Grape harvest time on Ischia, time of happiness


"And therefore I think a lot of happiness to men arises where there are good wines". Leonardo Da Vinci

"L'estate è finita ed i bar sono chiusi per ferie chi ci ha una donna sta in casa e affitta videotape ultima serie..."So begins a famous song that calls to a specific period of our season, when the days begin to get shorter and the first heavy rains sanction the end of the island summer, a little everywhere, through the streets of the island of Ischia, intersect with their load of grapes to various wineries scattered throughout the territory, or in the classic wine cellars for private domestic use. It's time to harvest, it's time for happiness!

A unique moment wherever it is consumed, when the shears cut the first cluster, after a year of work, a sigh of relief comes almost naturally with the grapes that glow in the sun, the strong smell of the countryside, an ensemble of emotions without any social distinction because the harvest belongs to all, made of long days under the sun and the rows and the cool cellar, tired arms and hands stained with wine and a strong swarm through the vineyards. Centuries of cultivation of the vine, centuries of toil in the fields, but also centuries of fine wine.
An ancient rite, which are linked generations of farmers, enthusiasts and connoisseurs, united in celebrating the festival in honour of Bacchus, where tradition blends nicely with the new techniques and the latest theories wine: it is the ritual of the island harvest. A tradition that goes back in time when everything was more genuine and the intense contact with the earth, brings us back to ancient routes along the Mediterranean Sea, to the legendary adventurers of Halkida and Evia that back in the eighth century before Christ chose our shores to settle and begin the cultivation of the vine. The Mediterranean climate, land lava and tuff, the sea breeze with terraced vineyards delimited by the so-called "parracine", tuff walls dry, have the outline of exciting days ending begins when the feast of the harvest. Winery, wine press, vats, "cufanelle", a 'carcatura': traditional lexical expressions that authentically sounding as a dialect, change today, to Italianizing almost completely.
The ceremony for the collection and transport of grapes preserves the nature of the novel starring those who, with the harvest, hoping for a good year and that their efforts - the toil of pruning and ongoing care and caring of the screw- are not undermined, and this is true for the enthusiast that the vine grower of renowned wineries. An event that does not forget these historical and poetic echoes, but blends them with a modern and efficient know-how with innovative procedures and cutting edge. Everything always and constantly full of rigor and the wise teachings of our ancestors. Suffice it to say that the grapes are still harvested by hand and transported to shoulder in small boxes or baskets in order to ensure integrity using traditional containers for transport, all made of cedar wood.
Really this knowledge, these ancient teachings, the largest component attractive and evocative of the vintage, this wealth of knowledge and experience enriched by the ancient secrets that only those who live in daily contact with the land can learn and make the best enhancing the mosaic of Vitis vinifera that each year gives different emotions and unexpected sensations.
To let even more you share in this tradition here is the testimony of those who have inherited from grandfathers the classic procedure. Salvatore Mattera is an accomplished surveyor by profession but like many islanders professionals traditions is based on traditions with such passion that is synthesized in this paper, arrived to me and I do thanking you because I am convinced that all is lost if you do not understand that no future, beautiful and globalized that is, does without the past.
Here's the full summary:
"It starts with the cleaning of the barrels, washing vats, wooden containers used to transport the grapes, the press, the winery, where the grapes are crushed, and all the tools necessary for the crop. Older people provide to the cut while the younger ones carrying the grapes to the winery and accumulate in the millstone.
Ended the crop, we proceed to the pressing called "carcatura" (after thorough cleaning of the feet) of grapes in the top and larger wine-vats.
From the upper wine vat above the pressed juice flows into the lower wine vats, called "liscituro" from where it is collected and poured into barrels.
The marcs, still impregnated with juice, pass to the mechanical press to collect every last drop of juice.
The fermentation begins in 24/48 hours and lasts for about 25/30 days at the end of which we control the correct transformation of sugar into alcohol.
"On St. Martin's every must is good wine", around the middle of November, you have the complete fermentation and although ready to drink remains murky.
With the arrival of the first cold, in early December, we proceed to the first pouring off to remove the "dregs", constituted by waste marcs, which in the meantime has settled to the bottom of the barrel, so the wine is ready to become clear to be drunk".
But the most compelling moment of each vintage is ... when it's all over. When we lay the tools down, the grapes are set aside and must do its slow work, and after much hard work the table needs to be "important", the food strong and refreshing. A real feast, in the air this scent of freshly picked grapes intoxicates and excites the taste of the mature grapes at the right point that sweeten the palate, songs, chants and rhymes accompany lunch eating together with a large outdoor table, where they feast with traditional bucatini pasta with rabbit, old wine in jars of clay (called arciulo) and the typical rabbit stewed in a tomato, wine and herb sauce cooked in a clay pot, U tian ', referring to a playful and festive harvest. It's still the magic that makes a party where the sacred and the secular, secularism and faith merge to an old tradition: it's time to harvest, time of happiness!

by Maurizio Orlacchio

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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