Monday, August 29, 2011

Bringing 'Baby' Home a Week Early: Nino is in the House!!

The cellar, tanks, crates, tractors, pumps, hoses, de-stemmer, pruning shears, gloves, teams of pickers... all part of the preperation for harvest.  Then, there is the mental preparation that the 'big show' is about to start... and the next two months are the cumulation of a years work all concentrated in anywhere from 4-8 weeks.  This means cooking meals for teams of 12-20, little sleep, Fabrizio being somewhat 'out of his mind,' and basically 'back to bedlam,' as sexy James Blunt says.

This year she snuck up on us, we barely had time to get the cellar ready before this relentless dry heat and sunshine required us to bring the Pinot Nero in... let alone wrap our heads around the fact that it was already harvest time!  Fabrizio didn't even have time to do an chemical analysis on the grapes (not that he usually does anyway), he just took one taste and look and said, "in they go!"

Nino, planted in '99 on the north side of the estate, at about 300m, with the Alps in the background...killer real esate!!

Unfortunately we were hit with hail in July, and while our Barbera vineyards weren't affected, Nino did not fare as well.  So, in combination with the hot weather, low yield and being already our earliest maturing variety, 2011 will be a record setter on two fronts;

Date of Pinot harvest: 8/29/2011
Total picking time: 1 hectare, 11 pickers, 2.5 hours 

The march down... (it's steeper than it looks)

The Cast: 5 Moldavians, 2 Americans, 6 Italians
(I think the Americans and Moldavians helped with the record setting)!

The 'Babies'... "Nino" (for those of you that I haven't told yet) means baby in Piemontese dialect

This was a lot more painful than it looks... the little bastard skeeters don't photograph well!

We were so busy getting the cellar, and everything else ready this weekend, that we forgot the bug spray.  It got ugly out there, and the mosquitos definitely won this battle... but we'll be ready and armed for when we are knee deep in the Barbera trenches!

At 9:30AM we were back at the ranch sipping coffee, covered in battle wounds from the 'skeeters', but barely warmed up by the AM sun.

We'll have a little break, maybe 10 days to two weeks before the Barbera is ready... so even though we weren't necessarily mentally ready for the anticipated picking, we'll have some time to prepare before the next round!

However party people, it's on... finally, HARVEST TIME!!!

To be continued....

Safe at home...

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