Monday, July 25, 2016

The Hills Near Perugia…Where the Wine Flows Like Honey and the Cows Grow Big

Today we toured the Lungarotti vineyard and the Fattoria Luchetti Chianina farm in the Perugia area prior to making our two drive to Rome. In Rome we ate our last supper as some of the group starts to head in different directions in the next few days.
We enjoyed one last supper together as an entire group.
I start this blog post where we ended our day with the last supper. The Salud's (toasts) were numerous as we celebrated the Sandi Jaspers and Amber Moe's birthdays with a glass of champagne. In Italy it is customary for the person with the birthday to treat everyone else to dinner or drinks. This can soon become quite an expensive affair for the locals. We chose to follow more of an American birthday celebration with the champagne since birthday cake wasn't available.

Amber Moe and Sandi Jaspers, the birthday ladies.
Over the years Dan Gee has been an instrumental part of, first, the SDARL Organization and then the SDARL Alumni Organization. All the way through ReaJean has been there supporting and connecting with SDARL members, spouses and supporters alike. This evening we celebrated by honoring Dan and ReaJean for their efforts with a set of wine glasses made of Venetian glass.
Thank you, Dan and ReaJean Gee, most importantly for sharing your passion and friendship with us and for helping all of us to become more effective leaders in our homes, communities and in South Dakota. The success of the SDARL in SD continues to grow largely as a result of the vision you and others planted with the start of the program in1999. 
Now back to the agricultural adventures of earlier in the day. We first stopped at the Lungarotti vineyard. Here we followed learning how grapes were pressed, fermented and moved to the maturation process. We then saw how the transfer process uses to make sparkling wines.
The Lungarotti winery, built in 1962, produces over 2,500,000 bottles of wine per year on
about 620 acres. The USA is the second largest importer of Lungarotti wine behind Germany.
The production breaks down to 4000 bottles of wine per an acre.  The average price for a bottle
of wine is between $7 and $30 with reserves selling for more than $570 in some cases.
Based on a $10/bottle average, this vineyard grosses about $44,000/acre. The life of a grape
vine is up to 50 years, with useful fruit production at five years of age.
Once the grapes are pressed large stainless steel vats are used for the
fermentation process, one that takes two to three weeks to complete.
Then the wine is moved to large or small oak barrels for maturation.
The oak barrels can be used up to 50 years when well cared for.
For the Spumante, a transfer process is used to remove the sediment, sweeten and carbonate the
wine.  This process takes 45 days and during that time the bottles are turned and tipped to
different angles to get all the sediment to go to the top of the bottle.
This winery makes over 40,000 bottles of Spumante each year. to remove the sediment, the tops of the bottle is frozen, the sediment removed, and the sweetness and carbonation added. Then the bottle is corked and ready for the consumer.
At the conclusion of our tour we taste four wines (the four center bottles) and two olive oils (on either end.)
Cheers from Bob and Karen Thaler and Dan and Jeanie Sobieck!
Terry and Sandi Jaspers raise a glass.
Kevin and Amber Moe picked up a few bottles for the road.
For lunch and a tour of a Chianina cattle farm we went to Fattoria Luchetti. This farms is 990 acres and raises 600 head of cattle. The views in this area are spectacular. 

We ate lunch on the second level of this beautiful farm house.
A majority of the meals we have eaten as been family style with up to five
or six courses including the espresso at the end of the meal. 
Here was the chefs and serving crew at our lunch. Out of all the wonderful food we have
eaten, this was one of our  favorite meals so far. It tok five chefs to prepare our meal
(the five on the right) and an additional server to take care of our group.
We then toured the farm, focusing on the Chianina herd. This breed of cattle is very large. The standing female pictured above is taller than me with her head lifted and I am 5'6". When fattened this breed gains five to six pounds per day on a ration of 50% hay, 25% proteins and 25% minerals. This herd is raised in confinement. 
This pure bred breed is not seen as much in the USA as it does not do as well in a high grazing environment. 

Here are a few views of the country side from the farm we toured today.

Most machinery is much smaller than we are used to seeing in South Dakota as in Italy.
Panoramic view from the farm.