homage to the grape

This past week I learned how to harvest wine grapes. In Monterosso. With my Italian and his father, who has been harvesting for decades. Last year, I merely assisted in stomping the grapes, surely as much fun as it sounds (and largely a tourist attraction I might add). This year, I became a true laborer of the land. Little did I know the travail of such sweet work. And the fulfillment that follows.

Harvesting began at 8am. The view itself was worth the early rise. Acres of stepped land, locally referred to as poggi, covered by vines and olive trees. I was wide awake, as were all other forms of wildlife, namely flies resembling wild mosquitos and sneaky little salamanders. No fear. I took to the task at hand and in meditative rhythm the grape cutting began. With intermittent tasting, to ensure quality of course.

The picking continued for three hours, filling over 12 huge crates. We had finished one piece of land but two more remained. It appeared this harvest was much larger than the last, though the grapes were not as high a quality. Thus sciacchetra (my favorite local dessert wine of Cinque Terre) could not be produced. But white wine would flow!

After a well earned home-cooked meal of pasta and fish followed by a nap on the beach (harvesting is exhausting!) it was time to press the grapes. This part I love. I feel fortunate that my Italian’s father has not modernized the technique. It’s still a very hands on, or in this case, ‘feet on’ experience. 

With great care we crushed the grapes as my Italian’s father collected the juice to add to the 300 liter boiler. Almost as quickly as we finished our grape dance the container was filled. Soon the boiling would begin.

The following day our ‘homage to the grape’ continued. Picking. Eating. Stomping. In 3 months time we drink! I will forever appreciate a glass of wine. Especially one from the Poggi Harvest of 2010.

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15 Comments

  1. Barbara September 24, 2010

    Brilliant, Kasia. How lucky you are to have this experience! Thanks for sharing. (Though it would be nice, too, if you shared the wine that you helped create next year!)

    Reply
    • Kasia September 27, 2010

      I will bring a few bottles to Paris for the wine connosoirs 😉

      Reply
  2. lara dunston September 24, 2010

    Fantastic! Sounds like so much fun! Something I’ve always wanted to do! Bet you can’t wait to drink a bottle of that stuff!

    Reply
    • Kasia September 27, 2010

      Great fun (and hard work)! Looking forward to drinking it, an acquired taste since it’s all natural.

      Reply
  3. Sion @ paris (im)perfect September 24, 2010

    Wonderful, Kasia! I really want to stomp some grapes now… 🙂

    Reply
  4. Paris Paul September 25, 2010

    Wow, look at all the hard work that goes into making sure I can get my drink on! Seriously, very nice post and thanks for sharing the memories.

    Reply
    • Karin (an alien parisienne) September 30, 2010

      A P.S. to the comment I just left on Greece, Part II — and here is *my* fiancé, lol. I forgot that he reads here every so often. 😀

      Reply
  5. Khrystine Raguet September 26, 2010

    Let us know if you need help drinking any of it!

    Reply
  6. Paris in Pink September 26, 2010

    OMD, this is something I’ve always wanted to do! Looks like you had a great time. Anyway, off to go read some more of this lovely blog here 🙂 Paris in Pink

    Reply
    • Kasia September 27, 2010

      You must try it!!! Happy you are enjoying the blog…and my many adventures!

      Reply
  7. Lindsey September 27, 2010

    You’re getting to do so many amazing things! So glad you’re enjoying yourself and continuing to travel!

    Reply
  8. Cynthia September 28, 2010

    This looks like so much fun. I love that there are still places where people do things the ‘old fashioned way.’ I wish there were more. You two will have to carry the torch!

    Reply
  9. Samantha Verant September 30, 2010

    There is an old episode of Lucille Ball where she gets into a argument stopping grapes. It’s hilarious. And most likely that would be me. So you should be thankful I wasn’t there. (Really thankful – considering you don’t know me!!!LOL)

    Reply
  10. Samantha Verant September 30, 2010

    Oops. I meant to say “stomping grapes”

    Reply
  11. fruitful days April 11, 2011

    […] according to the fruits they bear. For the past two years I have looked forward to the Fall for the grape harvest, one which I whole-heartedly participate in, picking, stomping and eventually, drinking the wine. […]

    Reply

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