Savoring the harvest

Few other moments symbolize the essence of the country life in such a clear, timeless and deeply rooted way as the vendemmia, the grape harvest. With progressive mechanization, the harvesting of other crops has lost something of those epic layers of sweat, dust and tank tops that fewer and fewer young people have any memory of.

The grape harvest, meanwhile, has remained unchanged, despite modifications that the passing decades have imposed on agriculture. That ageless flavor of people reunited and moving together, working as a team; the feel of systematic work and days fulfilled. Even in modern times, the day unfolds to a precise rhythm: picking grapes off the vines, gathering them, taking them immediately to the winery, pressing them, and then giving them over to what happens inside the cellars.

In the fields, it's the human hand that does everything, with the quick, sharp movements of the scissors that cut the fruit from its parent plant. Only in the winery itself does machinery take over: but in exchange it gives us a multisensory extravaganza, with those dazzling hues of purple-red, like the blood of the soil, exploding between the cranking tools as the red grapes are crushed. Those tangy aromas get into your nose and brain, and stay with you till the end of the day. And then that flavour of must: for anyone who loves wine, it's one of those sensations that makes life worth living.

You shape yourself and make a name for yourself in front of a mature vine. Let go of all burdensome thoughts. Get inside, relish the last fragments of summer, follow the vines and lay yourself open to the ruddy colours of autumn, as if you were one with them.

[Fabrizio Caramagna]