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Local wines ready for judging

Club Italico hosts 34th annual Wine Tasting Contest this weekend
Walter Parisotto samples at taste of his French colombard in the cellar of his Trail home.

Much like produce during harvest season, homemade wine is not far from home.

Walter Parisotto doesn’t have to look further than his basement to pour a glass of his French colombard or cabernet sauvignon mixed with zinfandel.

“Trail is a wine making town, through the Italians of course, and wine has spread its wings to all nationalities now because everybody drinks wine,” said the president of Club Italico.

The Italian club that has celebrated heritage in Trail since 1958 is hosting its 34th annual Wine Tasting Contest this weekend, an event that continues to display locally corked product.

For many Italian immigrants who’ve settled in Trail, the wine contest is a chance to get together with others who have the same passion for wine making and to share stories on why their bottle is the best.

“I grew up in the middle of wine country,” said Parisotto, who originated from Loria, north of Venice.

“I was a small fry, we had a big farm in which we made thousands of litres of wine. We didn’t drink it all, of course, we sold it.”

As a boy, he’d roll up his pants and stomp grapes in a large wine vat with his brothers crushing away beside him.

“You had no other machinery, this is pretty primitive back in the early ‘30s and ‘40s but that’s how it began,” he recalled.

Much has changed since then. Some people have even gone away entirely from starting their wine with grapes and order juice from dry areas like California.

Trail’s short season doesn’t lend itself well to achieving a nice ripe grape, yet Parissoto is surprised by some of the locals contenders who take home top honours for their product grown in their backyard.

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“It’s not a novelty for me anymore. You do away with the equipment and it’s not as messy. You just bring in the pails, pour them in the demijohns and away you go,” he said.

“But it’s a lot of fun just the same and then of course it’s the enjoyment of having a good wine.”

The Trail resident’s cool cellar is lined with canned peaches, beans and tomatoes, and of course the good stuff.

After letting the juice ferment, Parisotto siphons it into demijohns that are stored in his cellar for at least three months.

“This is the white and you can see how beautiful it is because it’s just as clear as can be,” said Parisotto, who took home second place for his white last year.

His wines will again be judged at the competition, where three qualified judges will mark bottles on a number of qualities, including colour, heaviness and acidity.

Participants are asked to bring a bottle of red or white wine made from grapes or grape juice to Waneta Plaza from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday.

Contest winners will be announced that evening at a gala banquet held at the Riverbelle.