epicurious.com: wwoofing in italy, the pig sty

Notes from Italy: Brunello, Broken Stemware, And A Pig Sty
by Alison Baenen
on 04/16/09 at 05:23 PM

An Easter celebration was winding down when we arrived at San Polino on Sunday after a long trip, and our host mom’s first question after greeting us was, “Are you hungry?”

For me, the answer to that question is always yes, so I was pleased to know that matters of the stomach would be taken seriously by those in charge. After sampling Colomba Pasqua, a traditional Easter cake that looks like a squashed (but moist and fluffy) version of its namesake, our host mom showed us to our apartment. It is as rustic as promised. Set apart from the main house, “La Porcellaia” is a small room with an attached bathroom that provided us with our first farm-specific Italian language lesson: porco means pig and porcellaia means pig sty. You get the idea.

With at least four bottles of wine from the family’s vineyard on the table, dinner that night was rowdy. Between glasses we learned that a bottle of their Brunello retails for about 75 euros, due, in part, to the small scale of their production: about 1,500 cases a year. Everything, from harvesting and picking to bottling and boxing, is done on the property. It’s a testament to the allure of the wine that toward the end of evening I managed to break a wineglass while reaching past empty wine bottles for a fullish one. I hope our host family perceived the act as the compliment it was.