How to Harvest?

Apparently the answer to this question would seem to be simple and obvious.

But why is it important to know some of the details linked to the harvest? Why these may seriously affect the quality of the wine and on its value?

In the meantime, let’s speak about the conformation of the vineyards.

In Italy, the “training system” may differ according to the variation in the characteristics of the terrain and the climate.

It is true, it does seem strange to speak about training in regard to vines, but for “training system” we mean the shape that the plant will take on.

In Italy they are:

  • Sapling(or goblet): The vine has little foliage (with the absence of guides), the pruning generally is short.
  • Pergola: the support structure for the vine is situated transversally between the rows and there is no permanent cordon (or the lateral branch in respect to the stump)
  • Marquee: The support structure is situated longways or crossways, there is no permanent cordon and the heads of the fruit develop horizontally. Also in this case the pruning is mixed.


  • Bellusera: the brace is provided with ascending arms, along which permanent cordons develop. The heads of the fruit are in a descending position, the pruning is mixed and the vegetation is partly free and partly forced.


  • Espalier:also called "counter-espalier", it has the characteristic of having the support structure placed horizontally and along the row. Depending on the pruning system used, it takes different names (Guyot, Spurred Cordon, Sylvoz, etc.).


Then, also the makeup of the soil has an effect. For example, in hill country it is not always easy to carry out the harvest.

To cultivate vines in many regions of Italy where there are steep hills, terracing is created with stone walls  that retain the cultivated soil, forming a kind of stairway that follows the curve of the hill or mountain.

This explanation helps to understand why some Ligurian, Valtellina or Campania wines have higher prices, prices that reflect the costs incurred, not only for the annual maintenance, but also for the labour required to effect the harvest.

This introduces us to another aspect of the harvest: manual or mechanized?

The manual harvest guarantees a higher quality of the grapes harvested and of the final product.

The harvester, in fact, thanks to his experience and knowledge, can choose with greatest care the grapes that are found in the best condition and that have reached the level of maturity ideal for the production of a determined type of wine.


Furthermore,the manual harvest preserves the integrity of the individual grape, reducing the risk of dangerous damage to the fruit, with the consequent spillage of the must, and protecting the grape from dangerous oxidation phenomena that would compromise the quality of the wine. 

All this depends on the ability, the precision and the sensitivity of the harvester. For example, in the use of small containers that avoid too much crushing of the bunches or ensuring that the wagon into which the grapes are loaded doesn’t heat up too much provoking fermentation of the grape.

Mechanical harvesting is achieved with the use of special machines, called “grape-pickers” that collect the bunches of grapes by stripping the plant.

Compared with the manual method, this kind of harvest considerably reduces both the harvesting time - because the machine  is quicker and is able to reap a greater quantity of grapes in a smaller time period - and the labour and production costs.

One can well understand that how the grapes are harvested should be taken into consideration when evaluating the quality and value of the wine.

Tenuted’Italia wines are all produced with grapes harvested by hand in order to better preserve the grapes and the successive processes of fermentation.

When does the harvest normally begin? There is no set date. Fundamentally, the experienced winegrowers, before fixing a start date, make all the necessary analyses to verify the characteristics of the grape (ph, polyphenols etc). According to the type of grape and the level of maturation that one wants to achieve, generally the harvest period runs from August to November.

This year, for example, we at Tenute dItalia, after having effected the analyses, established that the Pignoletto, the grape with which we produce the ISTRIONE and the PIGNOLETTO spumante, had all the optimum values for harvesting. So in the middle of August our team started the manual harvest.

Santerno pignoletto spumante 03r

The next phase of the harvest is the winemaking. Remember how one achieves “Red vinification” and “White vinification”?

Click on the link below and have a good read!


[Our] Red Vinification: The Grapes - part 1

[Our] White Vinification: Harvesting - part 1

Why is the grape harvest in Italy such an important event?

Just a month to winter: how to make mulled wine?

Winter is coming and with it the cold December days, to be spent under the covers with a good hot drink. Board games, chat with friends, a lit fireplace and moments of sharing to be framed with a good glass of mulled wine, the typical hot winter drink, prepared close to the Christmas holidays.

Mulled wine, also known as vin chaud, is the typical aromatic and fragrant drink that invades the Christmas markets and warms the hearts of those who are most tied to tradition.

Based on full-bodied red wine, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and citrus fruits, mulled wine is very simple to prepare, even for those who do not have the time or the desire to venture into the crowded Christmas markets.

