Diary of the harvest 2022

August 29, 2022

It begins!

“The 2022 harvest is off to a great start: the grapes have ripened very well and even the weather has been mild for now without hail, but with heavy showers, ideal for the vineyards” says full of energy and smiling Gianfranco Dal Cero, agronomist of the company, on this very first day of harvest.

We start with the grapes that must maintain a higher acidity: together with Turbiana, the native vine for Lugana DOC, today Chardonnay is also harvested to make classic method sparkling wines. Their freshness is due precisely to the grapes that are harvested at the beginning of the harvest. Ripe yes, but still not totally sweet.

In the company the area dedicated to crushing is ready: the running-in was carried out in recent days and today it is waiting to receive the first grapes harvested. Gianfranco and Igino work in synergy: the first in the vineyard directs the rigorously hand-made harvest, caressing every single bunch; the second controls the arrival of the grapes, the musts that derive from them and the magical alchemical transformation that takes place in the cellar, where the must eventually becomes wine.

August 31, 2022

Let’s proceed with the Chardonnay harvest. The grapes are healthy, juicy and ripe. The turn of the Turbiana will soon arrive. The resulting must is sweet and promises a truly exceptional Cuvèe dei Frati.

In the center, Igino Dal Cero, oenologist and producer of Ca ‘dei Frati, coordinates the team of our boys during the harvest. A moment of hard work that everyone carries out without ever losing their smile, knowing that they are carrying out an ancient activity founded on powerful traditions.

All the pressing area technology behind them was inaugurated in 2020 and allows almost perfect control and management of grapes and musts, completely avoiding oxidation. Furthermore, the soft pressing allows to maintain the purity of the primary aromas in the must, deriving from the grapes, thus representing the distinctive feature of the oenologist’s hand in all our wines.

September 3, 2022

The harvest proceed well: the weather is mild, slightly cloudy, however you are happy to be in the vineyard with about 28 degrees to caress the bunches for selection. The less mature ones will remain on the plant, hanging in the sun, and will be collected in a second dance in the vineyard, which will take place in about 45 days. Only the ability of man can do this job, thanks to the rough but gentle hands of about one hundred grape harvesters.

After the Chardonnay, we moved on to the Turbiana harvest, in the plots around the cellar where the grapes were already more mature. Since yesterday, after Gianfranco has checked the conditions of the grapes, the harvest of a part of the red grapes has also begun, which will flow into La Rosa dei Frati and Cuvèe Rosè in this first phase.

September 6, 2022

The harvest continues in Monte Mario in Desenzano del Garda, one of the most panoramic vineyards with an immense view that opens onto the lake. Here two teams of fifty expert grape harvesters are harvesting the first red Sangiovese and Groppello grapes. The clusters are very ripe and very large, the berries turgid and sweet.

Our guys then wait for the harvest to take it with tractors to the cellar where the sweet grapes are immediately transformed into fresh must.

September 9, 2022 

We proceed with the harvest of the red grapes: Marzemino, Sangiovese, Groppello and Barbera. This is how we prepare our blend for La Rosa dei Frati, the rosé wine that we produce dedicated to Grandma Rosa. At this time, however, not all the bunches are harvested: we select the ripest ones on the plant for a first harvest. In 45 days we will return to dance in the same vineyard to call the remaining bunches that will be part of the Ronchedone red wine to the cellar.

The grapes are very sweet and seem to have a dusting of powdered sugar on them: it is the bloom, that very fine snow that naturally settles on the berries, protecting the fruit from ultraviolet rays and preventing dehydration. In this way we receive from nature a round, turgid and … perfect grape!

September 12, 2022

In mid-September begins the harvest of the grapes that will flow into Lugana I Frati and Brolettino, our most popular DOC.

The Turbiana vineyards are very close to the company: the proximity allows us to harvest and immediately transform the grapes into must, avoiding unwanted oxidation and fermentation, which could arise due to the heat and very ripe grapes. Also in this case, we will pass again in the same vineyards after about 45 days from the first harvest. This second harvest will bring the grapes to the cellar for the Pratto, our white wine made with more mature grapes, and for the Tre Filer, a wine made from dried grapes.

