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The life of a winemaker - there we go again!

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A triple grape, quite rare but a sign of abundance at harvest

It's been six months since my last post on this series, but that's quite normal when it comes to wine-making, since things usually take months to develop. Last time I posted it was about the bad outcome of the last year's red wine.. actually not much happened of very interesting, for the most it's a boring and tiring job along the many months is takes between the first works on late January and the harvest on early October; of course there's not a real period of inactivity, since between October and January there's plenty of stuff to do in the cellar, so wine-making is an all-around yearly activity.
If you are looking for a relaxing hobby, turn around the corner and look for something else, but if it's a satisfying one instead, go for it! As I always said, nothing is better than consuming your own wine or food.

However, this year harvest was pretty good in terms on quantity.. I was hoping for about 700 k of grapes (remember that I'm making a biological production with low quantities), but I actually harvested more than 1000 k! That might look great, but in wine-making quantity is usually inversely proportional to quality, in general terms at the least. I mean, many factors can influence the quantity and quality of the grapes (quantity of rain, average temperature, haze, ice, etc), but assuming that you have two same seasons one after the other, then if you collect more grapes in one of the two, quite certainly their quality (in terms of sugar present on the fruit) will be lower. If you remember I told you about the mechanisms behind turning sugar into alcohol, so the more sugar you have the more alcoholic the wine will be.. per sè it's always better to have more than less alcohol, but up to a certain point of course. So, like almost anything else in life, virtus in medio stat (or in this case, gustum in medio stat, ).. basically this year we had a couple of weeks of rain on early September, which added for the quantity (increasing it by about 40%), but of course inversely impacted on quantity of sugar per grape. To make it clearer: rain added volume because it added water to the fruits, but then then trees didn't have enough time (and hot sun) to suck more nutrients from the ground.. so in technical terms the grapes were "watery". Don't get me wrong, we are probably talking about a difference of 0,5 % alcohol, possibly even 1 %... not much but still something to take into account for an experienced wine-maker like I am.

Quality of course is not only made by alcoholic degrees, but by taste as well: taste is of course influenced by the more or less presence of alcohol, but in general the main part of it depends on which grapes you have been using and on the actual degree of maturation of the fruit when harvested. A sapient mixing of different kind of grapes is the key to make an excellent home made wine (since I don't suggest to go with a single variety, due to be excessively exposed to seasonal variations), but in any case what makes the difference is always the season, and this is even more true for bio production (since you won't use chemical fertilizers or additives in the wine).

So all in all it was a good harvest, the grapes were healthy and abundant, and the sugar level were only a little below the average, but I'll tell you more in a couple of months, of course

Spoiler for some pics