A few days ago I returned from a short Italian sojourn to visit my family. With regard to my previous article of experimenting the bottling our wine, my brother and I tasted some samples, and decided to extend the period of aging in barriques. For the remainder of my time spent there my days were, for the most part, occupied in razing the old vineyard. Between pauses, my dad would recount that he planted these vines together with my grandfather when he (my dad) was not even 20 years old; therefore they (the vines) were an average of 50 years old. In fact the vines showed signs of fatigue during the last wine harvest that rendered them more susceptible to climate changes. It was therefore decided to raze the existing vines. The paradox was that, as we began to use hatchets and motor saws, the sap was starting to climb along the canal vessels. The vines, with their call from nature following winter, were beginning to come alive.
In the morning we were greeted by a clear, blue sky that contrasted perfectly with the dark clay-colored earth of the hill. For me they were simply chilly days of March, but for my dad they were days full of memories that seemed forgotten. It brought back memories of the fatigue in manually preparing the ground to receive the vines, and the echo in the valley of the mines used to tame the hardened wall of rocks. It is difficult to properly describe the manner in which he looked at what remained of the vineyard that he faithfully, year after year, restored and maintained it to succeed in the development of a productive vegetation.
Giacomo Tachis observed that “Man, with age, while contemplating the vineyard finds in himself the youth of the many preceding years.” Even I for many years was an active part of that vital cycle, I too feel melancholy in seeing the solitude of the aging wood in large piles intertwined with the memories in our head. Those vines, now piled up to be burned, contain the history and the emotions of a large part of our lives, ready to disappear in a cloud of smoke.
Enrico Nera Founder www.ParliamoDiVino.com