Video of Frank making wine. (Photo by Mark Micheli/Video by Franco)
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Frank Pallaria as he made wine in his basement in Haverhill, Mass. Frank has only been making wine for about one or two years now, but already, he’s got a great setup and an energetic work ethic.
Unlike most home winemakers, Frank doesn’t make wine just once a year. He makes it twice a year when the grapes are ready in September in the northern hemisphere and again in May when they’re ready for harvesting in the southern hemisphere. So when I visited him last month, he was crushing grapes that came from South America — Chile and Argentina, to be exact.
Frank embodies the attitude and true spirit of rootsliving . He is an avid gardener who turns out a huge crop of tomatoes each year that he crushes and cans. I have been trading my wine for his tomatoes for more than five years now. However, I didn’t actually meet Frank in person until about year or two ago. He’s a friend of my friend, Joe Gemellaro, and Joe has been acting as middle man for our bartering: collecting an extra bottle of vino or jar of tomatoes in the process.
Frank always tells me he loves my wine. But I’ll tell you there’s nothing better than opening up a jar of Frank’s tomatoes on a cold day in February and using it to make a hearty red sauce. The scent fills my kitchen with memories of summer.
(© 2009 Mark Micheli)