One of Italy’s most ancient traditions, grape harvesting, or vendemmia, has a history going all the way back to Ancient Rome. To this day, there are many families and small-scale famers who make their own wine at home.
FROM THE ANCIENT ROMANS
Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year, mainly because it is time for vendemmia. The tradition of grape harvesting in Italy ushers in celebration and happiness. In the Roman Empire, it was a way to pay tribute to Bacchus, god of agriculture, wine, and fertility. Today, vendemmia is without a doubt one of the most interesting practices you can experience in Italy.
A MAGICAL, COMPLICATED PROCESS
In some regions, mostly in southern Italy, the harvest occurs in September; in Northern Italy, farmers wait until November. Starting in late September, grapes are picked, selected, and put to ferment in large botti, or barrels. Vendemmia is a very complex process. Winemakers carefully balance the proportion of sugar in the grapes to guarantee the correct fermentation process. In the past, farmers would crush grapes by stomping on them. Today, of course, farmers use professional wine presses. After the complex fermentation phase, the wine is poured into damigiane, large round glass bottles. Here, the wine rests until it is ready to be bottled.
VENDEMMIA IN TUSCANY
Grapes are grown in every one of Italy’s 20 regions. The Feste dell’Uva, grape festivals, are very popular in October. If you don’t have time to travel across the whole country…we recommend at least visiting Tuscany! Grape harvesting season is the perfect time to visit the Tuscan countryside – especially the Chianti region of central Tuscany — and to explore and enjoy one of the most charming Italian territories. The spectacle of the Tuscan vendemmia will certainly not disappoint you.
IN VINE WE TRUST
It is a common belief that there are five things that unite all Italians: soccer, food, olive oil and, of course, wine. This is absolutely true! Today, Italian wine exports are worth around 6.2 billion Euros. Italy is second only to France in national wine export.