It was one of my biggest dreams 🙂 To take a part in a grape harvest and see how is prepared SCIACCHETRA’ wine … This year I did it! I took a part of a harvest of Azienda Agricola Possa from Riomaggiore. But let’s start from the beginning:
Grape harvest in Italian is VENDEMMIA
When starts a grape harvest?
Depends 😉 When grapes are ready to be picked up, the harvest starts. In any case, officially harvest starts at the beginning of August and ends in November (exact dates are decided by Regione Liguria).
Where are located vineyards?
In Cinque Terre, the vineyards grow on the slopes of the mountains. That’s why mountainsides are heavily terraced there. The terraces are supported by retaining walls made by dry stone (muro a seccho). The dry stones are essential in Liguria because they prevent rock slides.
What DOC wines you can find in Cinque Terre?
Cinque Terre DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) – a white wine that is produced in the municipality of Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Monterosso and La Spezia. Furthermore, in the municipality of Riomaggiore are produced another 3 types of DOC wines. They are produced from grapes that grow in precisely indicated places of Riomaggiore:
- Cinque Terre Costa de Sera DOC
- Cinque Terre Costa de Campu DOC
- Cinque Terre Costa de Posa DOC
Sciacchetrà DOC – it is a fortified wine that is produced only in some municipalities of the province of La Spezia. This wine has thousand-year-old tradition and is a “must have souvenir” from Cinque Terre. The way of producing Sciacchetrà is very particular. Grapes are collected and then are left for some time for drying. When they are withered enough they are pressed and then aged for a 1 year. After that, the wine is ready and is bottled. Soon I will prepare a post about Schacchetrà 😉
Sciacchetrà Riserva DOC – fortified wine, is similar to Sciacchetrà that I described above but RISERVA is aged for 3 years before it is bottled.
Grapes variety that are used to produce wine in Cinque Terre
The wine of Cinque Terre is primarily a white wine. The most widespread grape varieties are:
Bosco grapes – white grapes, typical for Liguria
Albarola grapes – local, white grapes from Liguria
Vermentino grapes – white grapes, very intense fragrance, very common in Liguria and Sardinia.
It is a grape harvest only for tough guys 😉
It is really hard work. The vineyards are situated on steep slopes and you have to be careful not to fall down from terraces (there is about 1,5-meter height difference between terraces!). To make the things more complicated, the grapevines are short and very often you have to stay on your knees or even in a recumbent position to pick up the grapes 😉 !!!
Azienda Agricola Possa
I wanted to take a part in a harvest in Vernazza. I knew owners of vineyard Cheo … but when I called them they had already finished their harvest!!! PANIC !!! So I started searching another wine producers from Cinque Terre. In this way, I found vineyard Possa from Riomaggiore. When I called them they hadn’t finished yet (!!!). Next day I arrived in Volastra (a village above Manarola), where I met Possa’s Team 🙂 The owner Heydi and his brother Brian were very easygoing and they answered on my 1 billion questions that I made them 😉 After a morning harvest we went down to Riomaggiore. All baskets with grapes were brought to a wine cellar. One part of the harvest was destined to prepare a wine. Another part (the prettiest grapes) was destined to become Sciacchetra’. That part was positioned on special gratings and left for drying. In the cellar, I could also taste some of Possa’s wines (excellent).
To sum up, those who would like to taste local wines or visit vineyards can go to Possa. I hardily recommend them! The owners are sociable and produce high-quality wines. What is more, their wines are still prepared in a handcrafted way and are inscribed on Triple A an organization that unites artisans, farmers and artists that produce their products according to tradition and in a biologic way.
Winemakers in Cinque Terre
Apart from Possa in Cinque Terre area you can find numerous wine makers. They all organize wine tasting and show their vineyards … but remember that you have to ask for an appointment (call or e-mail before). Below I list winemakers from Cinque Terre:
- Azienda Agricola A Scià , more
- Azienda Agricola Vetua,
- Azienda Sassarini, more
- Società Agraria Buranco, more
- Società Semplice Agricola Begasti
- Azienda Agricola Cheo, more
- Azienda Vinicola La Polenza,
- Azienda Agricola Cantina dei Tobioli,
- Azienda Agricola Forlini Cappellini, more
- Azienda Agricola Luciano Capellini Cantina del Vin Bun, more
- Azienda Burasca di Cesare Scorza, more
- Cantina Crovara, more
- Cooperativa Agricoltura 5 Terre, more
- Azienda Agricola Albana la Torre, more
- Azienda Agricola Campogrande, more
- Azienda Agricola Possa di Samuele Heydi Bonanini, more
- Azienda Agricola Terra di Bargòn, more
- Azienda Agricola Terre Sospese, more
- Azienda Vitivinicola Cantine Litàn, more
- Azienda Walter De Battè, more
- Vignaiolo Fino Riccardo
Good luck and good wine tasting! 🙂