Hand picking the grapes

Grape harvest

Hand picking the grapes means that pickers go through the vineyard and pick the grapes bunch by bunch. They can choose the ripe grapes, or rather, they can avoid picking rotten or bad grapes.

Hand picking of the grapes

The grape harvest in Tuscany usually occurs between September and October. The right period for harvesting is determined by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels. Also the weather is important by planning the time of the harvest.

Some winemakers determine whether to use hand-picker workers or mechanical harvest machinery. Some benefits of hand picking the grapes are:

  • Grapes are handled gently
  • The hand picked grapes are carefully laid out so that they arrive at the press intact
  • Hand picking means you care and care is what matters…
Sangiovese grapes

Winemaking process red wine

Wine making is a natural process that requires human intervention, but each winery guides the process though different techniques. In basic, there are five components of the wine making process:

Harvesting, Crushing and Pressing, Fermentation, Clarification, Aging and Bottling

After the grapes are sorted they are ready to be de-stemmed and crushed. Mechanical presses the grapes into must. Must is a freshly juice that contains the skins, seeds and solids.

Crushing the grapes

After crushing and pressing the fermentation begins. The fermentation continues until the sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide CO2.

The crusher – destemmer

Grape skins and solids float to the top and need to be pushed back. The red wine juice is pomped from the bottom and splashed over the top of the grape cap.

When the fermentation has finished it is the time to clarify the wine. Filtration occurs by a filter. The clarified wine is ready for further aging in stainless steel, oak barrels or in bottels.

Poggio alla Sala

A group of workers at the vineyards of Poggio alla Sala picked the grapes with secateurs and put them in a basket. Then the grapes are put in a container and finally transported to the winery to be processed.

Hand picking
Hand pickers
Grape harvest Poggio alla Sala

The most planted grape at Poggio alla Sala is the Sangiovese grape. Poggio alla Sala is exposured in the southern part of Montepulciano. Some Etruscan objects are found here.

Sangiovese grapes

If you want gorgeous views as well as a good glass of wine than head to Poggio alla Sala. From here you see the Monte Amiata which influences the local climate of the lands and the vineyards.

Monte Amiata

Not only wine experience

Wine and Food

The nicest part I love of the Wine and Food Experience is meeting people and sharing my passion for wine. I love tasting wines in good company.

All my guests come from everywhere: America, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Italy… The Wine and Food Experience always starts by telling the history of Montepulciano and the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

Montepulciano is situated in the center of an area rich in history, art and wine. The village is only at a stone’s throw away from Pienza and 40 minutes drive from Siena.

Montepulciano

Did you know that the locals call themselves “Poliziani”? Which was the former Roman name of the town? And that Poliziano also the name was of a local humanist and famous writer (Angelo Ambrogini) living in Florence and born in Montepulciano?

Some identification detail of the Vino Nobile

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a precious product and was the first classified wine as DOCG. It is the “King of all Wines” : F. Redi 1685.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano with homemade pasta

The local economy in Montepulciano is mainly agriculture and tourism. The wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a symbol of the village Montepulciano. Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) is the grape that gives the wine an identity. A wine that achieves an unmistakable taste, after 2 years of aging in wood.

Food is also an important item while drinking tannin wines. Tannins provide texture and structure in a wine. The flavors that appear in the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are mostly plums and cherries.

A pairing principle of the wine Vino Nobile di Montepulciano with food is that it interacts with rich, fatty and salty dishes, like wild boar, meat, pasta with ragù and old cheeses. They diminish the perception of tannins, making a wine like Vino Nobile more smoother.

Local pasta

In Montepulciano, Montichiello, Pienza and Montalcino is the most renown dish “I Pici”. A thick handmade pasta of local flour water and few salt.

In the Cantina of Gattavecchi the restaurant offers a wide choice of Tuscan specialties. I love the local pici, especially the Pici all’aglione. The “aglione” is a spicy garlic tomato sauce… yummy!

Yesterday I had a lovely group of American guests who had the chance to do an amazing experience with chef Lilian. She showed us how to make home made pasta.

Homemade pasta
Cook Lilian

Hardloopwedstrijd in Montepulciano Toscane

Van 5 tot 7 oktober 2018 was de derde editie van MontepulcianoRun. Een sportmanifestatie waarin wijn, cultuur en sport gecombineerd worden. Vorig jaar heb ik meegedaan, en heb daar toen een blog over geschreven.

Ook dit jaar had ik me ingeschreven voor de 25 km wedstrijd. Over het algemeen worden veel hardloopwedstrijden in het najaar georganiseerd in de omgeving waar ik woon, maar er zijn er een aantal die ik nooit wil missen. Naast de 18 km run Giro Lago di Chiusi, is MontepulcianoRun er ook één van.

Op de race-dag zelf heb je twee afstanden die je kunt kiezen: 14 km en 25 km. Als je in voorbereiding bent op een najaarsmarathon zou de 25 km afstand wellicht ideaal zijn. Alleen het parcours moet wel aansluiten op de soort marathon die je gaat lopen.

Op 4 november a.s. loop ik de marathon van New York. Dus een heuvelachtig parcours is een prima voorbereiding. De route van de MontepulcianoRun verschilt en is vaak onverhard. Je loopt langs de wijngaarden wat prachtige indrukken achterlaat van het Toscaanse landschap.

Rustig ben ik van start gegaan met de focus een lange afstand te lopen ter voorbereiding op New York. Op mijn schema stond 30 km, dus voor de wedstrijd had ik al 5 km thuis gelopen. De 25 km run was net iets anders dan vorig jaar, maar nog altijd even mooi. Bij elke drankpost ben ik gestopt om te drinken en onderweg heb ik mijn gebruikelijke energie-gelletjes genomen. Het ging meer dan goed.

Zonder enige verwachting heb ik heerlijk gelopen, en ben ik derde geëindigd van de vrouwen. Dit had ik eerlijk gezegd niet verwacht, daar ik sinds juli intensief train en de vermoeidheid al redelijk in  mijn benen zit. Maar wellicht betekent dit toch dat ik fit ben, en klaar ben voor de marathon?

De prijsuitreiking was op de Piazza Grande en na afloop zijn we met een groepje naar de Pasta Party geweest om gezamenlijk dit sport,- wijnevenement af te sluiten.