When the summer ends I get a little emotional inside. No, not because the warm weather is leaving, in fact, it will still be warm enough for my tastes well past November. In my mind, the reality is the harder months are coming, and people I loved are no longer around for me to enjoy the holidays with. Today I saw the grapes on the vine ripening and falling. It reminds me that in a month its going to be time to make the wine again. But I no longer have the company of my dear friend Victor who was the master winemaker. He died just before Easter, and this year his sons are not sure they will partake in the annual tradition of winemaking. This is heartbreaking, because the only way to honor him would be through this activity. It was really the only time of year, like a holiday, I got to see all of them and we all got to work, eat and be together. I am not sure how I will get through this season without him, though I know I will, but this was always my most favorite time of year. This is the time of year we enjoyed the fruits of our labor, both philosophically and literally. We would make the wine, eat well, prepare for Thanksgiving, and I would plan my yearly vacation when my busy season of work has ended. When I return home to Thanksgiving, I am with what family I have left, and Christmas with good friends and family and its all good. This year there will be one less element if Victor’s sons decide to pass on the tradition of making the wine which will would allow for over 200 bottles of authentic Italian wine to be shared and enjoyed amongst family and friends until the next season.
I know I can walk to the liquor store in town and buy wine. Its not the same, it does not taste the same, and even if I find one I like and buy a case, its not consistent. And, there is a little less satisfaction that I paid more for it and its not something I took the pride in making myself (or, in this case, ourselves), it was a group and family effort.
I will try to make the wine this year on my own, following all the rules and notes I have taken over the years. But even if it comes out perfect, its just not the same if I cannot drink and share it with my dear friend. Its not that I don’t have other friends, but no one appreciated this as much as we did. You have critics who thought it had too much of one grape, another who did not like the oak taste from the barrel, another who compared it to the homemade wine in Italy, and others who simply said “yes it was good, can I have another bottle”, not realizing this was like gold to us. Not the type of gold that we hoarded or valued, but the type of gold that gave us life, happiness and made us look forward to the next day when we can enjoy another glass with good food we grew, cooked and ate amongst good friends and family. This is what is lost now today in America. $1 for a tomato, cucumber, pepper, or sprig of basil? This is what made life so much sweeter, we grew it for pennies and enjoyed it all summer long. Now summer is fleeting and its time to preserve what is left to save for the holidays and winter. Unfortunately, this year, at the very best, I might only be able to enjoy some wine we made from years past.
The link of the process is below for those who wish to watch a short online video….