July 14, 2012
We made it! We’re in the middle of véraison, the moment in the vegetative cycle when my berries begin to change color. It’s always impressive to watch the process as my fruit begins to take on its classic colors. The next phenological phase, for those of us who belong to the Negroamaro family, is ripening. The early-ripening red varieties and the white grapes are already ripening and will soon be harvested. On our estate, Chardonnay is picked around the middle of August. I can tell that the moment is arriving because Gianni’s visits to the Chardonnay vineyards are becoming more and more frequent. With the help of his brother Paolo and cousin Umberto, they’re already beginning to pick some of the berries to analyze back at the lab so that they can monitor the progression of ripening and decide which day to pick.
Back at the cellar, everyone is anxiously watching the evolution of these white grapes because they will be used for the production of Teresa Manara, our winery’s flagship white wine. I can’t help feeling a little bit jealous even though I know that in a few days their attention will shift to me. I’m the true star of the show! I’m an old head-trained Negroamaro vine and every year I donate my fruit in order to make one of the winery’s best wines. These days, I don’t produce that much fruit but the truth is that I was never allowed to produce that much. My grapes are always among the best on the estate: low yield but high in quality. At the same time, if I were to produce more, I wouldn’t be able to obtain the same results. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of devotion to deliver the best grapes and if had too many bunches ripening, I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the same amount of time and attention to each one. And even if I did produce extra bunches, Cataldo would just prune it off when véraison started!