My grandmother never drank wine. That statement on its own isn't necessarily odd. If you put it into context of our large, loud, happy Italian family, it starts to seem out of place. My Italian family, with the exception of my immediate family (and Grandma), all lived in Napa, CA. Most of them still do. For many people Napa means wine tasting, for me it will always bring back memories of getting my cheek pinched by older relatives as I hear about how big I am getting. I remember going to Napa every Christmas to see my family. We cousins would run around and play tag or hide and seek in the vineyards while the grown ups did boring things, like sit and talk.
I once asked my Grandma why she didn't drink wine. Her two younger sisters drank wine, but she never did. She said that the smell of wine reminded her of her childhood. When my Great Grandfather immigrated from Italy he brought his wine making talents with him. Talents he put to good use during the Great Depression by bartering his wine for food and other supplies the family needed. My grandmother would help him make the wine, since she was the oldest, and the smell of fermenting grapes made her sick. She told me that she couldn't even smell wine, or she would become nauseated.
I think that it would be fun to learn the art of wine making, the knowledge has skipped a few generations, but if I learn how to do it properly, then I can teach my son and daughter, and we may be able to resurrect a family tradition and embrace our cultural heritage. I know that the wine wouldn't be finished by the time our project ends, but after some preliminary research, I should be well into the bottling phase by the time our project presentations are due.
1. How does a person make wine? Is there more to it than putting some yeast in grape juice and letting it sit for a very long time?
2. How much Chemistry is involved in the wine making process?
3. What region of Italy is my family from?
4. What kind of wine is produced in that region?
5. Was there a "push" factor occuring in Italy that served as a catalyst for my Great Grandfather to immigrate to the United States?
6. How do I get the cork into the bottle so it stays? Does s special machine squeeze it and then it expands when it is in the bottle?
7. How do I design a lable?
8. Can I sell the wine I make legaly?
9. Do I need to get a special license to make wine?
10. How many other Italian Americans survived the Great Depression by using their wine making traditions?
I have never been an artist. I don't have the patience for it. I don't understand how painters can stop working for periods of time and then come back to it later. My best friend Jon was an artist. He could draw or paint anything he saw. I don't know if he ever "learned" to draw and paint, or if he just did it. As you can guess from my use of past tense to describe his talent, my friend died long ago. I would like to learn how to paint, and be an artist like he was. I don't have any natural talent, so I am not sure how successful I will be, but I want to try.
1. How do you even start creating a painting?
2. Is there a large difference in technique between different types of paint?
3. How did the craft of painting evolve?
4. Is there a culture on earth that doesn't have some form of painting, or visual art?
5. Did Jon have a particular style of painting that he specialized in?
6. Is there any coorelation between the raw materials a culture has available and the style of paintings it produces?
7. What should I paint?
8. Will my paintings be any good?
9. Could I potentially sell my paintings, like the people on the beach walk in Santa Barbara every Sunday?
10. Is art as powerful and informative a method of communicating complex ideas as writing?