Thursday, September 20, 2007


My neighbor across the street is an Italian fellow in his 80s. When he was a boy back in the old country, he used to lead his donkey from the grape fields to the wineries bringing the grapes to the vintners. He is the very picture of the classic Italian man. His wife of 50+ years is Mexican and has similar traits from her old country. They're an unforgettable couple.

As an aside, if you ever go and visit them, you must go armed. Armed with gifts, that is. It is absolutely impossible to leave their house without carrying something out with you. No matter how strong your protestations may be, you will leave with a bottle of wine, some cut flowers, some food (and what food it is, too!) or something like that. You must strike preemptively with a gift of your own if you are to leave without guilt.

The wine they give you has a particular charm because the man makes it himself. He buys grapes in Escondido and brings them home, still on the stems in bunches. He's got a hand-cranked grape plucking device that pulls the grapes from the stems and then there's a few more steps straight from the old country to get the delicious grape juice into a vat the size of a small hot tub to begin the fermentation process.

He buys enough grapes to fill a full-size pickup truck


After a few months, he ends up with a room full of bottles of outstanding wine which he then gives to visitors. It's like having a little bit of Italy across the street.

1 comment:

Niall Mor said...

He sounds like a delightful fellow, a true paisan. People like that make life worth living.