Yesterday morning I helped out a friend with his vendemmia, or wine harvest. I found that the entire red grapes had been picked so I was set working on the white grapes instead.
The vineyard extends along the entrance to the Camaione valley at Bagni Ponte and, like most vineyards in this part of the world, steeply climbs up a hill, enabling the vines to get the maximum of sunshine without the rows obscuring each other. This is particularly important in a mountain area like ours where the average temperature is rather lower than the standard Tuscan vineyard.
Armed with a set of secateurs I started collecting the clusters on the vines. It was difficult not to put some of the grapes in one’s mouth, so deliciously sweet they were.
The clusters were put into plastic baskets which were then carried to a hut where the grapes were stripped from their stalk and prepared to make the mosto or must. The amount of red mosto was quite considerable, although not as abundant as some previous years. However, the grape quality was very good as the vines had been fed recently by an abundant amount of rain.
In the hut there was an example of an old-style wine press:
My friend’s wine quality has improved considerably ever since he bought the charming villa and surrounding vineyards. I’ve never tasted any of his white but, judging by the grapes I picked, it should be very palatable when matured.
La vendemmia is a very sociable event in all parts of Italy and family and friends are called in to help up with the grape picking.
Judging by the number of olive trees my friend has planted there could well be an olive harvest in a few years time.
One harvest which I didn’t attend this or any other year is the spaghetti harvest. If you are curious about this one just click on the video below: