A vineyard on the roof among skyscrapers

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A vineyard on the roof among the skyscrapers

Vines grown on rooftops in New York, Rooftop Reds, have been talked about the world over, and it’s really easy. Let me tell you how to grow an urban vineyard

Seen for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Rooftop Reds New York

Rooftop Reds New York

As there are many urban vegetable gardens now the vineyard on the loft must not create illusions: this will not be the beginning of a career at will bring to a managerial role at Château Lafite Rothschild.

Rooftop Reds Team

Rooftop Reds Team

However it is a new trend. And it is a lot less complicated than what it might seem. All you need is a terrace and a lot of passion. The idea comes from Devin Shomaker, a young New Yorker who is also about to be financed to develop the project. The vineyard on the terrace seems about to duplicate the success of vegetables grown on the balcony and tomatoes grown in bags.  This type of production has been studied for residual toxins absorbed from traffic. To swap domestic productions for something else that was absolutely healthy, only because they have no pesticides is wrong because leaves can also absorb heavy metals in polluted air. However to grow plants is however a fun activity and it stimulates the consumption of vegetables so it must be encouraged. Here are the instructions, but please do not dream of making a great wine, just be

Urban Vineyard Rooftop Reds

Urban Vineyard Rooftop Reds

happy to play a game called “petit vigneron”. To produce a barrique full of wine you need 230 vines grown in vases and a terrace of at least 300 square meters well exposed to the sun and a big water cistern, water with no chlorine, so from a well or rainwater. This is usually the largest problem, but also the most serious. You need advice form an agronomist friend just as for the vinification you need a helping hand from a wine maker, with these your dream can come true.

The vineyard in spring Rooftop Reds

The vineyard in spring Rooftop Reds

You will also need a de-stemmer and crushed, but maybe with a lot of friends available to work a whole day maybe removing the stems can be done by hand; in fact it will only be about 300 kg of grapes and to de-stem can actually be fun! For the fermentation you will need a small stainless steel vat with a lid and a pump for creating a vacuum for the next phases. The temperature control of the alcohol fermentation needs some ideas, but keeping the outside of the vat cool with cold water it should be possible to keep the temperature under control. To rack the vat a small hand press should be easy to find in a d-i-y store. In February after the first racking, your wine will be made nobler with an ageing in barrique, and then finally the bottling using a hand coking machine, and then label by hand dreaming of  Pepi Quintarelli. Sulfur values, yeasts and other things must be arranged with the wine maker friend who certainly will have fun with this collaboration in homemade winemaking. Rough cost of the operation 3.000-3.500€ (plus the help of some gardeners for the sulfur and copper treatments) for 290 bottles of homemade wine, fascinating if not of high quality, and a year and a half of pure fun.

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