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vintage in tuscany

Text Teresa Favi

September 6, 2021

The grape harvest in Tuscany. When, where and how

From the gentle slopes of Chianti Classico to the sinuous hills with a view of the sea surrounding Bolgheri: a journey through the most beautiful grape harvests in Tuscany.

From the gentle slopes of Chianti Classico to the sinuous hills with a view of the sea surrounding Bolgheri: a journey through the most beautiful grape harvests in Tuscany.

Between late summer and early autumn, the Tuscan hills come to life as never before, because in this region that produces great wines, the grape harvest has always been a festival. Many wine cellars open to the public, offering the opportunity to experience close contact between rows of vines, bunches of grapes and shears.  It is therefore the right season to take a tour of the most scenic vineyards and the most renowned wineries, because it is precisely now that you can understand how the production process begins, and learn about the curiosities and secrets of the perfect grape harvest in a special atmosphere: during the day, the September rays of the sun, more inclined than in full summer, offer softly golden and nuanced views of the landscape, while the colours of the vegetation slowly begin to bend towards the red, yellow and brown tones of autumn. 


Traditionally set in September, in the last twenty years the harvest time has been extended: it begins in August and ends in late October.
In the territories facing or close to the Tyrrhenian coast - those of Morellino and Montecucco in the Maremma, Bolgheri and Val di Cornia in the province of Livorno, Colline Pisane, Montecarlo in the province of Lucca and Lunigiana in the province of Massa Carrara - harvesting begins in mid-August and continues until the end of September. The Sangiovese grapes of Chianti Classico, Chianti and Brunello are harvested between September and October.  
The timing of the harvest, which can vary a few weeks more or less each year depending on weather conditions, is dictated by a number of determining factors: 1_ the geographical position of the vineyard (grapes from a vineyard on the coast ripen more quickly than those from a farm in the interior of the region), 2_ the height of the cultivated land in relation to sea level (at 100 metres above sea level they ripen sooner than at 300 metres above sea level) 3_ the type of grape variety: Pinot, Sauvignon and Chardonnay (for the production of white wines and sparkling wines) are harvested first, then it is the turn of Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah and finally come the late varieties such as Sangiovese and Canaiolo 4_ last but not least, the climate change that is causing temperatures to rise in both winter and summer leading to an acceleration of the grape ripening process.


In this period, you will be surprised by the large number of small businesses that are happy to accept extra help in their vineyards. Always remember to remind the owners, when booking, that you would like to participate in the planned activities. Although they can hardly guarantee the exact period during which the harvest will take place, if they know in advance that you are interested they will inform you on arrival and invite you to participate. You can check the website of the Movimento Turistico del Vino (a non-profit organisation that brings together around one hundred members from among the most prestigious wineries in the area, selected on the basis of specific requirements, first and foremost that of the quality of wine tourism), which lists the member wineries that are open to the public during the grape harvest and their programmes. These range from family grape harvesting, with the possibility for the little ones to press the grapes with their feet, to guided visits by oenologists to explain the key stages step by step. Then picnics on the rows at sunset, at the end of the harvest, but also harvest lunches and dinners, as tradition dictates. 


From the picture-postcard vineyards of Bolgheri and the Etruscan Coast to the noble Docg wines, such as Brunello, Chianti Classico (click here for Gaiole, here for Greve, and here for Radda, here for a nice tour of Chianti Classico by car), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vernaccia di San Gimignano, to the emerging territories of Val di Cornia and Lunigiana, to the magical landscapes of Orcia Doc, the bucolic landscapes of Maremma, or the more historic ones of Carmignano and Chianti Rufina. 


To know the best Tuscan wineries where to eat among the vineyards click here
To know the difference between Chianti Classico and Chianti click here
For the best restaurants by the sea in Maremma click here
For the best restaurants in the villages of Maremma click here

A taste of the opportunities for the 2021 vintage:


Buccia Nera
Dates: 11, 12, 18 September, from 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
10.30 Manual grape harvest, crushing with feet for children, tour of the winery to see the transformation and refining process.
12.00 Tasting of two wines and oils produced on the farm.
13.00 Delivery of picnic basket with sandwiches, dessert, water and wine, placemat and napkins, for picnics among the vineyards. 
Booking: - ph. 347 4065645 / 0575 1696461
Cost: 35 euro adults, 20 euro children
Loc. Campriano, 9, 52100 Arezzo AR

Fattoria di Poggiopiano

Dates: Saturday 11, 18 and 25 September 
Programme: picnic at sunset and wine tasting. The picnic is prepared by OSA Bistrot with Km0 ingredients.
Booking: h. 338 4342483 
Cost: 25 euros adults (picnic + tasting of 4 wines) / 18 euros children (dedicated menu)
Via dei bassi, 13 - Fiesole - FI - 50014

 Lamole di Lamole
Dates: 10 September - 31 October (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)
Programme: you can visit the Lamole di Lamole winery and see how a quality wine is made, in a unique area in the heart of Chianti Classico, combining tradition and technological innovation. The tour includes a visit to the Historic and Experimental Vineyards, the Vinification Cellar, the Historic Cellar and the Vinsantaia. At the end of the tour it will be possible to taste the 4 Chianti Classico wines with typical local products. Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Tours available at 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m.
Booking: / ph. 342 0912853
Cost: 20 euro
Via Lamole, 50022 Greve in Chianti (FI)

Campo alle comete

Date: 25th September
Programme: Walk through the vineyard and visit to the winery with the story of all the phases of the grape harvest. Followed by tasting of 3 wines accompanied by samples of crostini and typical Tuscan products.
Booking: - 0565 766056
Cost: 30 euro 
Via Fornacelle, 249 - Loc. Sughericcio 57022 Castagneto Carducci (LI)
Fattoria del Colle
Dates: September 17-19, 24-25
Programme: tastings, visits to the vineyards and the two wineries of Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in the Chianti and Orcia doc areas. But the real attraction are the masterclasses on Sangiovese held by top experts. On Saturday 18 Leonardo Taddei, AIS delegate for Lucca and responsible for teaching and the Vitae guide for the whole of Tuscany (cost: 16.00 euros), Saturday 25 David Pieroni wine ambassador for and collaborator of the Slow Wine guide (cost: 30.00 euros). 
Booking: - ph. 0577 662108
Locality Colle, 53020 Trequanda (SI)

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