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The life of a winemaker: it keeps going

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Last chapter here.

It's been 2 years since the last post, and with a good reason: there aren't many news in the life of a winemaker, and the working years repeat themselves over and over. It is certainly entertaining and satisfying for me to grow my grapes and taste the new wine every year (not to mention drinking it all the year long ), but I guess it to not to be very interesting for those who cannot even get a sip of that wine , so I've avoided repeating the same things over and over., hence the small number of updates in the past few years.

That being said, the overall experience of making wine (including growing your own grapes) is certainly variable and sometimes surprising (most often negatively, that is); the reason for this is mainly that growing grapes has a lot to do with the annual weather, and the past few years have been pretty crazy (if you remember we had late ice twice and then terrible haze two more times in the following years), none the less I of course did not give up, even though I have to say that it's been a long while since we really had a good year (probably 2014, that is).

I already mentioned the issues with the crazy weather (and if there's someone who has seen the dramatic climate change of the past decade, that's me), but recently we had issues with birds and boars too. Past year there has been an unusual presence of birds in my area, I mean we live side by side with a Natural Reserve, but I've never seen anything like that, honestly: as a result of this, all the fruits/vegetables present in the area (not to mention the wheat) have suffered from the constant attack of those flocks, sometimes with dramatic effects. I myself have lost between 150 and 200 kg of grapes (around 15% of my production), some trees were completely spoiled of grapes (check the pic in the spoiler below). This year luckily we did not have the same problem.

Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

But the real problem here is with boars, they are destroying almost any cultivation in the area. Luckily, I have both my vineyards fenced and guarded by dogs, but I think I'm the only one. This issue with boards is probably over than 10 years old, but it gets worse and worse, since boars are infesting animals, and they grow and grow unless you find a way to contain them. Everybody who lives in a rural area in Italy and in many other places in Europe might have seen the same problem: the presence of a Natural Reserve is indeed part of the issue, but the real cause behind this is that boars do not have anymore natural competitors like wolves and bears (not just predators, but competitors for the foraging and living spaces in wild areas). Anyways, no one has identified a solution so far other than exterminating them (which is not viable, not yet at the least). My usual "enemies" in the vineyard are bees and other insects: every year they eat up a few kilos of grapes, but it's a sacrifice I'm happy to do in order to sustain the biodiversity (in particular for bees).

As per this year harvest, the season had a lot of sun and little rain until mid August. This made for a discrete abundance of grapes, but with a low yield in terms of wine: as of now (still fermenting) we foresee to be at around 50%, which is about 10% less than the norm and close to 20% less than in the best seasons. Anyways, the grapes have been very healthy and both sugar levels and flavors levels seem to be top notch for this year.

A few pics

Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

very healthy grapes

The record winner, this beauty had 39 grapes of wonderful Malvasia.