Civiltà del Po - Il vino
L'immagine di un torchio

The Wine

This vintage has been an important constant presence on the vast holding of the Monastary.
The wine, aside from its' use in the liturgical services, was also important for its' nutritional value, not only as an indispensible drink to accompany meals but also for its' hygienic components. The wine was mixed with water eliminating some of the pathogenic elements and impurities in the water itself and was then considered a serum that could prevent and cure infections. The vineyards were arranged in long rows, close to one another formed from a supporting pole structure. In the modern era these rows were then spread out along the borders of the fields or far apart from one another in order to leave enough space to grow grains, while to supporting poles were replaced with trees.
There was in fact, a general demographic increment and the number of families in the colony in the area of the abbey had doubled. This made it necessary to cultivate the fields with grains and fruit trees in the Padana area.
The harvesting of grapes began in mid-September: the grapes were picked with a small hand knife and then collected in baskets made from branches woven together.
When the grapes had been collected they began making the wine. First the grapes were pressed in the open air, by foot inside tins and tubs. The crude wine stayed in these tubs while the must slowly filtered into separate containers.
Later everything was brought into a cellar where the crude wine and must were mixed and left to set for the first fermentation from which the finer wine was chosen to then continue its' fermentation in barrels. The crude wine was then separated, put into water and then filtered in cylinders from which the second wine was created. The rest of the crude wine was left once more in water to create vinello, a lesser wine used to make alcohol.
A factor that contributed to the low quality of the wine, until the XVII century, was the lack of cork to close the bottles. The flasks of wine protected with a layer of oil and then the neck of the flask was covered with fabric or paper. The wine in this kind of flask could not mature or age correctly and was drunk while still young. The crude wine was also used to make distilled alcohol like grappa.
Part of the wine, probably the second wine, was left in barrels that had not been closed hermetically, underwent a second acidic fermentation and became vinegar and was then moved to another part of the cellar dedicated to vinegar. With time there were a large number of micro-organisms used for this transformation, a type of gelatin mass called "mother" that was to wine to transform it. Vinegar produced was very useful as a condiment, cooking spice, preservative and disinfectant.

 
Lambrusco Luna di Marzo - Home page Civiltà del Po