They are all lined up. Huge lorries heaped with grapes, hardworking three-wheelers like the Ape Piaggios and old Fiat Puntos with gigantic trailers. The Vendemmia grape harvest is characterized by an – for Italy – unusual queue culture, where everyone’s patiently waiting their turn at the winery.
The Weigh House Verdict
One by one the cars drive up on the truck scales, where loads are weighed before a large metal straw dips into the grapes and samples the sweetness. The figures show in the smiling faces of workers and people hanging around the weigh house. Volumes are good and most grapes have acquired a sweetness of 26-27 percent which is a sure sign of ripeness and considered ideal for Primitivo wines with relatively high alcohol levels.
– It has been a very hot summer around Manduria with higher average temperatures than normal in June and July. This has increased the sugar levels, but generally we have had good weather conditions and we expect 2012 to become a great Primitivo vintage, says Anna Gennari from Consorzio Produttori Vini. in Manduria. The town that has become synonymous with primitivo grapes.
First Step Towards Vinification
After the evaluation the cars drive over to a pit, where the grapes are unloaded as you can see in the video below. Most of the vehicles haven’t got a tip load, so they are placed on a ramp that can be tilted. The operation takes no more than a few minutes. Then all the grapes are being turned to mush in the grinder as a first step towards Pimitivo vinification that clearly does not involve stomping grapes. Half an hour later the producers drive back to the vineyard for another load of freshly harvested grapes.