Category: Prosecco diaries

Prosecco Diaries: April 2015

Substitution of grafted cuttings in Monfumo.

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April 4 – The cover crop continues to grow. It’s a carpet made of a thousand colors.

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April 5 – Those are some buds in our Caerano vineyard.

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April 7 – We concentrate our efforts in the Monfumo vineyard by hoeing the young vines and distributing vegetal compost in the lower part of the vineyard. We’ll use a scraper to distribute it in the part of the vineyard when we plant new vines in a few days.

Spargimento compost a Monfumo.

April 8 – We add compost among the vines we’ve previously hoed so as to keep the soil loose and moist around the plants.

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April 9 – This is a grafted cutting after we applied compost. Those are buds in the higher part of our Monfumo vineyard.

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April 13 – Buds in our Cornuda vineyard.

Hoeing.

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April 14 – Cleaning between the rows of our Cornuda vineyard.

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April 15 – We start working at dawn so that we can finish all of our work in time. The cover crop continues to grow rapidly.

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April 21 – The mustard plants are nearly two meters high.

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Buds.

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April 22 – We distribute compost in our Cornuda vineyards as well.

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April 23 – We get up at dawn to mow the grasses between the rows with our trimmer in Monfumo. It’s two days of heavy work.

April 24 – We till the soil around the vines to protect the compost from the sun and warm temperatures.

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April 28 – 50 mm of rain force us to do our first vineyard treatment of the year.

April 20 – We begin to remove side shoots and prune excess buds so that the vines won’t produce too much fruit.


Prosecco Diaries: March 2015

During the month of March, we finally finished pruning in our Maser and Cornuda vineyards. Then it was time for Monfumo…

March 8 – Women’s Day. An “alternative” bouquet made of flowers from the cover crop in part of Cornuda vineyard.

flowers international womens day

March 12 – Monfumo vineyard. Vines and canes fastened with ties.

trellis system prosecco italy tying poles

italian trellis vineyard training

March 13 – We begin removing the pruned canes from the vineyards.

pruning vineyards prosecco italy

luca ferraro winemaker prosecco

March 14 – A view of the hills of Monfumo.

morainic hills

March 22-25 – Vinitaly in the FIVI pavilion. This year, we abandoned our own stand so that we could be part of the Italian Federation of Independent Grape Growers (FIVI) pavilion. Sometimes, gambles can really pay off.

fivi stand vinitaly

March 28 – The sun shines down on the Monfumo vineyard.

monfumo vineyard best asolo prosecco

Last Saturday, we spent the evening racking the wine.

stainless steel tank winemaking

Click here for the March 2014 and March 2013 entries.

Prosecco Diaries: February 2015

We were able to get a lot of work done in the vineyards thanks to a February that wasn’t very rainy and more importantly not too cold.

The days are getting longer and we’re almost done pruning. In February, we finished the work to be done in our vineyards in Caerano, Cornuda, and Maser.

The only vineyard left to do is Monfumo. We’ll end with the icing on the cake, pruning away in the heart of Prosecco Asolo DOCG.

The work in the cellar is also going well. The base wines are being aged and are coming into focus. We’re beginning to provoke the second fermentation in our 2014 wines and we’re really happy with the results. We’ll write more on our progress in an upcoming post.

Like January, our February was divided between pruning in the vineyards and a lot of work in the cellar.

February 4 – We prepared the labeling machines to label an entire lot of Prosecco Extra Dry.

prosecco bottling machine

5 febbraio – Finalmente si vede un pò di neve nelle nostre vigne di Monfumo.

February 5 – We finally saw some snow in our Monfumo vineyards.

italy vineyards winter snow

February 7 – Bottling day.

bottling wine italy

February 8 – Two very important days for us. We took part in the Teatro del Vino tasting. Teatro del Vino is our Italian distributor.

wine fairs italy march

February 13 – We continued to prune under a faint, wintry sun.

italian pruning methods vineyards

February 14 – Valentine’s Day.

valentines day italy vineyards

February 18 – Because it was raining, we took refuge in the winery’s porticoes and prepared the stakes that will be used to replace the ones that broke last summer.

First, we remove the bark…

stakes vineyards training method

and then we make the notches.

chainsaw vineyards italy

Here’s our post from January 2013.

And here’s January 2012.

Prosecco Diaries: January 2015

We split the month of January between work in the vineyards and days in the cellar getting the wines ready to ship to our purveyors.

