We’re not sure if Australian vineyard owner Mike Hayes is a winemaker, a history fanboy, or a werewolf, since he recently announced plans to recreate an ancient winemaking technique/ritual wherein he harvests grapes during a full moon. Naked.
Hayes, the owner of Symphony Hill Wines in Queensland, says that there’s a legitimate method to his lycanthropic madness, one that he actually researched as a recipient of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship. While studying European wine varietals and techniques that would suit the harsh climate of Australia’s Granite Belt, Hayes stumbled upon records of this Georgian ritual (the former Soviet country, not the Southern state — though naked winemaking was probably prominent there, too).
The nakedness part of the ritual, he argues, is likely grounded in scientific fact: “Clothing made from animal hides would no doubt contain bacteria that would taint the winemaking process,” he told the Queensland Sunday Mail.
Yes, but what about the moon? “I don’t know if it will work, but I’m certainly going to give it a shot,” he shrugged, adding later that he knew people would think him mad. “The ancients believed the moon drew energy from the grapes and goodness from the soil — just as the moon pulls the tides.”
After he harvests his naked grapes, the award-winning vintner will also bury his wine underground in Greek amphorae, along with his dignity. Jamie Oliver would be so jealous.
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