Above: The Cirelli farm in the Atri township in Teramo province, Abruzzo last week.
The following letter was sent to me late last week by my friend, grape grower and winemaker Francesco Cirelli, who produces Trebbiano, Cerasuolo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. I think you’ll find it as moving as I did. And I also think you’ll be interested to see the tendone– (i.e., pergola-) trained vines, however blurry the photos. My translation of his email follows. Thanks for reading.
I’ve attached some photos of the snowfall that we had at the end of November.
Fortunately, as far as I know, there was no serious damage in the Atri township.
In the area where I grow grapes, more damage was done by the heavy rainfall that flooded the flats [last week]. The fields had been plowed and were ready to be seeded. At this point, we’ll skip this year’s harvest.
As you can see in the photos of tendone-trained vines, despite the fact that no pre-pruning was done, they did not collapse.
As you already know, certain areas were hit with a different type of snow, a much heavier snow that caused vines to collapse after accumulating on the leaves. It’s a tragedy.
There’s already been a lot of discussion among Abruzzo winemakers and we’ve been trying to decide how we should express our solidarity to our fellow winemakers who have been affected by this tragedy.
I know that some of the more important winemakers have already sent letters to the authorities and I hope that the government will respond by offering financial aid, the only remedy at this point, for the extraordinary damage caused by the storm.
There is no relief for the human damage and pain caused by the storm. That’s the saddest thing.
The government may not be able to help. But we grape growers can help by rolling up our sleeves and helping to clean up the vineyards that have collapsed. That’s the best way we can offer our support and show our compassion.