La Vendemmia: Harvesting prosecco grapes

It’s ┬áSeptember and wherever you go the roads are full of tractors with trailers full to overflowing with grapes.

I arrived at 8am, equipped myself with a wheelbarrow, a plastic bucket, plastic gloves and a pair of secateurs, and set off for the nearest rows of prosecco grapes. The variety is called ‘glera’ and they are tiny sweet grapes which hang in abundant golden chandeliers. This is one of the reasons prosecco is so cheap to produce. A glera vine can yield up to 4 times more grapes than other varieties. The other reason is that they can be gathered by machine, but the last two vines on each row have to be hand picked because that is the turning point for the machine.

We picked all morning in hot sunshine and I was relieved when lunch time came and we all retreated to the farm yard where a long table was laid for 35 people. It was a fabulous meal, with of course lots of wine, followed by music, singing and dancing (accompanied by an accordion).

Not much picking went on in the afternoon, but we chatted and sang along the rows for a couple more hours before drifting home in the sunset. I’m now stiff and tired, but I have ensured that next year’s supply of prosecco will be available!

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