Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alto Adige: time for the Vendemmia!

Mountains and vineyards...
After leaving Ischia, I headed back to Naples to catch a train north to Trento, in the region of Trentino- Alto Adige. One of the first things that you notice when you get there is how orderly and clean everything is. This far north, you're nearing the Austrian border, and there is definitely a German presence about the place, from the architecture to the orderliness, to the languages being spoken. In fact, German is taught as a second language in this part of Italy.
in every direction!
For the third time in four years, I went to visit my friend Lucia, who lives with her daughter in Pressano, near Trento. When I visited before, she lived in the forest near Segonzano, working as the caretaker of a nature center where children came to learn about the natural world. Now she lives in a small village, and it's quite a contrast from their previous home.

The second thing that you notice about Trentino is that every available space for farming is covered with one of two things: apple orchards or vineyards. And the vineyards are laid out differently than any others I've seen in my travels: they're draped over pergolas so that the grapes hang down and are easily harvested.

Grapes ready for the vendemmia!
During my visit, the vendemmia, or grape harvest was taking place, and I had the chance to help pick grapes one afternoon for Lucia's aunt and uncle. It was something I'd wanted to do since I first came to Italy in 2006, so it was fun to play out that dream.

Lending a helping hand.
Zio Ferucchio cutting the grapes off the vines

Them's a pile of grapes!
To be honest, we only helped out for a few hours; no time to even get sore arms from hurling the grapes into the trailer. But I was happy to be included, and enjoyed being part of the crew.

Grapes in this area are used to make Pinot Grigio.


Julie said...

Hooray! Pinot Grigio is my fav!!

I'm going with my eldest son to a winery in MO this Sunday to celebrate our September birthdays. The grapes in MO make for a rather sweet wine. I hope they have alternatives. Even grappa would be preferable.

It's enlightening to see parts of Italy you visit that aren't on the usual tourist agenda. Ciao.

marybeth said...

Thanks to my Italian friends, I'm able to have some unique experiences. I found out today that the proper way to pronounce Pinot Grigio is to accent the second syllable of Pinot: Pi NOH, instead of the first, as most Americans do. (Pino is a popular Italian name, a diminutive for Giuseppe, so if you pronounce Pinot Grigio like Pino, it confuses people.)

Anonymous said...

OK Just got back from the jaunt to the MO winery. Lots of very good wine - not just the usual sweet Missouri offerings.
I have a question: the wine I liked bast (my daughter-in-law's fav) was made from grapes from Oregon's Willamette Valley. The grapes are calle "pinot gris". How are these grapes related to pino grigio, if you know. Thanks. Love your narratives and photos.

Cousin Julie