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And Zanella had the technology. Again, when pleasure is your rule, you embrace change or preserve tradition according to that rule. Zanella may have worked to preserve the house style at Ca' del Bosco, but it's a far cry from those early, earthy days of the '70s. "The vineyard manager puts a bar code on each palette of grapes that comes into the winery," he explained. "The code indicates the varietal, the vineyard, and the sanitary state — how the grapes look, if there is any rot. Perfect is five, a lot of problems is one. The pressing speed in the winery is determined by this code — if the harvest is difficult, the machines run slowly, because you need more time to do the hand selection of grapes. And the receiving door won't accept a crate of grapes if the code is from the wrong vineyard. Everything in its place." Once inside, the grapes are cooled to just before the point where condensation would kick in, keeping excess moisture out and fermentation down until the winemaker is ready to get things started. The precision temperature control allows Zanella, for example, to shift his Chardonnay into barrels mid-fermentation and so derive just the degree of barrel-fermented character he desires.

"It's like the beginning of Space Mountain at Disneyland," marveled Parzen, "where you see all the robots working. But not in an anonymous way."

*Credit where it's due: Do Bianchi is also where I found the account of the conversation between Veronelli and Selvaggio.

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