Our friend Fabrizio from Francone (a local winery here in Neive) called last Tuesday to tell us they were harvesting chardonnay for their spumante (sparkling) wine this Thursday August 11th. Most grapes used in sparkling wines are picked before they are completely matured in order to have higher acidity, an important factor in guality sparkling wine production. Robert met up with the crew at 7:30am to photograph the journey that grapes take to start the process of becoming wine. The crew of eight, working in pairs of two, were able to pick all the grapes by 6:30pm in this vineyard of just under 2 acres ( .75 ha ).
With clean harvest tubs the picking begins. Clean tubs are important because the grapes are not washed before pressing. Everything in the tubs gets pressed with the grapes.
Fabrizio and his wife are careful not to look down the row as to be reminded of the back breaking job in front of them.
Once full the tubs weigh about 55lb (25 kilos).
When a row is completed the tubs are loaded onto a sled pulled by a tractor. here driven by Fabrizio's brother Marco.
The grapes are brought to the crush pad at the winery where they are loaded into a pump which sends them over to the press.
After pressing, the grapes macerate for about 30 minutes, then the fresh juice without skins, pits and stalks is pumped to a large stainless steel tank to begin fermenting into wine.
Before dinner all the tubs must be cleaned with this power washer.