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Harvest blog, Anne Krebiehl, Treiso, Piedmonte

Published:  19 October, 2010

Today is beautiful: After the first frost we have a clear day, bright sunshine and can see further than ever before, all the way to the snow-capped Alps.

Time in the winery passes quickly: the fermenting vats and rotofermenters need pumpovers and a lot of time is now spent pressing off. The rest of the day is filled with transferring vats, filling barriques, washing bungs, cleaning lees out of tanks and shovelling pomace.

There is always something to do, to help, to clean. I pick up more words but still struggle with the Piedmontese dialect -- very different pronunciation - but the various strange-sounding names of Piedmontese crus start making a lot more sense now.

Saturday - when rain had been forecast that thankfully did not arrive till very late afternoon, we were unloading grapes as fast as we could, as fast as they came in, straight into the crusher/destemmer.

Everything goes quickly: shifting the small red crates, jumping off the trailer again to clear away the discarded stems which surprisingly smell of freshly cut green apples, stacking and reloading the trailer with more empty crates.

Work in our smooth team is egalitarian: everyone does everything, lending a hand wherever possible. Both Giorgio the boss and I, the general go-for, sweep up or carry crates. There was time, though, for a good deed: two little lizards came in with the grapes, one silvery-grey, one greenish. Bereft of their usual flitting movements in the sugary grape juice they - and my gloves - had become sticky which meant I could grab them and give those strangely beautiful, delicate creatures back to the hills.

As I left the winery, a thick fog had rolled in, mixed with steady rain.

Thankfully, just two or three days of harvest are left outside: they'll come in today and tomorrow, now that the sun has had time to dry the grapes. Today, Saturday's must was already well on is way to wine. Despite the fact that I understand the process of fermentation, the transmutation of flavours - from juice to wine -- is nothing short of miraculous.

At 8am in the morning, the aroma- and CO2-charged vapours are heady: perhaps I was dreaming, but I thought I could get the chocolaty-cherry-Kirsch-hit of Black Forest Gateau!

I like to taste the difference between the different vats: Vanotu already shows its structure and power. Giorgio Pelissero told me this morning that I always need to taste and remember: "How is the wine today? How was it yesterday, the day before? - Memory serves us in understanding a wine."

Anne Krebiehl, Treiso, October 19, 2010