Friday, October 22, 2010

Vineyard Hopping-Harvest Time with Mastroberardino (AV)

Months of vineyard hopping. It all boils down to this-harvest time...Harvest time in Campania.
To say that this time of year is the busiest for a winery would probably be the understatement of the year.
I wanted to life in the vineyard during this exciting period.

My golden opportunity came when enologist Massimo Di Renzo invited me to swing by Mastroberardino.

He didn't have to ask me twice...

We met up in Atripalda (Av) where the winery is located.  Antonio Dente, Mastroberardino's agronomist whisked me off in his SUV to Lapio (Av) about 12 minutes away.  The Fiano di Avellino harvest had begun that morning. Lapio, about 450 meters above sea level, where the soil is clayey, chalky, and heavy.  He drove me to a territory where many believe that the Fiano grape expresses itself the best.  Here where it is able to bask in the southern sunlight and refresh itself in the evenings.

A stroll through the vineyards with Antonio Dente is a sommelier student's dream.  To watch an agronomist walk between the endless rows of vines, pick, taste, converse with his team, direct, observe....Vineyard hopping DOC...

Many say that wine is made in the vineyards.  I witnessed this up close and personal.  How important it is to know the right time to harvest, to take that grape that you have been nurturing for several months and with your years of experience say ...Now.

Fiano was ready...workers harvesting under the Indian summer sun...beautiful to watch.

But our day had just begun.  Antonio needed to check on other vineyards.  My Irpinia Immersion was getting more and more stop-Greco Country...Santa Paolina, Tufo, and finally stopping at Montefusco.

Once again, a walk with Antonio, una passeggiata to check on Greco di Tufo which was almost...almost ready for the harvest.

As much as I love the vineyards, I was curious to see what was going on back at the winery.  Quite a bit of activity.  The truck had just arrived from Lapio with Fiano grapes.  Grapes that were on their way to becoming Mastroberardino's Fiano di Avellino.  Massimo Di Renzo showed me the process.  A process that I had read about, seen the machines during 'off season', but never saw in action...

Fiano, destemmed, pressed, sent to the stainless steel vat.  All controlled by computer.
Massimo showed me his Fiano, liquid form, in three different versions.  Must from grapes that were just pressed, another vat with Fiano from another vineyard harvested a couple of days before, and a glass of fermenting Fiano.

Nose to the glass...beautiful fresh fruit aromas during fermentation. Aromas that reminded me why Fiano di Avellino is one of my favorite white wines.  Aromas that concluded my vineyard hopping experience with Mastroberardino, Massimo, and Antonio on a sweet note.

Karen...why don't you come back in a couple of weeks?  We still need to pick Piedirosso and Aglianico...


Mastroberardino Winery
Via Manfredi 75/81
Atripalda (Av) 83042


  1. What an amazing experience! Tell me that you're going to head back for the subsequent harvests! Imagine tasting the wine months/years from now and knowing that you were there. Saluti!