Recently, we’ve been giving more and more thought about moving back to the United States. I miss places, friends and family and I would love if my own children got to spend a couple years going to school in America. We are also keeping our hearts and minds open to find a place and start a new project in the US. But today, as I step into the vineyard I take notice that Sardinia is special because it’s rare to find a place where you have wine, oil, wheat, vegetables and fruit all on one property. Here not only is it possible to find, the Sardinians treasure themselves on possessing for each family these fundamentals of self sustainable food production. In fact, most any Sardinian family, has a piece of olive grove somewhere, the family vineyard and vegetables and fruit production and the house is full with the items of each season. It’s why the people enjoy sharing with each other, it gives you a chance to show off some of the good vittles that you made and trade or exchange gifts with your friends and neighbors.
A special favorite is of course, wine. Today is la vendemia. In spirit with Sardinians aging population, At 37 I am the youngest male and their ages go from 84 to 70. Oh wait the 90 year old great uncle just arrived with sunglasses and pruning shears. The owner of the vineyard, my father in law, measured the sugar level in the grapes, around 23-25 is a good number to make a good strong wine. We just have to stroll through these beautiful trellises cutting off the grape bunches, making sure to clean off any leaves or branches and don’t let them get mixed in with the grapes.
Later we take it to the pressing area and mix the grapes in accordance of what type of wine we are looking for. Sara’s father prides himself on the local Sardinian varieties that he grows in his vineyard with varieties like Cannonau, Nuragus and Bovale. In the old times people used to press the grapes with their feet, music playing of course and festa in the air. Fall is a great period to visit Sardinia. The weather is still warm, the beaches once stunning but overcrowded are now sublime. Olive oil season is on the way and there is Autumn in Barbagia, a season long festival where villagers all open their courtyards, cook and of course offer their visitors a taste of wine and a hearty welcome. The festival goes on each week in a different town for three months. .
Once the grapes are pressed they are left to ferment for anywhere from 10-20 days and once the sugars have been converted into alcohol, the grapes are squeezed again, the mosto is drained out, and left to age. The leftovers grapes and their stalks are then distilled into brandy. Here’s to the coming year and prayer of gratitude for the blessings that we have in our lives!