Wine-making has been a family tradition which stretches back to my early childhood. I look back fondly on those years when my dad would solicit my mother and my sister and me to help out with the process. Back then, we used a rather draconian device, powered by shear brute strength, to turn a hand crank. The crank was connected to a series of gears which would mesh together and ultimately pulverize each and every grape. The crushed grapes yielded juice which would be collected and ultimately funneled into a barrel, ready to undergo the natural fermentation process. It was a very effective approach for a few years but as the quantity of grapes increased and the longevity of the tool deteriorated, my father upgraded his processes. I’ll cover some of those enhancements in a moment.
As the years went on, the annual tradition became relegated to more of an independent affair. My father would immerse himself (rather obsessively) into his hobby as both my sister and I toiled away with school and our own extracurricular activities. The tradition would only be reinvigorated back in 2004, when the festivities evolved into a great excuse to get together with family and friends.
The annual gathering has acquired something of a carnival-like atmosphere. Obscene quantities of food and drink, frenzied displays of soccer prowess and relaxing by the bonfire, are all in keeping with the event’s zeitgeist. The main event, of course, is the reinvented process through which the grapes are crushed. With feet! continue reading »