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  • Homemade Wine

    Part 1 of 2 - Family Memories

    By Anthony Parente

    wine crates
    As many Italians immigrated to America they brought with them the traditions that have been in their families for generations. One of these great traditions is that of making homemade wine.

    During the fall I can remember my Dad making his annual trek down to the Strip District in Pittsburgh, PA to purchase grapes so he could make his own wine. He would come back with anywhere from 50-80 crates. My Father preferred red wine over white wine so most of the crates contained the purple grapes. He would make anywhere from 120-170 gallons of wine. He was always proud of his vintage and he would give out his wine to friends, family and business associates during Christmas.

    Once the grapes were purchased it was only a matter of time before we crushed them, which would began the process of fermentation. Before we could begin the process all of the equipment needed to be scrubbed and washed. It is a pain staking process, yet essential to the wine making process. Once everything was ready we would prepare to crush the grapes. My Dad used an electric crusher, which would sit on top of this rather large wooden barrel. One by one we would begin to carry in the crates until we had all of them crushed. He usually filled three to four wooden barrels. Once they were crushed the grapes would remain in the barrels and each night my Dad or Mom would go down and use a long piece of wood to push the grapes down. Within a week or two it was time to press the grapes and fill the five gallon glass jugs with the wine. The jugs were capped and they would sit in the cellar. This would allow the sediment to settle to the bottom. It has been some time since I have had an opportunity to take part in this tradition. Since the passing of my Father and then my Brother this tradition stopped, but my memories did not.

    Part 2: The Wine Making Process

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