CHEERS!  Salute!

 

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MEET THE TEAM: Mira, winemaker Alberto, Yours Accidentally, and Anelio

WELL, so far so good. But now we had to start thinking of bottling the wine, marketing it, visiting the wine shows and getting samples out to the critics. All while looking after a farmhouse full of very nice and charming guests we'd seriously neglected during this period of manic activity.

bottling.jpgOne year after our first harvest a truck the size of the Pontevecchio lumbered down our tiny lane and, with the hissing of hydraulic brakes, settled majestically in front of the winery. Something happened next that reminded me of a Moon landing. Legs shot out. Platforms sprouted. Shutters slid up — and behold, a mobile bottling plant created itself on our little piece of Tuscany.

Sooner than the time it takes to pop a cork, hoses had been hooked up, pallets of clean bottles appeared, and Jon's labels were inserted into the production line that was taking shape before our eyes. It was a conveyor belt, ending in a little turntable from which the finished product could be hoisted, by hand, into the cartons we'd had printed.

Again, we roped in as many friends and guests as possible (Jon included, and François who popped over from Colorado for the event). Soon we had established a rhythm and working pace that ceased only for a short break at lunchtime, when Mira set out a picnic for everyone. Then the clinking monster started up again and a 12-hour working day finished at 8:00pm with a winery so full of boxes we could hardly find our way out.toppingup.jpg

The barrel wine — our Riserva and a special cru we named Roveto would receive the same treatment one year later. (We could only release the Riserva two and a half years after harvest, under strict DOCG rules equivalent to the French appellation contrôllée.) It needed careful attention as it absorbed the oak and topping up was a regular task.

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