Farewell to the vine plants, may the new adventure begin for the grapes...
From September to October, our Pinot Nero, Barbera and the Gamba di Pernice grapes are ripening one after another. This years' grapes are amazingly beautiful virtually without any disease or rot. The day of the harvest is the most beautiful scene. The red crates are like small red rubies decorating the green vineyard, row by row, collecting the precious purple grapes (We follow the local tradition of harvesting grapes in small crates to make sure they stay intact until they reach the winey).
This year, due to the Covid, the area was short of labourers for the harvest. Our vineyard worker M. was supposed to bring 4 people along for the Pinot Nero harvest, at 7:30 of the morning he showed up with only his wife. So we all jumped into action including the kids and our neighbour. Gloves on, scissors clicking, the Qimisola team were in action the whole day.
In fact the small wineries in Piemonte often rely on the friends and family members to get the harvest done. Today you help us, tomorrow we come to assist you. Like our neighbour, they turn every year's harvest into an event of reunion. All the friends, relatives come together, chatting while cutting, sweating and laughing, end the day with a "festa" of eating and drinking.... physically hard working, but spiritually connecting and uplifting. Perhaps because of this intimacy, Italian people usually do not plan far ahead. I am guessing it has lot to do with their ease and confidence in their support system in the local community. .
The harvesting does not require a lot of skills, but experience certainly counts for the speed, also decides how long it takes before your body starts to protest. Bending over the whole time makes the back hurting, squatting down then causes the legs souring. In fact the height of the grape is perfect for children. Søren and Mikkel are having very different styles. Søren is precise, focused, not only does his own job, he likes to command on Mikkel too. Mikkel on the contrary, is easy-going, yet also easy-distracted. A little butterfly passing by, or a little spider between the leaves, will catch his attention instantly. He invented game for himself to discover different shapes of the grape bunches. And thanks to his vivid imagination and sharp eyes, a grape heart emerged as if the plants are communicating with us. The message of love is well received. :-)
Every year, it's our kind and generous neighbour Roberto or his father Walter help us to bring the crates of grapes up the hill to our winery. The hill is so steep but it's just a piece of cake for Roberto who drives the tractor in reverse. The crates are stacked too high to see the path, but for Roberto it's not a problem at all. Standing on the tractor, he skilfully put his foot on the steering wheel, drove the big noisy machine up hill elegantly and effortlessly.
When Lars was processing hundreds of boxes of fresh grapes into the tanks, the fun started in the courtyard for the boys hosing down the used crates . Soon they found their teamwork. The "precision Søren" took the job of spreading out the dirty crates and stack up the cleaned ones. The "fun loving Mikkel" holding the hose like his water guns shooting the residues out of the red boxes... and in the end looking at the train of boxes, they can't help but jumping on the "train" being proud of all the giant "lego" projects they have completed.
So is the tale of the 2021 harvest. Each year, the cycle is repeated, but there are always new stories!