It was so simple it had to work. Go on the internet and find a cooper who could make 5 barrels for the express purpose of balsamic vinegar production, commission the build, pick up the finished product, order some grapes, and use our winemaking equipment to begin the 12 year process of producing vinegar in the classic Italian method. What could possibly go wrong?
Step 1: After research it appeared the that the finest barrel makers (coopers) for this type of barrel were located either in Croatia or Italy. I picked Italy since I don’t know anything about Croatia.
Step 2: After making contact with a certain Giovanni Briganti in Cesena, Italy it was agreed he would construct five barrels consisting of Oak, Acacia, Chestnut, Cherry, and Juniper ranging in sizes from 50 liters down to 15 liters. “Io ti contattera quando sono completa” otherwise known as: don’t call me, I’ll call you when they’re done. Six weeks I received an email from Giovanni: “Sono fatti” …. They’re done, come and get them.
Step 3: Inform Patty that we need to embark on a short adventure to pick up our balsamic barrels in Cesena, Italy. All good, so far.
Step 4: Upon arrival in Venice I make contact with a friend in the cargo business and tell him what we’re up to and that we’ll be back in 48 hours to return to the states with 5 small barrels. No problem, we’ll help you when you get to the airport.
Step 5: We board the Trenitalia train from Venice to Bologna to Cesena. We then take a taxi in Cesena to Giovanni’s woodworking shop carrying our large duffel bags and roll-aboard suitcases that will easily carry our barrels home to their new home.
Step 6: This is where the brilliant plan begins to unravel. More later in ‘parte tre’