Friday, October 28, 2011

Vine trellising techniques of contrada Ciafone di San Filippo

28 October
This is what I am studying now in my last class at UC-Davis on Viticulture.  I have gone well outside of the norm for my area with normal planting being 3 meter wide rows and plant spacing of 1 meter, while mine are 2m20cmX70cm.  Here you will see some strange combinations, but it seems everyone has their own idea what will work best. If you are not interested in the technicalities, enjoy the photos of Autumn in my area.
vertical shoot positioning, quasi guyot

fall colors with the preceding vineyard in the foreground

new vineyard in the foreground planted in the most economical way possible, a one wire system, I guess this would fit the mold for a single curtain, but at 1 meter and a bit more of height, which is a bit low

These vines have 2 directions to grow, down the row or across with a connecting wire. These stand at just under 2 meters in height, which is a bit low for an american, but perfect for most italians

almost "head trained', but really more guyot with 4 single wires and the usual 3mX1m spacing 

new and relatively inexpensively planted vineyard at 3X1m, 2nd year growth, concrete anchors and stainlesss steel poles, 4 single wires

a view of my b and b and winery with the drier uphill vines just changing colors to yellow

3 meters by 2 meters but with 2 plants at each tutor, don't know how this will work out for them as this is unique around here.

Traditional single curtain at about 1.5meters of height, quite inexpensive and they picked this by machine this year

Same new vineyard as previously seen with a low single wire system

my tightly space vineyard, with a single cordon, 70cm spacing for the plants and 2m20 distance between the rows

Grass planted to decrease vigor all has crumped with the drought we had this summer, hoping for something to come back next spring as it was  expensive to put in

single anchor wire followed by 2 couples in my vineyard and this is a handy took which opens and closes the first couple to allow spring growth to enter and then to hold it there, then open again for pruning

This is the field across from me in red which had me worried, but not really, it is always the first to turn and has not spread at all in 4 years, it is just the Sangiovese, I think which turns earlier than the others

Finally my neighbor's 3X1 meter spacing with guyot and a single wire and 2 couples above

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lago del Fiastrone and Lame Rosse hike

25 Ottobre
My guests departed around 9:30 this morning and Bacco and I immediately followed them out the door to try a new hike.  I was hoping for peak Fall color, but wait until next week if you want to see the trees all turned.   This is an easy stroll which ends up in a place which will remind one of Zion National Park in Utah.
A view of Montalto Marche on the road to the trailhead

The dam which has formed the lake is the easiest place to start the trail, but if you want to walk along the lake as well, you can start up the road at the town (add an hour each way)

A view of Lago di Fiastro or Lago del Fiastrone from the dam with the tail end of the Sibillini mountains in the distance

The canyon below the dam

Your first view of the Lame Rosse, red blades after an easy 35-60 minute walk depending on your pace

Looks from here like a castle
Bacco walking through the martian terra

more spires

you can also explore little troughs which scale the heights to the left, if you don't bring your 33kg dog who can't climb 6 foot walls

With enough imagination you can see 2 eyes watching you from the hill behind to the left.  As you can see, we need another week or more to get the trees all turning.

Finally,  the lame rosse from the other side of the canyon where the road will take you home.
It is a nice and easy hike and you can get there from Umbria by taking the road for Macerata or from us by heading towards Sarnano, then up this canyon towards Fiastra

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

100% extra virgin, Marche organic olive oil in pictures, 2011

18 Ottobre
Up at dawn to pick, not!  Just to walk the dog and get the work done in the winery before the olive harvesting.

Alessandro and Raffaele beating up on an olive tree to get the olives to drop into the net

The olives are put into plastic containers which hold about 20 kg.

The beater has rotating little fingers which cause the olives to fall off their branches and is telescopic, reaching into the heights of the trees up to about 20 feet if your arms are long.
I delivered my olives in the van, but people come in station wagons, trucks, tractors, you name it and the olives are placed into large bins and weighed. You pay by the weight of the olives, not by the oil which you make

They are then loaded into a big hopper and the conveyor belt takes them into the machine which will blow aways sticks and leaves and then wash the olives

Here they are freefalling into their bath/leaf blowing zone

Ready to be washed and then go to the initial grind
After the initial grind, the paste arrives in with these blades and gets cut and pressed to mush

The off to the centrifuge which separates oil from water and solids

my oil exiting the centrifuge

Tiziano pumping the oil into my 50 L container. Normally, you get about 12% yield from the weight of the olives eg 100kg would give you 12 liters.  With the dry year we had, this year the olives were less hydrated and the oil yield was over 16%

Here's where the waste solids go, to be spread later on their fields as humus

Bacco making a new friend outside the olive press

And I finished in time to enjoy a cloud free, blue sky day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

New olive oil, Happy 53rd bro, Rock climbing Mt. Rosara, wine update

14 ottobre
Happy birthday to my brother today!  The new oil arrived at the b&b last night in time to give a liter to my climbing guests who were leaving today for Rome.  This year's oil is much greener and a bit harsher than last year's, so it will need a couple of months to get a bit softer before you pour it all over your salad.
Below you can see the difference in color between 2011 and 2010 and the oil really won't change color much over its life.
Ok, I'm back having done a side by side bruschetta tasting between these 2 and they are different, but both good with the new one having that fresh olive smell you only get right after pressing.
My Seattle guests were avid climbers and had hauled all their climbing gear to Spain and Italy, so it was up to me to try and find climbing places where the bolts had already been placed (I didn't know there were these special places all over the world).  As I am quite ignorant of this sport having limited my climbing experience to olive trees, it took a bit of googling and talking with my bike shop friend Brian, but I found a great place for them at Monte Rosara and they enjoyed scaling the limestone outcropping there.

This was a sport I wanted to try when I was 14 and vacationing with my folks in Colorado, but I never got to try, just a bit in scouts.
The wines are pretty much all resting from the strain of fermentation and now it is about time to think about clarifying, just a tiny bit, my Pecorino and get it in bottles with a Reserve sticker.  The Montepulciano is staying on its skins for another week and then will be pressed. It has notes of mature fruit which comes from the dry, hot last 2 months we experienced before harvest.  The pH of all the wines is quite high and to stabilize the wines for bottling will be adjusted slightly lower with tartaric acid, the acid most prevalent in grapes.  At least the alcohol level of the Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon were all at or below 15%.  What a year!