Sunday, March 28, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Now that the Goldmuskatllers are done being pruned, we have been quickly going through the rest of the vines. The step after pruning is binding where you bind the vines to a piece of rebar that sticks out of the ground. This will keep the vines close to the trellising as the grapes grow. As stated in a previous post this used to be done with willows but has now been replaced with plastic tubing. The tubing is one consecutive piece that is rolled into a bag. You also have this ring with a small blade on it used to cut the plastic. When you come to a vine you tie the plastic around both the vine and rebar, twice over and cut. You must also cut away any of the old binding, in this case there were twist ties. You do this three times up until the 2nd wire. You want to make sure the vine is tight and then move on to the next one.
On Wednesday the students were going to take a tour of Schlos Tirol lead by Sizzo. Nik was kind enough to allow me to also go and cut out of work a bit early. Schloss Tirol has been a presence in the region for almost 900 years, built in the early 12th century. The castle towers over the area and can be clearly seen day or night. It has served many different purposes but has been a constant sign of dominance. Its history is tied with South Tirol. This was my first trip up there and Sezto gave a quick history of the region and of Schloss Tirol. The tour was only about 2 hours, but I could have easily spent a whole day there learning about the castle.
The tour was to start at four so I went up with two GMC alumni who were visiting. Johnny and Ashley came to Brunnenburg last week to see Jane and the family. Johnny was a farm boy off and on for nearly nine months. The students arrived a bit after us and we all waited for Sizzo to come down and start the tour. We walked to the front of the castle where we had a great view of the valley below. Sizzo then told us a brief history of the region.
Glaciers carved the valley around 30,000 years ago. Glaciers covered most of the northern hemisphere during the last ice age. They would alter this area for years to come and define how people in this region survived. Twenty thousand years later the glaciers started to retreat as the earth slowly began to warm. The valley was chaotic during this time with huge rivers of melted ice wearing away the mountains. After the glacier was gone the valley looked almost as it does today.
Evidence shows that early farmers moved into the area around 4,000 B.C.E. mostly growing cereals. These farmers could not farm in the valley itself because it was too swampy so they would clear patches of forest around the valley and farm. You can still see isolated farms in the valley where the forest is cleared. There is evidence of different settlements in the region that were around throughout the Bronze and Iron ages. They were located either in the alpine region above the tree line or sunny terraces of the valley's slope.
Fast forward 4,000 years and you have the Romans moving into the area. They built a road into the valley that connected the region with the rest of their empire. The area was now under the control of the Romans but they did not venture up into the mountains. They only assimilated the settlements that were close to the road forcing them to learn Latin and pay taxes. The practice of wine making was already in the region but the Romans brought in new agricultural practices and ideas.
As the Roman power began to crack around 300 C.E., Christen missionaries made their way into South Tirol, but unlike the Romans travel up to the higher regions to spread the word of God. There is actual evidence that three churches were built on the same land where Schloss Tirol stands, one on top of each other. These churches were also built on old Roman fortifications. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church stepped in and became the dominant power of the area. They collected taxes, enforced the law and generally kept order. South Tirol continued to grow and change. Around 1100 C.E. Schloss Tirol emerged as visible sign of imperial power over the region. I will end the history lesson for now until I get another chance to get up to the castle.
One of the more interesting aspects of the tour came at the very end at the entrance of the church in the castle. They call the entrance a portal and it had different symbols representing different aspects in the Christian religion. Although I am not religious myself, I was interested in the mythology behind it. The next few pictures are the different parts of the portal and I will describe each of them.
Sizzo explaining the portal
Right above the door is an image of Jesus Christ being crucified. The two other men are Joesph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who were the ones who took Jesus from the cross. The scene is also of Jesus being resurrected and heading too heaven. Below him is a hand, which is presumably that of Adam. During the three days that Jesus was dead he went to the underworld and gathered all the souls of past Christians who were not baptized. He then led these souls up to heaven during his resurrection.