I added more to the end of the post before this, so make sure you read my updates there before you move on to Wednesday!
Wednesday morning I came in and had a project right off the bat. They needed someone to enlarge the map of the winery's pipelines and tanks system. Augusto chose me, partly because it would something I could actually do, and partly because I wasn't being much of a help anywhere else at the moment. So I went to work with a ruler and a pencil and tiny sections of graph paper taped together and tried my best to keep it to scale. In the end they were pleased with my map and I kind of understood a little bit better the whole system. Kind of. At least I understand there at certain tanks for fermentation and certain tanks for cooling juice. The cooling system, Antonio explained to me, is a new system for Fattori this year. It helps to stabilize the natural fermentation of the juice, and then they run it through a machine that kills all the natural bacteria so that they can control how much and what kind of fermentation the juice gets and are able to achieve the flavors and body of wine they want. After lunch I went to work on cleaning the control panels for the pressing machine as well as the metal safety bars. There's been a lot of cleaning lately and from what I understand I think we're getting ready to switch from the Pinot Grigio harvest to the Chardonnay harvest. Also there are a lot of controls on Wineries in Italy so I have a feeling things have to be kept pretty spotless. After cleaning I got to help Alessandro make the yeast for a batch of juice that had just come into the Cantina. First we had to get two large tubs. These large tubs got half filled with water warmed to I think 40 degrees Centigrade. Then we added large amounts of yeast. I got to use my WHOLE arm to stir the yeast into the water to get it dissolved. Then we gave the yeast a little bit of sugar and a lot of yeast food. All of that also had to be stirred quickly with my entire arm. I had yeast all up my arm, in my watch, in my hair, on my face, in my nose, all of over my shirt and I smelled of freshly baked bread. It was a blast! After mixing and feeding the yeast we had to let it grow. So the two large tubs got poored into one ginormous tub and an air tub was inserted to help the yeast turn over and move around so it could all get some air. Once the yeast was active enough and the must (grape juice) was at the correct tempture Alessandro started to add the must to the yeast little by little. Once the must was tempered into the yeast he moved the must/yeast mixture to a tank so it could ferment to about double it's size. Then later that night he moved the doubled yeast/must mixture to different tanks to start the fermentation process in larger tanks of must. Whoo...I learned a lot of Wednesday!
Wednesday night Antonio was in London to receive an award for his Molto Piane Soave so I decided to make a mess of the kitchen at the house... :)Sarah had brought us more tomatoes from her garden. Is it possible to overdose on Lycopene? I had to think of something to do with these tomatoes. My first thought was salsa, but I hadn't seen any tortilla chips in Italy yet so I figured I'd make a tomato sauce for pasta instead. I also decided that I would make an object language lesson out of it as well. So before I started I looked up all the vocabulary that I thought I might need for my cooking experience and made flash cards with them. Then as I made my sauce I forced myself use the vocabulary, I wouldn’t get a pot unless I knew how to say "I need a pot," (Io ho bisogno di una pentola). It was a slooow process...about 4 hours worth of cooking and learning, but it was fun and useful and totally worth it. In the end I ended up with enough pasta sauce for an army and about 50 new words added to my Italian vocabulary.
Thursday morning I was put to work cleaning the osmosis machine. Unfortunetly I didn't clearly understand exactly how it works, but it helps to seperate water from the juice...I think. I'm going to have to ask for clearification on that one. Thursday afternoon I spent being Agusto's ombra (shadow) because there wasn't a whole lot to do. Not too much to report of Thursday.