8 Aug 2013

Italy: harvesting grapes, making wine

 a 'strawberry' grape vine
Every neighbourhood smallholding has a vineyard for growing wine grapes and perhaps some table grapes and we have always done the same to a lesser degree.  Even before we had a house and cultivated our vines we would come down with our children to my husband's village at the end of September for the grape harvest which coincided with a major religious festival on the first Sunday of October. In turn, our children have brought their children to experience gathering our own grapes and starting off the process of making some wine.
I had intended to write about this later in the year, but as I've mentioned it in my last post I thought I would share something about what has been an important part of our family lifestyle.  

Basically, the wine grapes are gathered, passed through a squashing machine into the clean wooden barrel, then left to start the fermentation process. The juice is drained into 50 litre demijohn glass jars. Later, the left over grape pulp and skins are pressed and added to the juice in the jars to continue the fermentation process.  In the above collage the two oldest grandsons were helping Nonno wash the barrel and generally enjoy the picking of the grapes and other processes.

After the fermentation has finished, which takes about six weeks, the wine is left to settle for a week. It's transferred into clean, sterilised demijohns and again left to mature for a few months before transferring once more into other clean, sterilised jars ready for bottling.  If there's a large quantity it's stored in vacuum-sealed steel containers.
The above collage shows a replica wine press which holds a bottle, glass wine jars, the steel container in the canteen and lastly, our wine which, of course, is very enjoyable as an accompaniment to a lunch of bread, cheese, our table grapes and apples.


  1. How lovely to keep the tradition going, and also to indroduce your grandchildren to it. So many crafts and customs are lost as they're not passed on these days.

  2. that is one giant sized barrel. I like the table photo best of all, and that looks like a lunch i would love... i do love grapes... i keep them in the freezer and pop one or two when i get to hot. like frozen juice.
    the vineyards are beautiful and thanks for sharing how the wine is made....

  3. I bet it tastes wonderful, all the better for being your own. Thanks for explaining how it is made!

  4. It is so good to pass on crafts to the younger ones so that they can carry it through to the future. My mouth is positively watering looking at those grapes. x

  5. I am sure that it is wonderful, and that you get that same satisfaction making your own wine that we get from eating our own home grown produce. A cool glass of Italian white, some rustic bread and cheese - evviva tutti.

  6. What a lovely tradition.
    How I would just love standing by those grape vines and eating them.
    Just beautiful!

  7. I like the pictures of everyone helping out -- a Beautiful process with helping hands.

  8. That is really cool! I mean what a great heritage to be passed down...
    I loved this post!
    Have a great weekend,

  9. How marvellous to know how it's done and have memories of making wine yourselves, even if today others do the work for you and you just enjoy the result. :-)