It’s that time again! Grape harvest all over the vineyards in Italia!
(And the news is excellent coming from France too:) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/french-champagne-makers-record-harvest-quality-grapes-vintage-wine-a8507911.html
The word “vendemmia” comes from the Latin words “vinum” (wine) and “demere” (take away).
In the past, grapes were picked either directly by hand or with the help of small knifes or scissors. The grapes were put in baskets, made of wicker or wood, and later they were moved into larger wood containers “tini” or vats, which were used for the crushing.
As most Americans will remember, Lucille Ball excelled at stomping grapes when she visited Italy on I Love Lucy.
Indeed, the crushing was done using the feet of the workers or with some special wooden sticks called “ammostatori,” shaped like baseball bats.
The ammostatori were often used in small containers, while for larger and taller vats, ladders were used by workers, descending from the top.
In the common imagination the idea of feet crushing is well rooted, a ritual still done by some wine estate just because it keeps a sort of ancient fascination.
(Foto proveniente dall’archivio privato della famiglia Colombini. -1945, Neutro Martini, guardiacaccia della Fattoria dei Barbi, con un bigonzo di uva in spalla durante la vendemmia nella vigna dei podernovi.)
— at Museo Della Comunità Di Montalcino E Del Brunello.
Personally, I’ve spent some time recently in the rows of grape vines heavy with pendant grapes. What a treat to be in Chianti at the time of la vendemmia!