Our May posts got washed away!
Ok so the title of this post may sound a bit dramatic and little bit like an excuse for not handing in our homework…such as ‘the train had a flat tyre!’.
But seriously, you may have all heard about the terrible flooding in the neighbouring province of Emilia-Romagna. Well, it wasn’t as bad in Tuscany but it was still a very strange month. Some days it felt like the summer was about to start and the next day, we were back in November weather. May is usually the month when we do our ‘Cambio Armadio’ - wardrobe space tends to be limited in Italian houses so once every six months you take out all your clothes and pack them away and bring out your summer/winter clothes. This year we postponed it three times and boy were we glad we did.
Another fun fact about Italy is that it is actually illegal to heat your houses after 1st May because, of course, you never need to. This year, ahem, ahem, ahem, suffice it to say that we stayed warm. 😬
May did see the start of our season at the agriturismo. We now know to expect some teething problems regardless of all the preventative maintenance we do. For our first group of guests one of the boilers broke down in the middle of the night when the temperature was only 8°! Of course it had to happen that night. Of all nights.
We also started selling our Rosso di Montepulciano wine. Our wine is even for sale in the Enoliteca at the Fortezza in the historic center of Montepulciano. You would not believe how much of a buzz we got from seeing the first bottle of Golo for sale on the shelves and in the dispensing machines. It’s important to celebrate these milestones – with a glass of Golo of course!
In the vineyards themselves the rain was clearly helpful to restore the water table and to help the 2,200 barbatelle (new cuttings) which we planted in early May. This is all part of restoring the vineyard to full health. At the same time, the rain-heat-rain combination dramatically increases the risk of a fungus attack in the vineyard. Niall has learned a new word (Peronospora). He tells everyone that anything with ‘spora’ in it cannot be good news…
Now, because we are an organic vineyard, we are limited in the treatments we can use. Our treatments sit on the outside of the grape and don’t penetrate the skin. So, of course, that means they get washed off in the next rain shower! We therefore treat often and we worry.
We worry about the weather, about the cost of treatments, about one of our neighbouring vineyards who we don’t think is applying enough treatments, about the Milan derby (AC Milan v Inter Milan), about what people think of our wine (no seriously we do!), about the repaired boiler, about the other one too, about when we can open the swimming pool at home...... (and that’s when we lost all sympathy!).
Difficult as it is, we are developing appropriate coping mechanisms, aka 'R&D'. Tasting a different wine at the end of the week with our amazing team or going off to another part of Tuscany to taste the wines there.
…to end, we will leave you with this visual:
It’s raining so the electricity at the Villa has tripped. Our really lovely American guests very understandably would like flowing water and some of it to be hot. Elia and Niall are investigating. They find a snake in the distribution box. Two minutes later, Elia is jumping up and down, waving an umbrella at the snake, and Niall is beating the living crap out of it with a pizza paddle. Once the snake has exited the premises, Elia asks Niall if he thinks the guests have noticed. They both turn to look at the villa and see six smiling Americans waving….
You can't make this stuff up.
Until next time....
Niall & Paari