Celebrating Italian Harvest with #ItalianFWT

In the world of Italian wine September means harvest. It is common in Italy for grape harvesting to be done by hand. It is back breaking work for many, a rush to pick the grapes when their sugar levels (brix) are just right. Some wineries begin their harvest at the break of dawn, while others prefer to harvest in the cooler temperatures of the overnight hours. Either way it is hard work. Our Italian food, wine, travel group is taking a moment to explore and celebrate the hard work of the wine harvest in Italy.

Many wine lovers understand that making wine is not the same as farming vegetables or fruit. The work that goes into wine does not end once the grapes are picked; quite the contrary, the work is only beginning. However, most wine lovers never actually see all the work that goes into a glass of wine. I spent 10 days in Italy in early September for three very different harvests: Donnafugata in Sicily, Masottina Prosecco in Conegliano, Veneto, and Tenute Rubino in Brindisi, Puglia. While visiting Donnafugata’s historic Contessa Entellina winery in Sicily I took a few short videos of what happens to the grapes after they are picked on their way to the tanks for fermentation. Each video is just a few seconds; take a moment to watch.

As you can imagine harvest season is hard work. It is an “all hands on deck” operation that lasts for weeks; not concluding until all the grapes are sorted, pressed, and resting in the tanks. And even then the work is long from over before the finished product is shipped and ready to be purchased. Knowing all of this it was incredible that Antonio and Jose Rallo, along with Baldo Palermo, took time out of the winery’s busiest time of year to give us tours, tastings, great hospitality and delicious Sicilian meals. Here is a brief look at a lovely lunch and dinner we shared at Donnafugata’s Marsala and Contessa Entellina wineries.

A lovely pre-lunch wine tasting
A lovely pre-lunch wine tasting
Yes, Chardonnay can age beautifully!
Yes, Chardonnay can age beautifully!
A homemade Sicilian lunch; truly delicious!
A homemade Sicilian lunch; truly delicious!
An impressive pre-dinner vertical tasting.
An impressive pre-dinner vertical tasting.
I feel so spoiled!
I feel so spoiled! These wines are the same age as my daughter!
A special Sicilian dinner prepared by famed chef Chef Nino Chirco of I Bucanieri restaurant
A special Sicilian dinner prepared by famed chef Chef Nino Chirco of I Bucanieri restaurant
Now I am really spoiled. I am totally in love with Ben Rye! I need this wine in my life.
Now I am really spoiled; an 08 & 97 Ben Rye! WOW! I need this wine in my life.

Please be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more articles featuring my Viaggio in Italy Harvest trip as well as a delicious article on the making of Donnafugata’s Ben Rye passito, one of my favorite wines of the entire trip!

Here are more Italian harvest articles from my fellow #ItalianFWT friends:

Mike from Undiscovered Italy writes about the Montefalco Vendemmia Festival

Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog prepares Caprese Stuffed Roasted Eggplant and 2013 Josetta Saffirio Barbera d’Alba #ItalianFWT

Gwendolyn from Wine Predator presents Easy Fall Fun Flavorful Food with Italian Wines from a Castle

Jeff from FoodWineClick gives us his Top 5 Reasons to Visit Piemonte in the Fall

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla makes Truffles, a Whole Fish, & Barolo

Jennifer from VinoTravels is Welcoming Autumn with the Campanian Wines of Mastroberadino

Jill from L’occasion shares Harvest in Italy 

My Song Selection: Jose Rallo is a notable jazz singer. She has a beautiful voice. Her videos can be found on YouTube and I have used one of her performances in a previous song selection with Donnafugata wines. As we dined with her at Contessa Entellina after wonderful tour and tasting I asked her if she would sing us a song. Here is my song selection for this article:

Get your own bottles of Donnafugata wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!

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