Wine in Italy is far more than the squeezing of grapes! It is truly an art with its canvas being the fertile hillsides upon which vines are carefully cultivated and their grapes grown and harvested. Blended with art are history and tradition.
While the image of barefoot peasant women stomping on grapes has long been dispatched, many winemakers still adhere to the time-honored tradition of carefully handpicking the grapes to prevent damage which can be caused by modern machinery during the critical and festive period in Autumn known as the Vendemmia or harvesting of the grapes.
After the pressing, fermentation, and aging for requisite periods for each wine, the celebratory festa of Vin'ovello (Vino + Novello) or "New Wine" begins with gatherings in the local piazzas (town squares) where the young wine of one year aging is opened and tasted after generous amounts of the older and more matured or aged wines along with chestnuts and other foods are consumed and music enjoyed by the piazza party-goers.
The revelry connected with the festive nature of wine enjoyment is associated with Bacchus, the mythical Roman god of wine who is often depicted with vines and grape leaves and characterized as a raucous party-goer!