Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

We May Not Have a Vineyard but We Surely Make Wine - (Non abbiamo un vigneto, ma lo stesso facciamo il vino)

Yes, winemaking is a yearly ritual in our home during the month of October.  Even though my husband and I came to America as children in the late 1950's, the old-world tradition of making wine at home continues. Wine is in our blood.  As children, we were served wine with dinner.  It was made more tastier by mixing it with gazzosa (carbonated soda).  Even after we immigrated to America, the idea of legal drinking age was foreign to our families.

My husband is adjusting the electric crusher.  Actually, it was a manual (75 year old) crusher electrified by adding a motor. 

In mid-October, my husband gathers his paraphernalia for the making of our hearty red wine.

Our wine cellar or cantina has to be cleared to make room for the wine barrels, set up the grape crusher and winepress. Our cantina functions both as a repository for wine and pantry for foods (olive oil, canned tomatoes, potatoes, onions, dry peppers and all other Italian staples).

We have the grapes delivered and soon after we crush them.

We prefer red wine therefore most of the crates contain purple grapes.


We place the electric crusher over plastic barrels. We carry the crates one by one until all the grapes is crushed. . Once the crushed grapes remain in the barrels fermentation process starts. Within a week, it’s time to press the grapes and fill in five gallon jugs with the mosto (juice). 

Must (juice) flowing from the press
         Then the jugs are capped and later          
                                           the wine is filtered and placed in gallons.

Our vintage 2009

Now, many people ask me why we continue to make wine - the labor, the mess, the stickiness from the juice.

In our opinion, the quality of the homemade is superior to store-bought wine, since the latter, as my father used to say, is pieno di medicina (full of medicine [chemical additives]).  Unnatural additives (like sulfides) provoke fear, for vinification has essentially been considered a natural process.

What can I say, we are diehards who refuse to give up the old ways.
2010 vintage
Images: ©2010 - La Casa e Il Giardino -picasaweb


  1. I enjoyed reading your article. I can relate to the story you told above on how to make wine. That is the same way my Papa (94 yrs old now)use to make it. My husband use to help my Papa making the wine. But since we moved to NJ into a condo we now make the wine from wine juice in our garage.

  2. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  3. We too had a wine cellar and my father always made wine. If I was punished for something or angry with him, I would go downstairs and shake up all of the bottles. He could never figure out why the wine was not settling properly!
    I think they call that passive agressive!

  4. Hi -- I am the Drink editor at The Daily Meal and came to your site from the link you posted on the wine health benefits story. Thank you for sharing the link, I really enjoy the piece and would love to talk to you about featuring it on the site. Let me know what you think! My email is mchevriere [at] thedailymeal.com. Thanks!

  5. My Dad, who is from Naples,Italy, used to make wine, I hope my husband and I can try this ourselves one day....Grazie!

  6. Ann - We have been doing it for years. A little messy from the grape juice but a garage space will do, so the stickness can be hosed out. Personally, I prefer our home-made wine to any bought wine.

  7. eLISA, ES MERAVIGLIOSOOOOOOOOOO, IO SONO ABITUATA A VEDERLO IN iTALIA, PERÓ PENSO CHE LA UVA CALIFORNIANA SIA LA MIGLIORE, IMAGINO CHE BERE 2il mio vino", deve éssere, LO PIÚ...congratulaciones a tuo marito, e a te, y gracias, un grande abraccio
    Nelba Nalli