It's Wine Time - Enjoying the Vendemmia in Tuscany
The Wine Harvest in Tuscany
It’s a delicious time of year in Tuscany. The heat of the summer is falling off into autumn fruitful mellowness and nowhere is this more apparent than on the vineyards. It’s time for the grape harvest.
The grape harvest or ‘vendemmia’ will vary from year to year depending on how kind the summer has been, but it will be in September or October and it’s one of the best times to visit Tuscany and get to grips with one of it’s greatest delights, it’s wine!
It’s the time when almost every town or village seems to be throwing a wine festival, so there will be many to enjoy and also a fantastic time to visit the vineyards and enjoy a wine tour.
Some tours will let you join in the grape harvest but remember it can be hard work! Grapes are still often picked by hand as this leads to a more selective crop and gentler handling of the fruit. But all that bending and stooping in the hot sun could leave you longing for a glass of wine.
Once the grapes have been picked they will be crushed to extract the delicious juice, in some small wineries they might still trample the grapes underfoot but in most places they will use a scary mechanical crusher.
Chianti - Tuscany's most famous wine region.
Chianti is probably the best known region in Tuscany, although there are many fabulous wineries and vineyards scattered throughout the region. People have been making wine in Chianti since the Etruscan period and by the 18th Century the region was rightly famous for it’s reds.
Chianti Classico is a subregion of Chinti particularly known for it’s wine. Chinati Classico wines have to meet specific standards of production and quality and can be identified by a pink label with a black rooster seal. They are medium bodied with firm tannins and notes of florals and cherries. Make sure to comment on them when you taste!
In the second week of October, the town of Poggibonsi, in the Chianti region of Tuscany hosts a traditional Pigio, a wine pressing contest between the seven districts of the town.
It’s also a wonderful time to visit the Antinori winery, they have several estates throughout Tuscany. The Monteloro Estate is just 7km from Florence is the foothills of the Apennines, it’s unusual microclimate means it produces amazing white wines in a region known for its reds. Not many people know that the original ‘Chianti’ wines were in fact white wines, first recorded in 1398.
And if you needed another reason to visit Tuscany in Autumn, now the holidays are over flights tend to be cheaper. So if you’re looking for a long weekend now is a beautiful time to head for Italy and make the most of this beautiful and fruitful time of year.