Ah the end of a first full week of learning and working! I can't even begin to comprehend all of the new things I've learned in one short week. I feel like with every car ride to the Cantina in the morning with Antonio I learn something different. And once I get to the Cantina there's always someone coming to grab me away from my current job to show me something new and interesting. Yesterday (Saturday) I only worked a half day.
When I first got here in the morning the botteling system was being taken down and moved away. It was quit a process; it took them about 2 hours to get it completely moved and packed up. After they moved it it was mine and Manuel's (a native of India who I think grew up in Italy) to take all the random stuff, corks, toppers, labels, boxes, trash and put it where it belonged. Then we swept up a huge pile of broken glass, crusty glue, and lots of dust from the cardboard. After that I got to follow Alessandro around while he worked on cleaning out the tanks. He explained to me that there had been a bad yeast that got into one of the tanks and now the ENTIRE system had to be cleaned out. That's a lot of tank cleaning, that row alone had about 10 tanks it in and the Cantina has about 7 rows I think. Probably one of the funniest things I've seen so far is when Alessandro was inside the tank cleaning and had to stick his head out of this tiny hole to give directions to Manueal. It was so hard not to laugh because he looked so funny with his head cocked to teh side so he could look up to talk. I laugh a lot while I'm working and I love when I'm enjoying what I'm working on. Then he took me to the top of the tanks so I could see the fermentation process actually working. It was really cool to look down inside the tank and see the yeast feeding on the sugar and creating the alcohol. One gigantic science experiment! After this and a few other random things Daniela took me to the house and I spent the afternoon by the pool. I didn't do a lick of anything productive. :)
Daniela picked me up around 7 and I went with her to have dinner at her house. She made a delicious penne with zuchini and cheese sauce for the first plate and a tradtional fried mushroom (that the had found on their own, and these suckers were HUGE) for our second plate. We had her grandma's homemade biscotti and coffe for dessert. Then it was time to get ready and head out for the evening.
Our first stop was the Enoteca, my new favorite place in the world (thus far). We walked into a bar full of very nicely, classily dressed Italians (and in case you are as oblivious to the fact as I was, most top end fashion designers come from Italy. Even people's glasses here are all Dolce and Gabana) and the first thing I see posted on a big board behind the wall is the Wine List. I've never seen so many types of wine offered by the glass or for such low prices. Well some were lowered priced. The prices got hired based on how far away the region was where the wine was made, so a Soave was cheaper than the French imports. Around the corner was another bar which had all the spirits and another huge board offering their wine cocktails! I was like a kid in a candy store. I chose a Tocai wine which I remembered to have a strong Hazelnut smell, but this one was more of a Hazelnut and dirt smell. Still delicious however. I couldn't help but LOVE the fact that I was surrounded by people just like me, who all loved and appreciated wine just like I do. Guys and girls were both drinking out of wine glasses or flutes of Prosecco...it was like I'd finally found my bar. Maybe by the end of the trip one of the Enotecas (oh yes, this type of bar is a frequent occurance in Italy) will be like my Cheers, and everyone will know my name! :)
After the Enoteca we headed to Veince to VillaBonin. At Villa Bonin you walk in through the gates and are handed a drink card. This card keeps track of your tab for the night and also keeps people from being overserved. Also, if you loose this card you must pay €100. This is to keep people from over drinking and getting so out of control they can't keep track of a card. Inside of VillaBonin they have a restaurant which turns into a bar where the tables turn into two long dance floors after dinner, a section for Latin Amercian salsa type music, and the main section which houses the comtempory and pop culture music. There were SO MANY people. Daniela told me that people come to this club from Verona, Vicienza, Veince, and other towns close by. And everyone, young, old, boys, and girls was dancing. Another thing I found very cool is that at the Wine Bar (because yes, they have a whole seperate bar for the wines they serve...ah, have I mentioned how much I love how much they love wine here?) served appetizers, FOR FREE. They had meats and cheeses, pasta dishes, pizzas, crackers...and it kept coming out fresh all night long. I have a feeling this is another effort to keep people from over drinking, and I think it's a splendid idea! It was a great night full of dancing, talking, and eating! It was also a very expensive night as an entry fee and two drinks cost €23, which is right around $30. Eeks.