Groups, towns, families; all involved come together to celebrate. Then, a long and peaceful period begins, often marking the beginning of winter; and the magic between the grapes and the winemaker happens, transforming simple grape juice into fantastical wine.
Salute a Dio della Vendemmia! — Cheers to the harvest God!
Grapes can be picked by hand or with special harvesting machines. The manual method is more time-consuming and costs more, but sometimes manual selection of grapes is necessary; for example, for production of high-quality sparkling wine, or when a vineyard is in a location that is hard to reach.
What follows vendemmia? An exuberant celebration, of course!
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Timing is crucial for harvesting grapes for wine. For this reason, the precise moment for the grape harvest is defined by the type of grapes, the purpose of the winemaker, the climate and conditions of the particular year, and of the location of the vineyard.
The lifecycle of a grapevine starts at the end of winter when the air temperature increases and the plant wakes up from the winter sleep. Buds grow and produce new branches and leaves, then whole bunches of buds start to appear on the branches. Later, in the period between May and June, they transform into little flowers. The blossoming lasts for about 15 days, after that, the grapes start to grow in place of the flowers. The grape pips are tiny at the beginning, but they grow rapidly and reach full growth and maximum ripeness at the beginning of September.
All over Italy, in every region of the peninsula, there has always been buzz and excitement around vendemmia, the period when the grapes get picked from their vines.
Historically, the grape harvest has always been a significant part of Italian culture and tradition. Life in Italy has always revolved around the grapes. Entire villages come together and dedicate their energies to the effort, helping in the vineyard while singing and dancing.
Vendemmia has even been the source of inspiration for poets and writers of the calibre of Vivaldi, especially in his famous The Four Seasons concerto.
VENDEMMIA — AN ITALIAN AUTUMN RITUAL