as is for about 48 hours, and a container of grape vines which some people throw away, and like us, some people keep to use later.


Sarah Elizabeth said...

I love those big wine bottle things. My in-laws have a few of them just lying around getting dusty - I've got my eye on them - they may well end up in our house eventually!

deb at nonna's house said...

Thanks for sharing your winemaking story. The grapes, the crusher, the demi-johns, etc. remind me of my Nonno's house when he made wine. Are you following the phases of the moon during this process?

Looking forward to reading part two!

LindyLouMac said...

Very familiar post, good fun all this isn't it Leanne. I have also appropriated a few demi johns and have used as decoration in the house, planned photos for a post sometime.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Sarah,
You'll have to get some of those old wine bottles for your home! They look great in an old, rustic inspired house.

Hi Deb,
We have not done the luna thing with the wine making yet, but bel fidanzato has told me about it, and he needs to speak to someone to understand the process better! When it's time to move the wine from one bottle to another I think we are going to do it when the moon is full...or something like that!

Hi LindyLou,
Glad I am not the only one who thinks demi johns make a nice house decortation. They are the best!

Natalie said...

What an incredible snippet of every day life- thank you for sharing! Making your own wine sounds like such an interesting experience. Saluti!