The close of summer is a bittersweet time for all Italians. Typically, September is the month when families return from seaside vacations and also the time when the first wisps of fall air begin to blow in; thankfully for all of us, it’s also the season of the Italian wine harvest!
It seems there’s nothing our guests love more than partaking in the ancient tradition of the harvest. Although by law, only contracted workers may actually harvest and process winemaking grapes, we love walking curious guests through the vines to sample a perfectly ripe grape or two, and even to let them watch the processing of grapes during a Wine Tour at the Candoni Winery. I have many, many memories of my sister Caterina and I playfully stomping barrels full of grapes alongside our parents as children!
A Few Notes on the Fall Italian Wine Harvest
The annual wine harvest – called la vendemmia – usually takes place around very late September, early October, but record-high summer temperatures over the last few years are pushing this celebratory event earlier and earlier. In fact, the 2016 Vendemmia is the earliest in 30 years! White wine harvests have already begun, and red wine harvests are expected to take place in mid-September, but exact dates vary by geographic location. The more southern a winery, the earlier its harvest is likely to come.
Generally, years (“vintages”) produce the best grapes when temperatures are hot but not too hot throughout the summer, with regular soaking rains. We’ve seen plenty of years, however, that produce excellent grapes via less-than-optimal conditions. In fact, 2015 was a wonderful year for harvest although the summer months were brutally hot; deep rains and cooler temperatures in August and September salvaged the crop!
Visiting Italy During the Wine Harvest
For us, there’s no better time to be in Italy for wine enthusiasts than the season of harvest. Early fall is a magical time at the Candoni Family Winery in Veneto: the temperatures are mild during the day and pleasantly cool in the evenings…perfect for sipping a very lightly-chilled Pinot Noir on the terrace or opening that last bottle of summer-ready Rose.
Harvest season is the perfect time of year to take in some of the sights and sounds unique to Italy. Depending on the region you plan to visit, you may be able to organize your trip around a wine harvest festival, or even participate in the harvest itself! Wine festivals, in particular, provide a deep look into the rich culture of Italy, from delicious regional food specialties to local music and crafts. If you’ve ever wanted to experience Italy like a real Italian, a town-square wine festival is truly an immersive adventure!
At Candoni, we’re buzzing with excitement over the impending harvest and can’t wait to see what this season has produced. This September we invite you to tip a glass to the dedicated, knowledgeable people behind Italy’s favorite tradition, the annual wine harvest!