La Vendemmia

October 13, 2008 / Food & Wine
Autumn in Italy is a great time, especially when one is invited by friends who own a spectacular B&B agriturismo (working farm with guest rooms) in the hills of Tuscany, for the annual vendemmia or grape harvest.

Fitted with a pair of wellies and vine shears, the group marches down the narrow path lined with olive trees in the misty dawn, eager to participate in the estate’s vendemmia.

Reaching the small vineyard, we spot some vignaioli (expert vinyard tenders) already clipping off amber clusters. We learn that the cultivars we are picking are white Trebbiano and bold red Sangiovese, the grape responsible for Chianti and Brunello among others.

After separating the grape clusters from their stems through special machinery, the precious must or mosto gets funnelled to a large barrel where it will ferment for the next six weeks.

All we can do while waiting for the mosto to mature into vino, is celebrate at the tables scattered in the garden, enjoying the traditional home-cooked banquet. Washed down by last year’s vintage, of course.

–contributed by Eleonora Baldwin – Film Production, Script Supervisor, currently writing an Italian Food/Cookbook/Italy Manual.

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