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A Piece of Family History

Wine Making Talk

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soulie

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Not my family but my wife's family. My wife's great grandfather was from Sicily and brought the tradition of making wine to the New World. When he got here constructed a wine press by basically doing favors for people who had trade skills and gathering equipment in whatever way he could. This is his home made wine press.

WinePress.jpg

Much of it has been replaced, but the cage for the basket and the press base are over 80 years old. So is he:

Nanno_Pressing.jpg

We press with an old mechanical screw jack. The press is rickety and there is much family debate about whether or not to use it, repair it, or put it in a museum. Nanno (in the above picture) insists that we use it.
 
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soulie

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(Photos not formatted properly: working to resolve!)

Resolved!
 
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Runningwolf

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Pretty cool pictures and Gramps! Nice story and memories to go along with them too. It nice when an art and recipes can be passed down to the next generations.
 

countrygirl

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Pretty cool pictures and Gramps! Nice story and memories to go along with them too. It nice when an art and recipes can be passed down to the next generations.
amen, heritage is what makes america special.
 

winemaker_3352

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Yeah - that is cool that you can trace your heritage back that far...
 

soulie

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My wife's great grandfather, Sebastiano, had been a grounds keeper in Sicily. He was very good at grafting trees, growing grapes, and making wine. They came to America for the same reasons that most do: to find prosperity. So he traded in acres of beautiful farms for woolen mills.

As zinfandel was not a variety especially suited to New England, they were forced to buy grapes from the grocers in town. They made wine each year by crushing zinfandel grapes in a vat (leaving the stems), pressing, and then aging in brandy casks. Below is the grape crusher, which is (we think) about 84 years old.

WineCrusher.jpg

Some time in the 80's the quality of the imported grapes was horrible and there were no more grocers in the city so they gave it up. Each year during Thanksgiving we would crack open one of the few remaining bottles and my wife's grandfather, Sam (in photo) would lament not making wine.

So we tracked down the nearest food distribution hub (not far as it turns out) and started it up again. So while this is not my family's tradition, it has become a tradition for me.

The_Whole_Crew2_2007.jpg

Here are all the boys of the family (minus one) together. I'm the only one that isn't at least partially Sicilian. I'll leave it to you to guess.
 

AlFulchino

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beautiful pictures and stories...say hello to him for me...all the old italians look that way...i still have my grandfathers press and plan to place it in the wine tasting room when that gets built
 

AlFulchino

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got to meet this young man, his wife and brand new baby boy today...one of the benefits of this forum...

he came up to verify something about his zin...and after tasting my white and several reds that i had out anyway, i remembered that i had a zin cab blend that i had not released yet...well guess what Marcus...that was not the zin cab that i thought it was ( the last one you tasted)...instead it was a straight cab that i bottled just yesterday, so it was still in bottle shock...oh well next time! :) , the zin was on another shelf!

nice meeting you!!!

Marcus.jpg
 
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soulie

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Thanks for the opportunity to swing by! The orchard is beautiful, the wines are great, and the excuse to get out of the house for the first time since my three week old son was born was fantastic.

As for the cab, I wondered why my zins had more peppery taste than that one. It was a hell of a cab, though. And now I'll have an excuse to come up again.

Thanks for the troubleshooting as well!
 

Wade E

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Its awesome when forum members meet, wish I had some more visitors!
 

AlFulchino

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Wade,,,you live in Ct. no one wants to go to CT except people who want to live close enough to feel part of the 'city' ( NYC)

CT people wont admit they live in New England....they tend to like the yankees...the giants...the mets and jets

its a tough gig living in CT...unlike the Live Free or Die state, NH :)
 

soulie

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Certainly not all of us can be fortunate enough to hail from the motherland. I speak of Maine, of course. :)
 

JohnT

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I am sorry to burst into your conversation, But I also have experienced a heavy pepper (and sometimes grapefruit) flavor in zin. I found that I can control that by limiting the amount of time that the zin sits on the skins. MLB can also further soften it.

Have a zin now that I am quite proud of.

johnT.
 

AlFulchino

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i agree w what you are saying John...i personally like that heavy pepper in a zin

whew..for a minute i thought you were going to extol the virtues of CT :)
 

JohnT

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I live in NJ, but did spend one semester of college in Ct.

It was like a different world. Completely unlike what I was used to.

For example, My first night there, I asked someone where to get some food.
He asked me if I prefer pizza or grinders. Grinders???? I simply said "Pizza".

FYI a grinder is a sub sandwich.

Who the heck cam up with that name??? Grinder??? Geeeze, that does not even remotely sound tasty. I imagine having my teeth worn to their nubs.

Grinder???

Hero: I can understand, describing the fact that they are big.

Hoggie: I can understand since a famous deli was on Hog's Island (hoggie being a nick name for the sandwiches).

Sub: I can understand since it looks like a sub


But Grinder?

That's Ct for ya...
 

myakkagldwngr

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Thanks for the photos and cool story.. I believe heavily in family tradition and keeping track of all the stories you can.
Family is what made this country what it used to be,,, now we've gotten away from that and we've soured in the bottle.
 

UglyBhamGuy

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Grinder (Italian-American slang for a dock worker) — New England (grahyn-der or grahyn-dah), Inland Empire of Southern California. Called grinder due to the fact that it took a lot of chewing to eat the hard crust of the bread used. In parts of Pennsylvania, the terms grinder and hoagie are both used, with the term grinder referring to a sandwich that has been heated up.


I had looked this up before (i think Alton Brown's Good Eats led me to looking), so i knew exactly where to look.
Stolen from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grinder_sandwich
 
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