Il Grappolo d’Uva ( The Bunch of Grapes)

Not a British pub unfortunately but today following the rain yesterday I popped down to the vineyard where I buy my grapes for wine making in September to see how things were.

the vines


To my untutored eye they looked good but quite quickly after I started to wander around Arcangelo the grower came down the path from his house next door.

Arcangelo the grower


he is 83 years old and still grows grapes as well as having 500 olive trees and a huge vegetable patch. Last year he made 750 litres of wine and also harvested and sold grapes to wannabe  wine makers like me. He grows only Negroamaro grapes for red wine. He told me the rains were superb coming just at the right time and because it was light rain it was ideal for soaking into the soil.  At the moment he has not pruned away the thick leaf foliage that covers the grapes. The sun is too hot and will burn the grapes turning them into raisins on the vine. In September we will take the leaves away for the last few weeks. They look good

Hidden gems


Tucked away in their little hidey holes and in the main almost impossible to see. The only grapes visible were at the end of the rows of vines where the sun couldn’t reach them.

una grapola


We adjourned to his large covered patio and sat in the shade with a cool breeze blowing through. His wife brought coffee and we talked about wine and I told him in broken Italian how my first year of wine making hadn’t gone too well.  Drinkable but nothing special mainly because my partner in crime was busy doing other work and we were always late doing the necessary and therefore rushed. Mike he said you cannot just make wine, you must be ‘ appassionato ‘ about it . He is going to help me more this year as his wines last over two years in the bottle without using sulphur or additives and that is what I am keen to make as well. I too  must become appassionato.

To prove it’s longevity we had a glass of his 2011 wine  and he kindly gave me two bottles to try at home from his cantina under the house. There he had also hung his tomatoes that he will eat  at Christmas.

As we again sat sipping the wine back on the patio he asked me why I lived in Italy. I looked out over his vineyard on a warm morning and pointed to the grapes , his vegetable patch with all the homegrown produce, the wine in our glasses and at us sitting together chatting as his wife started to prepare the fresh food for lunch and just smiled . Paradiso I said.


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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4 Responses to Il Grappolo d’Uva ( The Bunch of Grapes)

  1. nettleton500 says:

    Wine without sulphur?
    I asked my organic local wine grower why my home made wine turns to vinegar and he explained to me that there is an enzyme in the grape which will naturally turn wine into vinegar unless this particular enzyme is killed off by the addition of sulphur.
    The Romans apparently were aware of this and added sulphur to their wine also.
    will be interested to here your progress without the addition! Jonathan

    • hereinpuglia says:

      They also don’t add yeast either relying on the yeast that is in the ground and is blown onto the grapes to provide the fermentation. Arcangelo says that his wine will last 2-3 years as long as you are careful with keeping air out of the process both in the demi-johns and when bottling. He also uses metal tops rather than corks which again he says keeps the air out. Guess I shall find out !! You should come down Jonathan and have a tasting next year. Cheers Mike

  2. nettleton500 says:

    Would you ask Arcangelo if there is a malolactic fermentation in his red wine and if so at what stage during the wine making process this would take take?
    I would have thought that if this secondary fermentation take place there would need to release valve in the demi john?
    If this is not the case, I understand the only way of stopping it is with sulphur.
    I would totally agree with not having sulphur in wine as it is this that can make one feel a little seedy the morning after the night before!
    Over here in S.W. france my organic wine makers tell me that their malolactic fermentation can take place up to year after the initial wine making and they only use natural yeast found on the skins.
    The wine makers who produce cheap red wine for supermarkets spray the insides of their vats with sulphur before putting the newly made wine in, this kills the natural yeasts and they then wait 3 days before adding wine or bread yeast to start the process and of course this also prevents the malolactic ferment ion.
    Regards Jonathan

    • hereinpuglia says:

      I will indeed have a chat with him hopefully over this weekend. I have armed myself with useful Italian wine phrases and will see how I go. He seems to manage as many do down here to get a higher alcohol reading up in the 12-14 level which my home wines supplier near your old UK house said was impossible but then said it might be to do with the temperatures down here.

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