Just got back from washing my car. It was about 75 degrees today and sunny. The vines are starting to grow in my area near Arezzo in Tuscany.
Anyway, I was talking to the old guy who was helping me dry my car and he was saying how he made fantastic wines from the 500 vines he has near the gas station in the next-door village of Castiglion Fibocchi.
“As soon as the grape bunches form, I cut back to only two or three bunches, that way what’s left ripens to perfection,” he said with a big smile and a number of teeth missing. The man looks to be in his 70s, and he always seems to be at the gas station helping out when he is not tending to his vines. He also said that he cut back some of the leaves on his vines to help the circulation of air around the fruit during the summer.
But wait a minute, I thought to myself. This old guy does “green harvesting” and “canopy management?” I thought that was only for hotshot UC Davis grads and big-buck consulting enologists?
“How long have you been working like that in your vineyard?” I asked.
“Ever since I was that high,” he said, measuring out a height of about 4 feet.
He finished my car and walked away.
I am not expecting much from his wine if I ever taste it, since he uses both white and red varieties in his blend. Farmer’s wines in Tuscany are notoriously bad, although their vin santos can be very good.
But some how it made me think how we can sometimes aggrandize methods in viticulture and in winemaking when a lot of it has already been done for ages.
It also reminds me how much I enjoy living in Italy – just washing your car and talking about wine.
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