Practical tips for preparing mulled wine

To properly prepare mulled wine, it is first of all necessary to select the spices responsible for the flavoring of the drink and the appropriate red wine. In this regard, it would be better to choose a full-bodied, high quality wine, such as Sangiovese or Merlot: it is important to use only one, without mixing it with other types.

Mulled wine: advice, variations and conservation

Mulled wine has remote origin: the friars’ brotherhoods were the first to prepare it, thanks to their knowledge of aromatic alcoholic beverages. The friars used "burnt wine" as a natural medicine against colds, taking advantage of its disinfectant and toning action.

Over time the mulled wine recipe has evolved, making small changes and variations.

In addition to cinnamon and citrus fruits, ginger and cardamom are also used today: the use of spices purchased shortly before the preparation of mulled wine is important in order to give the drink the right taste.

Also for the choice of sugar it is possible to use both white and cane ones, but honey is not to be excluded, being perfect for giving a slightly different flavor note to our warm cuddle.

A good mulled wine can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of three days: before serving it, always remember to cook it over a low heat, being careful not to burn it.

The result will be a warm, slightly alcoholic drink, suitable for any situation.

After selecting the right wine and spices, we can proceed with the preparation: in a steel pot pour sugar, citrus peel, spices and red wine and mix everything for about 10 minutes, on low heat.

Then filter the liquid mixture and pour it into heat-resistant cups: an imaginative decoration will make our creation even more joyful, as will the addition of citrus slices or cinnamon sticks.

Organic wine: a look at sustainable development

Organic wine is consolidating itself as a significant reality of the Italian agri-food industry: it is no longer a fashion and not even a niche product, but rather a real ally for the protection and enhancement of the territory.

First of all, organic wine is a product that derives from a cultivation method with very specific rules, which categorically excludes the use of pesticides or synthetic chemical fertilizers.

The main idea is to believe in the potential of a chemical-free vineyard, completely dependent on and respectful of the local vine variety area and far from all those pesticides that tend to stimulate quantitative production.

To fertilize the land, on the other hand, organic fertilizers are used and greater attention is paid to strengthening the plants to prevent possible damage by parasites: organic wine is therefore much more oriented towards the idea of ​​qualitative production, focusing on the precious relationship between land, plant and climate and respecting their times and production.

In 2012, the European Union finally made it possible to regularize the organic wine sector: the European Regulation 203/2012 establishes strict rules regarding the production of organic wines, outlining the methods of vinification and allowing the use of the relevant European logo on the label, for companies certified by an authorized body.

Obviously, within the limits imposed by the legislation, each certified organic producer follows its own specific conduct, using the oenological practices that are closest to its concept of sustainable agriculture.

Here at Tenute d'Italia, we have always considered the fundamental principles of our work in full  respect and enhancement of the territory!

To further increase these values, ​​we have therefore decided to concentrate our energies in the production of two organic wines that we will soon present to you in detail: Sangiovese Polidoro and Albana Ribalda.

We are waiting for you on our social media pages with many, many news!

The Colour of the Wine

One of the main elements of visual analysis is the definition - and description - of the colour: it is certainly one of the fundamental characteristics of the wine, so much so that the most common classification of this product is based on it (white, red and rosé).

But where does the color of a wine come from? This question allows us to start our journey to discover the fascinating process of creating wine. In addressing the theme of winemaking we won’t limit ourselves to illustrating the various technical steps that allow the transformation of grapes into wine. Rather, we will try to highlight the importance that the choices of the producer have, at every single stage, with regard to the characteristics and the personality of the final product.

That brings us to our first topic, namely the difference that underlies the main characteristic of a wine: the colour.

The answer seems obvious: from white grapes we get white wine , and from red grapes, red wine.

What about rose wines? The idea that they are created by mixing the other two is resolutely denied. In any case, this is permitted only in extremely rare cases, and even then only at the level of the musts, so in a pre-fermentative phase. However, their particularity may not be enough to question the efficacy of our equation.

When some friends visited our company, walking through the vineyards we showed them the bunches of grapes soon to be harvested to produce the new vintages of the wines we had just tasted. Almost by chance we asked them a question that roused great wonder: have you noticed that, if you crush a red grape, the must that comes out is clear?

The relationship between the colour of the grape and that of the wine, therefore, exists, and it is equally true that it resides (literally!) in the skin of the grapes: however, this correlation is not automatic, but derives from a straight forward production choice.

In other words, the colour of the wine is defined by the vinification technique adopted: the so-called white vinification involves the immediate separation of the skins from the must; whilst the vinification of red wines requires that we take advantageof the colouring power of the pomace (the term used to define what remains of the grape once its pulp has been extracted).

