I am a bit delayed on this post as it’s been a busy time for us adjusting to life outside of the city. Autumn is a season of the harvest. For wine lovers and our culture, the fall is known for making homemade wine. As a child, this was always so much fun to be apart of. We would gather around my Nonno Ciccio’s shed and watch as the brothers and my other Nonno would take turns crushing the grapes. We were sure to never sit still because the wasps would gather and attack you! Somehow I don’t ever remember anyone ever getting stung though.
When the grapes were crushed, and the juice put into barrels, my dad always stored them in our laundry room near the cantina because it was cool. The smell of the wine fermenting was so strong that all of our clothes smelled like wine for the months. Friends would come over and wonder what the heck the smell was, and were surprised when we told them it was our dad’s homemade wine “cooking”.
The first juice from wine is typically preserved to make wine patelli- one of my sister’s and my favourite traditions. This is a flour based batter that has the “first wine” or “mustu”. Since I was a child, I have fond memories of how my Nonna Pina would gather cousins, aunts and uncles to roll the dough to make them into “long snakes”, and use cups to press circles out of the wine dough. Then my Nonna would boil these dough creations in a pot full of boiling wine juice (mixed with sugar) and sliced pears from the garden. The pears are my Nonno Cosimo’s favourite. When the “snakes” and “circles” are well boiled, then we take out a few and savour them while they are piping hot! In our culture, we create many amazing food items that look appealing to the eye. Unfortunately, wine patelli are not one of those creations. The taste; however, is delicious.
Unfortunately, we were not able to make wine this year because we celebrated my cousin’s wedding in September; however my brother-in-law’s family did make homemade wine and I was able to participate and capture some great photos. Our little nieces were a bit hesitant to crush the grapes with their feet, but once they got in there they were having a blast.
Marco and I can’t wait to start making our own wine with the help of our family in our new house!