Harvest time is one of the most beautiful times in Piedmont! The winegrowers work hard all year for these days and finally, full of joy, they bring the noble grapes safely to the winery, ready for work in the wine cellar. The vineyards are adorned with the many small red boxes in which the grapes are carefully transported, not too many on top of each other, so that the precious goods are not crushed.
There is no piecework, the time in the vineyard is time to enjoy this special atmosphere and of course the views. It is a lot of fun and has something meditative about it! Do you remember the feeling of falling asleep in the evening, dead tired but happy? Join us for a day in the vineyard for these special experiences.
As the exact time of the grape harvest is only known a few days in advance, we have planned this trip over 7 days so that there is a high probability that the grapes will be harvested during this week, but we cannot guarantee this. On the day of the harvest you will have to get up early, but we will provide you with coffee, drinks and a picnic in the vineyard. After the harvest we will take you to the winery, where you will see what happens to the grapes and how the beginning of a long ripening begins.
For the remaining days we will give you tips at short notice and also offer an alternative programme in case there is no grape harvest in the travel period due to climatic reasons.
This is included in the programme: Dinner in a local restaurant, a visit to the famous wine village of Barolo with a small course (duration 1 hour) in Winepaining (painting with wine) and the GPS data for a hike through the cru’s of the Barolo vineyards.
Things to know about the grape harvest:
All year round, winegrowers work towards the harvest, which in Piedmont usually begins in late August/early September with the white vines and often continues into October.
First the early ripening grape varieties such as Moscato, Arneis, Chardonnay etc. are harvested. Then follow the first red grapes Dolcetto, Barbera and Pinot Nero. The late-ripening Nebbiolo loves the interplay of cold nights and warm autumn days and is thus harvested at the end, which can also be as late as mid-October, depending on the climate.
While the must weight is still rising and the fruit acid in the grapes is still decomposing, the grapes become more aromatic from day to day. Many influences determine the timing, quantity and quality of the grape harvest. An important indicator for the ripeness of the grapes is the fruit sugar content, which is measured in degrees Oechsle. Winegrowers regularly measure the sugar content of the grapes to assess the degree of ripeness. The sugar, which is converted into alcohol during the fermentation of the must, is a measure of the ripeness of the grapes and determines the must weight, also called Oechsle (named after Ferdinand Oechsle, 1774-1852, pharmacist, goldsmith and physicist).
But the vintner also waits for the physiological ripeness of the grapes and not only measures the must weight, he also tastes the grapes still hanging on the vine every day in autumn to determine when the taste and thus the quality is optimal. Only when the grape seeds turn brown and easily separate from the flesh is the perfect moment for harvesting.
Overripe or rotten grapes are “picked out” before the “real” harvest, so that only the healthy, perfect grapes continue to ripen on the vine at harvest time.
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