In the first case, the colour of the wine will be determined by the type and concentration of the pigments present in the grape pulp only, but in general it will be possible to obtain white musts (and, therefore, white wines), characterized by pale hues (straw yellow).

The red vinification process exploits the maceration technique, specifically the longer or shorter periods of contact between the must and the pomace, to extract the colour from the skins. In this case, the decisive determining factor is not only the concentration of the colouring substances in the grape used. It also depends on the duration of the procedure (which can vary from a few days to more than a month) and the temperature at which it is effected. 

In fact, it’s sufficient to consider the simple preparation of a cup of tea to understand how much the heat can favour (and accelerate) the process of transferring colour and aroma into a liquid. 

So is there an unequivocal correlation between the colour of the grape and the type of vinification?Absolutely not! The definition used to distinguish the two methods (white vinification and red vinification) could actually be misleading. Actually, either method can be applied to any type of wine depending on the type of wine you want to obtain.

Think for example of the increasingly widespread tendency to macerate for white wines too, to enrich both their colouration and their aromatic properties. Conversely, with Pinot Noir, for example, the white vinification method is used for the production of numerous types of spumante wines.

There is a really interesting phrase that sums up precisely this type of product and is absolutely perfect for our topic: blanc de noirs (literally “white from black”).

This is precisely how the sparkling wines obtained exclusively from black berried grapes (usually Pinot Noir) are defined. Produced, as they are, with white vinification.

To complete the argument, we must point out that the phrase blanc de blancs will, on the contrary, indicate the use of only white grapes.In fact, both phrases mark a particular interpretation of what we might call the most classic sparkling wine recipe (more precisely that of Champagne) which involves the use of both types of grape.

We will tell you about...our Harvest!

There is only a little more than a month to go before the harvest begins, and to pay homage to this truly magical moment, around which all our work literally revolves, we are working on a very special project, created together with our technicians to bring you (virtually) into our cellars to observe first-hand how the wine is produced.

Better: we’re going to tell you all about the work that we do, or rather the particular techniques and processes that are carried out specifically by our staff for the production of wines from the Tenute d'Italia catalogue.

Our story will be articulated by revealing each phase of the two main winemaking techniques, the white and the redvinifications, through the direct testimony of our technicians.

You can start making your contributions right now to enrich our interviews by sending us your questions and telling us your curiosities through our social channels or by email.

What determines the SOFTNESS of the wine?

How many times have you heard this adjective used with regard to wine?

In the previous article we have discussed the fact that some components present in wine, for example the alcohol, may make us detect a certain ‘softness’ of the wine.

But to clarify the matter, we would like to underline that the softness of a wine is not a characteristic of flavor, dictated by our taste buds, but it is a tactile sensation of density, of roundness of the wine, which envelops the tongue and palate, linked to the characteristics of the vine, to the structure of the wine and the way it was vinified.

In what sense can the characteristics of the vine affect the softness of the wine produced?

Among the substances present during the fermentation of the grape is glycerine, a principle component of the polyalcohols. On its own glycerine does not have any aromatic qualities but thanks to its sweetish flavour and its viscosity and density it contributes to increasing the sense of fullness and softness in the mouth.

The specific characteristics of grapes are one of the important elements for determining the amount of glycerin produced during fermentation. For this reason vines such as Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay are known for the production of softer wines and for being used to "soften" and balance other types of wines which by nature are sharper and more astringent.

What determines the SWEETNESS of the wine?

What would be your answer to this question?

This question, which may seem banal, in reality allows us to investigate different aspects which contribute to the achievement of this sensation perceived by our palate as we are tasting the wine.

Let’s start by saying that the basic tastes that we can identify are these four: acidic, salty, sweet and bitter and from the combination of these four flavours arise all the other flavours.

We are able to identify these flavours thanks to the sensory receptors present in our oral cavity and which are called taste buds. To be more specific the sweet flavour is identified mainly by the taste buds at the tip of the tongue.

It is interesting that this sensation identified by our tongue is not exclusively traceable to the sugars present in the wine that we are tasting, but also to other factors, internal and external to the wine, such as the alcoholic content or the serving temperature of the wine itself. 

Let’s try to better understand these three components.

Having already read our articles about the fermentation process we learned how the sugars present in the grape must, become metabolized by the yeast and transformed into alcohol.

But in reality, not all the sugars are metabolized completely, due either to the sugar’s natural structure or to the choices made by the winemaker. For example, some types of sugars, such as those defined as "pentose sugars", cannot be transformed into alcohol by yeasts due to their structure. On the other hand, the winemaker may choose to halt the fermentation at a specific moment, determining how much glucose and fructose to leave in the wine. The set of these sugars defines the "sugar residue" and contributes to our perception of sweetness.

