When September comes, it usually means only one thing in Italy: WINE HARVEST TIME!
All over the country in every region of the peninsula there is a lot of buzz and excitement around this event, which is part of our culture and an historical tradition. It used to be moment of celebration, everyone in the village would come around and help with in the vineyard, singing and dancing, and it used to inspire poets and writers of the calibre of Vivaldi, especially in his famous the Four Seasons concerto.
Let’s find out more facts about this joyful moment of the year.
- Italy is now the world’s largest producer of wine and produces 20% of the world’s wine.
- The Italian word for ‘wine harvest’ is Vendemmia and it specifically refers to the haverst of the grapes destinated to wine production, while the harvest of grapes for every day consumption as a fruit is just called Raccolta, or harvest.
- Italy has been making wines for over 2800 years
- Italy has 21 regions and 20 of them are wine regions
- Each year, 1 in 50 Italians is involved with the grape harvest
- In Italy the harvest happens usually between the end of august, September and in some occasion the beginning of October. In countries where the climate is colder than Italy, the harvest happens usually later, to allow the grapes to lose part of their water and increase as a result the sugary flavour
- Wet grape, not-so-lucky grape! Rule number one of the good harvester is never to pick wet grapes. In fact, this could delay the fermentation, the process that turns the fruit into wine.
- Have you ever heard of Ice Wines? these are wines that are produced with grapes that have been exposed to at least three months of freezing cold weather (usually during december january and february) there are produced in Italy as well and are called Vini di Ghiaccio.
- There are two main methods for the harvest: the first is the manual one where the farmers manually pick each bunch cutting it from the vine with a pair of scissors. The second is the one executed with the help of machines, especially when the vineyard is very big.
- In the past, the pressing of the grapes, in Italian “la pigiatura”, used to be a procedures the farmers did with their bare feet.
- With the crushing of the grape starts the vinification, the biochemical process that transforms the sugar and water contained in the grape into alcohol and carbon dioxide.