It was a month where the temperatures had never been so rigid. Lows just under 0° C. and highs around 10-12°. The weather is leading us to believe that we are going to have a tough summer. But hopefully we are wrong.

January 5 – No long weekend and no rest of us. We are in a phase of a waning moon and so we need to work quickly to complete the deshooting of shoots that were previous cut with electric shears.

deshooting vines italy

Not even the cold mornings of the new year can stop us.

January 7 – We did have to take a break mid-morning to warm our freezing fingers by starting a small fire with dried leaves and stems.

fire in the vineyards

January 8 – The moon is still waning. More deshooting to do. We’re now working in the steepest part of the vineyard.

waning moon vineyards

We work as long as we possibly can until the sun disappears between the rocca in Cornuda.

January 9 – Great wines are made of small details and undivided attention. Light ages wine. That’s why we protect our bottles that would otherwise be exposed.

gout de lume
January 13 – A winter marked by temperatures that are not sufficiently rigid for this period doesn’t exactly reassure us.

flower crop cover vineyards

 

January 15 – We taste different vintages and different lots of our Colfòndo to understand how the wine has evolved over time. This is the only way we can improve and give our clients better and better quality.

does prosecco age

January 28 – The grasses we planted last fall are beginning to grow and they don’t seem to mind the early-morning frost.

early morning frost vineyard italy

Luca Ferraro

vignaiolo

grape grower, winemaker

 

Prosecco Diaries: December 2014

Days in December are spent either pruning or working in the cellar.

December 4 – A little gift before the holidays as approach 5,000 followers on Twitter.

italian winery twitter

December 11 – One of the first really cold days.

italian vineyard rose

December 12 – La Repubblica, another one of Italy’s most important newspapers, writes about ColFòndo.

articles about col fondo

December 14 – This year we had a regular Christmas tree but we also wanted to recreate a row of vines by hanging them from a wall in the cellar.

vineyard christmas tree

December 17 – We taste the Asolo Prosecco Brut before we bottle it. Our work — in the vineyard first and later in the cellar — is delivering impressive results. 6 gramms of residual sugar, taut and lively. Citron peel, mandarin orange. Rich flavor and serious drinkability.

golden bubbles prosecco champagne

December 20 – Some shepherds stop by to say hello in the vineyards. It’s an economic way cut the grasses and to fertilize your vineyards naturally! They’ll be back in the spring for another pass.

sheep in the vineyards

December 22 – We loaded another container with our wine bound for the Australian market.

prosecco australia

December 26 – The brut we bottled a few days ago seems to have golden bubbles.

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December 28 – We hang up our shears so that we can rest for a few days.

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Here’s what was happening in December 2012.

Here’s December 2013.

Prosecco Diaries: November 2014

November is the month when we generally begin pruning.

November 4 – Fall has arrived in Monfumo, where we have our top vineyard. best vineyard prosecco

The old vines are losing their leaves as well. old vines fall

Just as we do every fall, we alternate between rainy days and clear skies as we take advantage of downtime to label the wine that we’ll ship to the U.S. mushroom cork wine sparkling

November 11 – Year’s end meeting with the Fraternity of Asolo-Montello winemakers. traditional costume winemaker italy

November 17 – We begin the day by tasting all the tanks to determine if the base wines for Prosecco are evolving correctly. As we imagined, the best tank is from our vineyard in Monfumo. winemaker famous prosecco

November 24 – We finally begin pruning. electric shears pruning vines

November 26 – We spent the morning studying a new type of “natural” container. I have to say that Clayver containers have been conceived and developed very intelligently. Maybe we’ll test them on our Rabbiosa during the next vintage. winemaking egg clayvey

November 27 – We purchased new electric shears that allow us to monitor how many cuttings we make in a day’s work. We’re talking about 8,000-10,000 cuttings in five hours. grape vine electric shearer

November 28 – We’re featured in the Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s most important newspapers. best italian wine writer

November 30 – The Federation of Independent Italian Grape Growers holds its wine market. The general assembly on Sunday morning includes an impressive number of growers united in their cause and committed to changing the world of wine. fivi wine italy

Prosecco diaries: October 2014

Some might think that once harvest is over, the grape grower and winemaker get to enjoy a quiet and restful period. Unfortunately, this is not the case. October is a month that often finds us working in the vineyards preparing the soil so that we can seed the cover crop.

