The vendemmia, an Italian word for grape harvesting, takes place in September and October. The ideal timing is decided according to the weather and variables that differ from one vineyard to the other until the grapes have the right level of sweetness.
Tourists often ask if they can participate in the grape harvest. The answer is, yes, you can briefly experience what this physically challenging activity involves, as part of a wine tour. In fact, only insured workers can perform certain works in the fields by law. But wineries might let you pick a few grapes, and will certainly explain all the harvesting techniques that you will be able to witness in person.
In a nutshell, grape harvesting involves the following rigorous steps: grape pickers arrive early in the morning at the vineyard, and they cut bunches of grapes and put them into crates or baskets. These are collected and taken to the wine cellar where the wine-making process begins, usually involving lots of machinery. But winemaking still requires a lot of manual work, particularly in rustic and traditional places like the Maremma Tuscany. For example, in wineries such as Monteverro (Capalbio), grapes are selected by hand.
So, visit Tuscany during fall and not only will your eyes feast on the idyllic countryside ablaze with golden and red-brown colors, you will also enjoy a number of wine tasting initiatives and wine festivals that take place all around the region to celebrate the ancient harvest and winemaking traditions!