On the basis of this indicator, a scale of sweetness has been defined according to the residual sugar present in the wine, which defines still wines as "Dry" (less than 5 g/l), "Semi-dry" (between 5-30 g/l; up to 15 g/l it is defined as “Abboccato”), “Semi-sweet” (between 30-50 g/l), “Sweet” (above 50 g/l).

For sparkling wines this scale of sweetness varies, as the effervescence given by the carbon dioxide present in them, given its acidic action, tends to attenuate the perception of sweetness in the wine, harmonizing wines which often have very high quantities of sugar residues. The sweetness scale for sparkling wines is: "Brut Nature" (less than 3 gr/l), "Extra-Brut" (from 3-6 gr/l), "Brut" (from 6-12 gr/l) , “Extra dry” (from 12-17 g/l), “Dry” (from 17-32 g/l), “Semi-dry” (from 32-50 g/l) and “Sweet” (over 50 g/l L).

As discussed above, another component in the wine that contributes to the sensation of sweetness that we find when we drink a wine, are the alcohols present in it.  In our mouths the alcohols provoke a sense of “sweetness” similar to the sweetness from the sugars and as a result they may accentuate the sensation of sweetness that we perceive.

Let's give practical examples of wines that we will introduce to you in more detail in the next articles:  “Il Sapiente Limited Edition” is a Barbera Sangiovese blend (60% Barbera – 40% Sangiovese), greatly appreciated by our partners because it is an innovative wine in an elegant guise. It has a residual sugar of about 10gr/lt, therefore it is a "sweet" wine, a very "international" taste, whose softness is also perceptible thanks to the high alcohol content (15%), a significant amount but not so strong as to limit the drinking.


In contrast, we propose the "Ducamante Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore", pure Sangiovese, with a residual sugar of about 4gr/l, therefore on paper a "dry" wine, but still soft, the sweetness in this case being perceptible thanks to its alcoholic content.

Ducamante Superiore 2022

But we said that there is another external factor that influences the perception of sweetness in a wine, and we are speaking of temperature.

The serving temperature of a wine can change our perception of the sensation of sweetness, falsifying it. Why are sweet wines usually served at a low temperature?

Because this compensates for the high presence of sugars that otherwise may not be so pleasant.

In the case, for example, of red wines, which are served at a higher temperature, the temperature stimulates the taste buds and tricks our brain into perceiving greater sweetness. This phenomenon is defined by wine makers as ‘Thermic sugars’.

We have tried to explain to you in a simple way what causes the sensation of sweetness during a wine tasting, and as we have discussed above, this sensation confers to the wine a certain ‘softness’. In the next article we’ll talk about this topic.

Wine storage: let's discover how to preserve wine

Wine storage is a much discussed issue, far from obvious.

Understanding how to preserve wine is in fact essential to keep the characteristics of the product unchanged, allowing a functional evolution.

When deciding how to preserve wine, there are many variables to consider.

The environment surrounding the bottles must not in fact compromise their aging: temperature, light and ventilation must therefore be constantly monitored.

Wine storage: light, temperature and inclination

The factors to be analyzed when choosing how to proceed with wine storage, are disparate and closely related to maintaining its quality.

Humidity - for example - is one of the most important variables, to be kept absolutely under control. The optimal storage environment should never exceed 75% relative humidity, otherwise the bottles could be seriously damaged by mold, which would also affect the contents.

Light plays a fundamental role in the conservation of wine, too. Photosensitive and not particularly accustomed to neon, wine prefers to rest in more shady environments. In fact, light accelerates its decay process, affecting its olfactory and gustatory properties.

Even the inclination is very important when thinking about how to preserve wine. The perfect inclination is in fact 5 °, because it allows the residues to settle on the bottom of the bottle, keeping the cap moist and preventing the entry of oxygen.

Before consuming it, we advise you to keep the bottle vertically for a while, so as to separate the sediments from the real "liquid" of the wine.

Wine storage: the difference between red and white 

Obviously, the conservation of wine is not the same for all types.

While red wine can be stored at higher temperatures (up to a maximum threshold of 18 °), white requires a lower temperature, no more than 12 ° degrees. An important detail to consider when deciding how to preserve wine is the age of the product.

Younger reds require a few degrees less than older colleagues.


A too low temperature storage can cause a block in the evolution of the product, increasing the possibility - for the sediments - to settle on the bottom of the bottle. On the contrary, too high temperatures can cause the alcohol to evaporate, irreparably ruining the flavor of the product.

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Tenute D'Italia is a trade mark of Morini s.r.l.
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