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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

New Bodega - A Bit of Gardening (and Classifying Junk and Scrap)

Do you know how to make your fingers and arms really sore? Easy! Just spend a whole day tidying up the patio of a bodega, grabbing, lifting, carrying and hauling junk and scrap!

This is what one side of the building now looks like:

Nice n tidy!
The stonework is now visible, as before it was covered up with assorted junk and rubbish. I found lots and lots of concrete blocks scattered all over the patio, hidden in the grass, and which I kept, as they may come in useful in the future, and in the meantime maybe I could plant flowers in them! I also kept those big stones.

I separated out the wood (mostly old pallets, but also planks and bits and pieces), which will have to be either burnt or taken to the local "Punto Limpio" (municipal rubbish dump). If we choose to burn it, we'll have to wait till October, as at the present time it's completely forbidden to start fires anywhere (even in the middle of a built-up area) due to the risk of forest fires - of which there have been several already in the neighbourhood, the nearest ones in Cebreros and in Almorox.

Bits of wood - to be got rid of, somehow!
And I also separated out the metal, which hopefully we'll be able to sell to the local scrap merchant.

Scrap metal (1)

Scrap metal (2)

Scrap metal (3)
Yet more scrap metal in a store-room

Then I cut some grass and brambles, and made these piles of leaves, grass and bramble shoots:

Cleaning up the patio
I'd like (one day!) to make a little vegetable garden here. But that will have to wait for next year, as other priorities beckon, ie getting everything ready to make some wine - and the grape harvest is just round the corner. The Albillo harvest is in about a week or two, but I think I'm going to give it a miss this year. I'd rather wait a year and do it properly next year, than rush in and be all stressed out this year. I haven't had time to find a Albillo grower or even look at any Albillo vineyards. So I shall just wait for the Tempranillo and the Airén and the Malvar and the Garnacha, and the Sauvignon Blanc and the Chelva  (which is plenty to be getting on with!) and maybe some other varieties too, which are all in September and October, and so I'll be ready and relaxed :)

I also "saved" a vine that was growing wild in the corner of the patio. I managed to find some nails and some strips of metal, which I hammered into the wall, and trained the vine over them:

Not a very good job so far - I need to set up a system of posts and wires, but again other priorities beckon this year!

I said "saved" in inverted commas, because of course the vine was doing perfectly well without my help. Vines have been around for about 200 million years, while homo sapiens for only about 1/2 a million, and we've only been cultivating grapes and making wine for about 8000 years! So go figure if vines need humans to help them survive!!!

What else? Well I've moved most of my stuff in, though I've still got a few trips to make from the old bodega in Morata de Tajuña. This is what my corner of the new bodega is looking like at the moment:

My winemaking stuff
From left to right:

Old oak barrels (mostly American, but also two French) with the tops taken off, for fermenting. I've been dowsing them with water so that the wooden staves expand and the barrels become watertight (or winetight!). When they're empty, they tend to dry out and gaps appear between the staves.

White plastic fermentation tank, capacity 1000 liters. I've never used plastic before, so this will be a new experience for me this year. I bought two of them second-hand from my friend and fellow natural wine-maker, Alfredo Maestro.

Then, barely visible at the back are two manual basket presses. I'm thinking of buying another manual basket press, but this time a hydraulic one. I think I'll need one because I'm planning on making a lot more wine this year, ie increasing my output from ca 5000 bottles to ca 10000 bottles. And those manual presses are very very s l o w. We shall see.

Then there's another 1000 liter white plastic fermentation tank, and then all my usual stainless steel fermentation tanks, that I've been using for the last ten years: 200, 300, 500 and 700 liters.

Lastly, two old oak barrels, unopened, which I'm going to use for ageing some reds, a Tempranillo and a Garnacha. But first they have to be thoroughly cleaned.

Here's a different view of the same stuff:

The same stuff, seen from above
Now you can see the two amphoras ("tinajas" in Spanish) that I'll be using to make my Malvar 'orange' style wines. I may also buy another larger amphora this year. I'm still looking. The other week I went to see some, with Daniel Ramos (with whom I'm sharing the bodega) but they were asking for too much. Maybe we'll do some negotiating and haggling :)

And lastly, this is the temperature I was greeted by as I got into my car to drive back home after a hard day's gardening and classification of scrap and rubbish:

Luckily I'd parked the car in the shade, otherwise it would have been a bit hot in there :)

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