The grape harvesting season in Greece – and every wine-producing country – is a celebration almost as sacred as a religious festivity. Coinciding with the end of summer and the kick-off of the school year (which eternally symbolizes new beginnings), it incorporates the intoxicating aroma of the sun and the warm tenderness of autumn.
The exact harvesting time is carefully chosen (based on science and experience) since it determines the sweetness, acidity, and flavor of the wine. The grapes are hand-picked from the vineyards, handled with the gentleness reserved for a woman’s breast. These fruits are the result of years of careful cultivation, investment, and anticipation: they represent a part of the wine-producer’s soul and breathe at the tempo of his heartbeat, so they are always welcomed with the respect and joy they deserve. Laughter and conviviality fill the area, wishes for a good year ahead, fun activities, singing and dancing, lots of food, and, of course, wine. And then, there is silence, as the must initially ferments, before entering the shrine of the cellar where it ages – a baby in the mother’s womb – surrounded by the scent of the wood, the protection of the stone, and the devotion of the vintner. Despite the science involved, winemaking is an art which, like life itself, requires long-term patience, passion, and faith; that’s why every milestone is honored, and even in our modern, widely-urban era, the grape-harvesting period perpetually keeps us connected to the power of the land and the significance of the seasons. [Read more…]