This year, we weren’t able to till all the vineyards because the rain forced us to concentrate our efforts on the vineyards with “drier” soils. The only work that we were able to do in our Cornuda vineyard was to hoe and earth up the rows between the vines.

October also meant more harvest for us this year.

October 4 – The earth was indomitably hard. We worked the soil patiently and creatively and on this day, after a lot of hard work, we were happy with the results we obtained. Proud that we had “house broken” a growing site that hadn’t seemed to find its balance.

subsoil prosecco

October 6 – We went to Venice for a tasting where we showed our wines.

venice sunset

October 7 – We were still tired from our trip to Venice the day before but we picked right up again working the soil in the vineyards.

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And that evening, we went back to Venice for another tasting.

wine tastings venice

October 10 – We always try to combine work and pleasure. So while we were hoeing the soil between the rows, we lit a fire and roasted chestnuts that we had gathered in our woods.

chestnuts roasting vineyard recipe italy

October 13 – We celebrated my father’s 61st birthday and the more than 40 harvests he’s worked. He’s the true backbone of Bele Casel.

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October 10 – We prepared the soil to be seeded. In this photo, you can see that the center of the row is darker than the rest. That’s vegetable compost that we had distributed a few days earlier.

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As soon as the soil has been tilled, we seed it by hand (no machinery is used).

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October 19 – Our friends sent us some photos of themselves drinking Bele Casel. We were really proud to see these images and we posted them on our Facebook.

prosecco with friends

October 31 – We harvested our Rabbiosa grapes. It’s a historic variety of Asolo.

Luca Ferraro
grape grower and winemaker

rabiosa

Now that the dust has settled: thoughts on the 2014 vintage

 

best prosecco 2014

The harvest is over. We still need to pick a few tons of Rabbiosa, which, in a vintage like this one, takes an extra long time to ripen.

The grapes are waiting on the vines for a ray of sun. And we are waiting for its off-the-charts acidity to come down a little bit before we pick them.

Looking back to a summer that made us work harder than ever before, I can’t help but think of the countless hours we spent in the vineyards and the amount of stress that we accumulated. Now that the dust has settled, I can finally take stock of the vintage.

I’ve said it many times before, it was our work in the vineyards and our growing sites that made the difference. And we were fortunate to have been spared the late hailstorms that caused tremendous damage elsewhere.

In order to bring home ripe grapes this year, we had to work as a team, putting in long, tough hours in the vineyard and carefully coordinating our efforts. Everyone at Bele Casel did their best and I can’t thank them enough for sticking it out to the end.

Could we have done better? Of course, we could have.

We made a few small mistakes this year that we probably could have avoided if we hadn’t been working under such pressure. Regardless, I believe that we’re on the right path and I’m convinced that time will prove me right.

I’d like to the thank the following team members:

Luciano and Claudio, the two guys who work with us and truly did the impossible this year.

My sister Paola, who ran from vineyard to vineyard every day collecting samples from our vines.

My father and his 40 years of experience. During the harvest, he was able to maintain calm when the rest of us would have otherwise been panic-stricken.

My mother and my wife, who had to endure our long workdays.

My two sons, who didn’t get to see a lot of me during those days.

My vineyard team: Armin, Paolo, Patrick, and Giacomo. They taught me a lot this year and they reassured me that I was doing the right thing by laying down my arms (i.e., vineyard treatments) while other neighboring farms continued to spray whatever products they could find to save their grapes.

The tractor that didn’t let us down, even though it’s 11 years old and has logged nearly 6,000 working hours.

The hills of Asolo. You’ll forever be in my heart. Your what made the difference this year.

Our vineyard in Monfumo, which gave us stupendous fruit this year.

Luca Ferraro
grape grower and winemaker

Prosecco diaries: September 2014

We harvested in the month of September. It was a very difficult vintage between the unfavorable weather and the time we lost sorting through the grapes that weren’t suitable for making a quality Prosecco.

I don’t remember ever having to go through such a stressful harvest. We pushed all of our vines to the limit as we monitored their health and ripening on a daily basis.

As I wrote in a previous post, every vine gave different and highly varied results.

Here’s what happened in the month of September.

September 6: we continued to analyze grape samples to understand the progress of ripening.

grape lab analysis

September 9: we began to pick and we brought the first grape must into the cellar.

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