Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I am a printmaker as well as farmer and when we started making wine, I started making wine labels. One of the perils as a beginning winemaker however is that the wine isn't always agreeable. My first attempt at a Chianti had a lovely garnet color as I poured it all out into the compost pile..a poor quality vingear that was the result of too many "advisors" and not enough experience to follow my own judgement.
So in 2006 when we held back some of the white grapes from the Red wine we were making, we crushed and fermented them separately as an attempt to make a decent white wine for summer drinking or at least a decent cooking wine. I waited to taste the finished wine before thinking about making avoid wasting all that work.
Unfortunately, that backfired. Once I'd realized that the wine was pretty decent and got to work on the labels it was too late. By the time the labels were done, we'd drunk most of the wine.
I was left with 50 hand-made wine labels and lots of empty bottles.
Lacrime di Rospo is a woodcut carved on 1 plank of Italian beechwood and printed in brown ink on handmade Japanese paper.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lacrime di Rospo translates from the Italian to mean in English, "Toad's Tears". Long ago and for reasons I can no longer recall I adopted as my muse and mascot the common toad, bufus bufus. As an American living in Italy, a land of rich and sometimes binding traditions and history, when I started making wine I tried to keep it fun and irreverent.
While a wonderful, sweet, white dessert wine exists (Lacrime di Cristo, DOCG), our wine, each year is something else. We grow our own grapes, crush by foot using traditional methods and make less wine in a year than the average winery spills on the floor on a given day and the results of our efforts at the end of the fermention, decanting, ageing and bottling is often comical, sometimes delicious, never reliable and completely unsaleable.
I hope to spend time sharing what it is like to be an occasional organic farmer/gardener, hobby winemaker, sometimes artist, and oftener and oftener a full-time parent and husband. Hopefully my musings will be of interest to someone.
I hope to post images of the farm and my artwork in the coming days. I welcome all comments, encouragements and corrections.