Massaging grapes to produce better wine

Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:28am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) Italian vintner Stefania Pepe is a supporter of biodynamic agriculture and even massages her grapes before turning them into wine.

She believes gentle massage gives the grapes a good feeling and also ensures that only ripe grapes are used in the wine.

"Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I believe you have to make wine special. You have to imbue it with love and energy. I give my grapes my love and my energy," she said during Italy's Vin2009 expo.

"It's not all analysis. It's not all chemicals. Only love can make my wine," the 43-year-old insisted before demonstrating how she gently massaged the grapes on a wooden board.

Pepe, who is five-months pregnant, is also enthusiastic and eager to convert others to biodynamic wines.

"Wine is made in the vineyard," she said, repeating a common adage among winemakers who note that great wine starts with the best fruit.

Biodynamic agriculture is based on the ideas of the Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner, who reportedly was a tea-totaler and never drank wine or spirits.

Supporters of biodynamic agriculture consider the farm as a living system. They use special methods, including burying cow manure in cow horns in the fields and using compost that includes Chamomile and Yarrow flowers, to enhance the soil to produce wines that are stronger, better balanced and have more vibrant tastes.   Continued...

<p>A grape picker cleans a bunch of grapes during a day of grape harvest at le Clos Saint Vincent vineyard in Bellet, on the outskirts of Nice, south-eastern France September 21, 2005. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard</p>