The 2013 harvest is now upon us. In some Italian regions it has already started at least for the whites, while for the reds it will also wait until the end of September. However, journalists and industry insiders are already wondering what it will be like in the various regions of Italy. Rich, abundant, more quality, less quantity?
However, this is not what I want to emphasize, but the spectacularization of an event that is vital for a winery. There are wineries such as Donnafugata in Sicily that made the grape harvest a media event, capable of gathering celebrities and writers from the wine world with the nocturnal harvest.
There are those who are preparing to do it now as in Emilia Romagna, there are instead regions like Tuscany. where dozens of foreign tour operators, especially from the USA and Great Britain, organize real trips to the most famous Tuscan estates to spend at least one day with the winemakers.
Just two days ago, driving through the Sienese hills, I was listening to a local radio broadcast where some well-known wineries told of the experience of a weekend among their rows of vines. Browsing the internet, it is very easy to see how farmhouses and wineries themselves, especially in Tuscany, offer real packages to stay during the harvest. For example, three nights b & b formula, with training courses to learn what the vine is, harvesting techniques, tasting techniques, vineyard tours, packed lunches and even a final diploma at figures close to 400 euros per person. Not a little, yet British and Americans abound in these initiatives.
Something that once seemed unthinkable: to pay to harvest, to live intensely the life and toil of the winemaker. I have often witnessed the harvest, and there are not a few 'patriarchs' of some companies who turn up their noses observing the clumsiness of improvised winemakers. Woe to make a mistake when cutting, slowly lay down the bunches without crushing them and then run towards the cellars to start the mechanical pressing, soft for the white grapes and more intense for the red ones.
Once, listening to one of the 'veci' in the area of Barolo, in Piedmont, the comment was: “in my vineyard I only want trusted people of a certain age, harvested by hand, no machines between the rows, and we take the time we do”.
Yet the opening of certain wineries and companies to this activity I consider an activity of marketing very important, also to make it clear what effort is behind certain bottles of wine. In some cases it is also a smart way to extend the accommodation activity in the summer of some farmhouses. I am pleased to see that even in Emilia Romagna, thanks to the resourcefulness of bloggers, this activity is increasingly spreading among winemakers and trust me, sometimes it is enough to knock on the farmer to ask to learn, and he will hardly say no . More than anything else he will ask you: "Do you really want to get up at 5 in the morning?".