As the motto says, region you visit, tradition you find, and Italy, especially during the holidays, offers a great...
The tradition of harvesting in Italy has its roots in the remote history of the country. Italy is very attached to it because it is closely linked to the economy, given the abundance of vineyards and the presence of a deep-rooted gastronomic tradition, which is also a matter of conviviality. In the past, the moment of grape harvesting was in fact an experience to be lived in the most genuine way, and represented a moment like any other to bring families together and organize lunches and dinners in the open between one harvest and another. A good harvest means the proper control of the ripening of the grapes and, obviously, careful cleaning operations.
The tradition of grape harvesting in Italy: between tradition and innovation
The Italian food and wine tradition has its roots in the most remote past of human history. In fact, the Italian people have always been linked to some particular traditions, like those of grape harvesting for the creation of fantastic wines, all very different from each other. It is the tradition of grape harvesting in Italy: an ancient tradition that is handed down through the generations and that sees the vineyards of the whole territory fervently active, especially during the period between July and October, depending on the type of grapes and their maturation and harvesting times.
Grape harvesting step by step: here’s how wine is made
But how is wine made? Thanks to the tradition of the harvest, obviously; which is divided into 4 distinct phases. The first phase is that of gathering, which can take place manually or mechanically, using special machines. The grape harvest takes place when the grapes have reached what is considered to be the right degree of ripeness, that’s to say when their percentage of sugars and acids are “ideal” for the creation of this or that other label. In some vineyards, late harvesting techniques are used (grapes harvested later to increase the sugar content of the wine) and gradual harvest, that is, by harvesting the grapes of the same vineyard at different times, so as to obtain grapes at different stages of ripeness.
The second phase of the harvest is the pressing, to extract the juice (also here, manually or mechanically) of the freshly picked grapes. It is mainly used to separate the grapes from the stalks, which would give the wine a woody and unpleasant taste if they were to be shredded. We then move on to the fermentation, which takes place inside large special tanks. Here the grapes are separated into red wines or white wines: the first are left to macerate with the peel, while for the latter there is a pre-separation between must and skins, which are discarded. The last phase of the harvest is optional, and includes all those extra processes, designed to gain more aromatic wines, such as re-fermentation or other specific techniques.
Grape harvest to be experienced: the recommended places for tourists
If you want to experience the traditional Italian grape harvest in person, you can do so by going directly to visit one of the many wineries scattered throughout the country, taking advantage of the visit to try new labels and discover what lies behind the great masterpieces that we bring to the table every day. The events, dubbed with the name of “open cellars”, are organized more or less by the cellars present in each region (you won’t have to go far) and can be found by consulting the list on the official website that deals with making wine a real tourist attraction.
Italian events related to the harvest
The tradition of grape harvesting in Italy is absolutely rooted in popular culture, which is why it is possible to witness the harvest in many places in Italy and sometimes even participate in person. In any case, there are several events related to wine that can be accessed every year, including seminars that explain how wine is made step by step. One of these is undoubtedly Vinitaly, the famous wine fair that has been held in Verona for many years and which, is usually held in spring.