Our friend Fabrizio from Francone (a local winery here in Neive) called last Tuesday to tell us they were harvesting chardonnay for their spumante (sparkling) wine this Thursday August 11th. Most grapes used in sparkling wines are picked before they are completely matured in order to have higher acidity, an important factor in guality sparkling wine production. Robert met up with the crew at 7:30am to photograph the journey that grapes take to start the process of becoming wine. The crew of eight, working in pairs of two, were able to pick all the grapes by 6:30pm in this vineyard of just under 2 acres ( .75 ha ).
With clean harvest tubs the picking begins. Clean tubs are important because the grapes are not washed before pressing. Everything in the tubs gets pressed with the grapes.
Fabrizio and his wife are careful not to look down the row as to be reminded of the back breaking job in front of them.
Once full the tubs weigh about 55lb (25 kilos).
When a row is completed the tubs are loaded onto a sled pulled by a tractor. here driven by Fabrizio's brother Marco.
The grapes are brought to the crush pad at the winery where they are loaded into a pump which sends them over to the press.
After pressing, the grapes macerate for about 30 minutes, then the fresh juice without skins, pits and stalks is pumped to a large stainless steel tank to begin fermenting into wine.
Before dinner all the tubs must be cleaned with this power washer.
Or maybe it's just Hazelnuts, they are "easy" to harvest because they simply fall to the ground when ready to be picked up by hand or vacuumed up with giant tractor mounted machines, this small family farm is taking advantage of the hot and dry weather to dry and pre roast there on the drive way
The second and last green harvest is almost finished. Wen a person firsts sees this it's very shocking looks like wine vandals,this is done to concentrate the vines energy into the remaining grape bunches and is always a sign of a quality producer.
In about 30 days the remaining fruit on these nebbiolo vines will start there 2 ½ year journey to become Barbaresco.
We are nearing the end of our "closed" season, this sign was on the local convenience store however this year more shops are open than last year, which is good because we are having a busy Aug with travel customers.