We have now crowned the last weekend of September “the weekend of wine, vino“. September is traditionally the month in Italy for the grape harvest, or vendemmia. It is not uncommon to find yourself spending some time in a neighbor’s vineyard.
Every year we lend a hand to our friends who make their own wine and have a small grouping of vines by the lake. Even though it is hard work, it is a pleasure to be out in the sunshine participating in the harvest and hearing the odd story or two along the way.
Basically we spent Saturday morning cutting ripened bunches of violet grapes from their vines and depositing them into buckets. Every once in a while, a tractor would creep by to collect our bounty. Just after picking, the grapes are placed into a machine that spins them and separates the stems from the actual grapes…I had to show you this picture…it seems quite violent, but actually it is a very gentle process.
After the vendemmia, we caught vino fever. While speaking with some new friends we met through Tuscan Contacts, they suggested we tour some wineries around Tuscany and we jumped at the chance to do it. The first day, we visited a winery in Montalcino where among the wines we tasted was the world class Brunello di Montalcino. We then drove to the lovely town of Montepulciano across the valley from Cortona to endulge in the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
As if we had not had enough, we chose to go a second day where we traveled to a friend’s very small family owned winery not far from Cortona. It was a beautifully relaxing morning of visiting the cantina, strolling through the vineyard, and finally settling down to a spread of Tuscan food fit for a king…prosciutto, salami, pecorino cheese, cannellini beans and bread drizzled with olive oil.