Every September is yet another milestone for Vignamaggio: this is the moment our team harvests the grapes that make our wines. Our experienced agronomist Francesco Naldi took us through the steps that lead up to the 2022 harvest.
The 2021/2022 winter was characterised by very mild temperatures and not much rain: about 35% lower than the annual average.
Spring was extremely hot, reaching high temperatures in May already.
The summer brought a long drought lasting over three months. This and the intense heat posed risks for the harvest.
Fortunately, careful management of the vineyards, and the vines’ natural drought resilience mitigated any serious consequences.
A few rains, some of them intense, during the second half of August, disrupted any drought damage to the plants.
The high temperatures meant the grapes were ready to harvest about 10 days earlier than usual.
The production this year seems to have returned to acceptable levels, after a few years of lower yields.
Bunch sampling at the beginning of September confirmed that maturation was proceeding well. We tested the grapes to measure sugars, acidity and phenolic maturation, so important with red grapes.
On the 5th September the harvest began with the Syrah, Merlot and Sangiovese grapes (for our rosè, “Albaluce”) and the Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco white grapes (for the “Tramonte”). And on Wednesday the 7th, we began picking the Merlot, always the first to reach optimal maturation. Just like every year, the harvest team was composed of Italians, Kosovans, Moroccans, Somalians and Romanians working side by side.
When all the Merlot had been taken to the cellar, we began picking the Malvasia del Chianti and Trebbiano Toscano, to put into the drying room for the production of the Vinsanto del Chianti Classico. After three months, theses grapes will be ready to press, and the resulting must transferred to caratelli to ferment for at least four years.
From the 15th of September we began picking the Sangiovese and, thanks to particularly lovely weather, we picked perfectly healthy and ripened grapes until the 5th of October.
In the interim, during the harvest, we continued with our microvinification project. We conduct fermentation trials on small quantities of grapes to verify the oenological aptitude of selected clones ‘saved’ from old, uprooted vineyards. This work has already resulted in the installation of a few vineyards with “Vignamaggio” Sangiovese plants.
The grapes are handpicked and transported to the cellar in 200 kg crates. As usual, the bunches underwent triple selection: in the vineyard during picking, on a manual selection belt in the cellar, and then a grape selection on the automatic optical selector. The chopped twigs are sent to the compost heap along with the must, to be recycled as fertilizer in the vineyards.
Now, all that is left is to celebrate the end of the harvest and enjoy the fresh, brisk early October air. The vines, stripped of their grapes, indulge us with yellow and golden shades as we continue with our autumn work on the farm and in the cellar.