It’s now 21st September and our time has been full, very full, since I last wrote. The last week of August was fully occupied hosting, as usual, a volley-ball training camp for two girls teams from the south of Udine. As the girls spilled out of the mini-buses in the car park, the last holiday guests hastily finished their breakfasts under the pergola, raced to their rooms and, bags in hand, bid speedy goodbyes in an effort to be away before the worst of the onslaught was upon them. Suddenly the peace and tranquillity that had prevailed until just seconds before was broken as the place filled-up with giggling, talking and shouting teen-age girls (and their parents)!
Poor Maritza, the cleaner, and Luca’s mum valiantly pushed-on cleaning the rooms instantly vacated and preparing them for their new adolescent occupants.
The week went well. Many of the girls had been to previous camps and we all settled into an easy routine. We had Johanna from Germany volunteering the whole week and towards the end two Swedish ladies, one of them a proper Chef, came to volunteer as well so the kitchen side of things was well covered.
During this last week of August it dawned upon me that we would probably begin the grape harvest in the following week. A week when La Faula would return to its normal role of hosting summer holiday-makers. The idea really didn’t appeal much. The grape-harvest and wine-making require a fair amount of dedication and to have to run the Agriturismo as well, especially the catering side, seemed rather daunting! In fact, we were saved by the Swedish ladies who took the kitchen in hand and served delicious meal after delicious meal. The best part was that we would sit under the pergola ourselves, guests for a moment. It was a very nice experience.
It requires a very small increase in a year’s average temperature to bring forward significantly the maturation of the grapes. The tendency now for a number of years has been for the grape-harvest to occur always earlier than it had historically. This is going to require some rethinking and reorganisation on our part. The plus side is that the harvest is mostly over before you even get midway through October. Already the white wines are made and in the winery. We will begin the harvest of the Merlot on Wednesday and maybe by the end of next week the grape harvest will be over.