Thursday, June 9, 2016

Grape Vines and Fine Wines

Pievuccia Vineyard & Winery

Recently, my class had the experience of visiting Pievuccia, a local winery and vineyard!. From vine to vino, we saw the whole process and learned so much along the way. The vineyard we toured was an organic biodynamic vineyard. Biodynamic, essentially means “happy earth, happy plants (and less organic pesticides).” The process is different for different people. Some people play music in fields to change the crystal structure of water in the plants, others chant or hit gongs. Some apply yogurt, tea, brown algae, or bee honey can be applied. It is just anything extra you can do for the surrounding environment of your crop!

Another interesting technique used was the application of a copper solution to the leaves of the grape vines. By doing this, spores and fungi that land on the plat would first consume copper and then die!

At the vineyard, we noticed that the field was covered in weeds. This was not laziness, rather a practice that helps absorb standing water during heavy rains and protect the vines! Since the weeds are lower to the ground, when rains come and the spores jump from the ground to vegetation, they hit the weeds first, instead of the vines, and go to town.

The wine making process was also an incredibly educational experience. For instance, white wine is made, obviously, with green grapes. But did you know that white is fermented with the skins off whereas red wine leaves the skins on, giving it that deep crimson color? Me neither, but it makes sense! The fermentation process takes about one month and is best fermented in concrete because it ferments with less oxidation, creating a better and more aromatic wine. That said, however, the best grapes fro the best crop are aged in wood barrels and the aging process is continued in the bottle.

What is special about this wine is that everything, sugars and yeast and tasting notes and color, comes from the grape. You can add yeast and influence flavor, but not here! The yeast used is what is found growing on the grapes already, causing spontaneous fermentation. This process is not perfect so it leads to variation in different batches, but it is natural and creates the purest wine.

The knowledge I gained here was so valuable as many of the practices I took note of to use back home in my own gardens. I found my thumbs flying as I tried to keep up with every word said during the tour, and I cannot wait to share all this information with my farming friends back at home. The coolest part was getting an entire lecture on the history of wine and wine making process and everything in between during class the next day!

Unfortunately, I am out of time and out of words. So until next time, Internet, Arrivederci!

-Amelia Goodall

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