It was THAT time again!!!! Our friends Simona and Nick from Sagraincasa sent out the call that their grapes were ready for harvesting and they were planning the same kind of festive day as they had for us last year. Actually, it was much more festive this year because they promised that stacking firewood would not be offered as an additional activity option. I think the fact that there were so many repeat pickers shows that either we have a collective short-term memory problem, or we actually did have a great time last year. Once again, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect: not too hot, with a slight overcast.
The star of the day was definitely 89-year old Fillipo. He was the former neighbor of our fellow grape picker Barbara, and when Filippo heard there was a vendemmia going on, he wanted to be there. I have to say that if participating in a vendemmia or 2 meant you’d look and act like Fillipo when you’re 89, everyone would be in Italy in the Fall, armed with gloves and shears, ready to hit the vineyards. To quote from the VERY famous scene in “When Harry Met Sally” (…..although in a somewhat different context): “I’ll have whatever he’s having…..”
A few days after our vendemmia I was talking to other friends who had just harvested their grapes, and they said this had not been a very good year for them. Their fruit had not recovered from the early rain and hail storms. Simona and Nick’s grapes, however, seemed to have weathered the weather just fine. There were many vines where I filled 2 or 3 pails before moving on to the next plant. As you can see from the photo below – there was no dearth of grapes in this vineyard.
The high point of the day, though, is always Simona’s lunch. And once again, it made all the work worthwhile…..course after course of delicious, imaginative dishes.
As I explained last year when I wrote about the 2012 vendemmia, these grapes are sold to a local winery, where they’re combined with those of other small vineyards located in the designated Orvieto Classico area. The winery – Cantina Monrubio — directs and monitors the growth throughout the year, and determines when the harvest will take place. So while we were enjoying our food and camaraderie, the fruits of our labor were being hauled off to the winery, where they joined the long line of tractors loaded with grapes from the other vineyards, all patiently waiting to be weighed to determine how much money this year’s harvest was worth.
Before they were pulled away, however, Nick got us all together in front of the cart for the 2013 Vendemmia Class Picture.
Unfortunately, I won’t be in Italy for the olive harvest in November, but Vendemmia #4 is just a year away, and I’m planning now to be here to do my part for the grapes.
(NOTE: All of these photos were taken by Nick, who very generously gave me permission to use them. Simona is involved in all things food — from growing to preparing to teaching to catering. Her beautiful website is:
There you will see more of Nick’s photos from our vendemmia, and if you look at previous posts, they have gorgeous photos of past Sagraincasa food and events.)