Harvesting the grapes under the Tower of San Martino reminds us how many harvests these territories have already seen, rich in stories, songs and work. We can only be grateful.

September 14, 2022

The Turbiana harvest continues: in these days we will devote ourselves more to this vine which also represents the great majority present in our hectares of property. These are grapes that combine to make Lugana DOC, the appellation par excellence of the Lugana land, from which the wine takes its name. Pietro Dal Cero, our founder, together with his father Felice, was among the first signatories of the disciplinary in 1967 to give this wine authority and greater recognition. The first bottle of I Frati Lugana DOC dates back to 1969: it is the wine that the whole Dal Cero family is most fond of.

Michele has recently started tasting the musts to start dreaming and fantasizing about the new Lugana I Frati vintage 2022 that will be released next year. We can’t wait to share it with you!

September 17, 2022

The harvest also began in Valpolicella, where our 14 hectares are giving us an exceptional Corvina for Pietro Dal Cero Amarone that we will taste in the glass in about six years, or even more. It is a long and patient work that already requires a lot of attention in the present. In the vineyard, these days, the red and juicy bunches are harvested by the sweet and warm hands of women, the nurses of Amarone as we like to call them, who select only the best fruits for this precious nectar.

The pressing will take place only with the arrival of the new year. In fact, the grapes rest in very low crates compared to those used for the normal harvest. Here a single layer of fruit lies occupying a space that does not affect the freedom of those next to it. Thus avoiding crushing with great care of the grapes, the bunches are exposed from now until the end of January to local winds from Lessinia. In this phase the berries will lose water concentrating sugar which will flow into the must that we will obtain with the gennaiola pressing.

September 19, 2022

We take care of our grapes: from the harvest, carried out only manually to have a greater control of the quality of the fruits, up to the pressing.

The grapes reach our cellar as soon as they are harvested: in this way, receiving the fruits from our land that are located for a maximum radius of 20km around the company, we avoid spontaneous fermentation or deterioration of the grapes that can occur if it is not treated in the ‘immediate.

The clusters are placed inside two large tanks, but before reaching the presses, the berries are separated gently in order to remove stalks and vine leaves and any leaves.

Only then will the fruits reach the lung press which will crush the grapes in a very soft way, avoiding the extraction of tannins. This process takes place while the grapes are made to fall asleep by a thick fog of CO2 that protects them from contact with oxygen, avoiding their oxidation.

September 22, 2022

The harvest is not just a moment that concerns the exterior of the property, but it is a powerful synergy of forces to which Mother Nature in the first place, the ability of the agronomist to predict the growth and health of the plant and the foresight of the producer in the cellars .

In fact, the transformation of grapes into wine takes place in the darkness of a steel tank where fermenting yeasts generate a great boil. It is just like the cave of an alchemist who searches for the way between stills and juices to find his philosopher’s stone.

In particular, the 2022 harvest is proving to be among the best in recent years: grapes pregnant with juice, turgid and sparkling indicate that we are dealing with a superb and sought-after product.

In the photo, here are our alchemists!

September 25, 2022

One of the most beautiful vineyards is the one located around the Torre di San Martino in the battle park. It is a tower dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele to commemorate in particular the battle of San Martino and Solferino, mentioned in the school books.

Here the vines breathe sun and history. Guyot farms, the classic horizontally elongated branch that gives life to more buds, and awning, in the case of vines that are over forty years old, crown the beauty of this landscape.

Among the rhythmic songs of the harvest and the quick and safe scissoring between leaves and branches, yellow and red boxes stand out among the rows. We proceed in this collection row by row, plant by plant, year by year.

September 28, 2022

In Valpolicella we proceed with the collection of Corvina, together with Corvinone and Rondinella. All red grapes that need a lot of light and heat from the sun. Our vineyard is called “Luxinum” for this reason: from the Latin, “lux” or light, because it has the good fortune of being constantly exposed to the warm rays of the sun for twelve hours.

After selecting the grapes, our Amarone nurses place the bunches in low crates: here only a single layer of grapes can be contained to avoid crushing. Ripe grapes would easily break, generating unwanted fermentation and oxidation. It is therefore necessary to take great care of the fruit at this particular moment.

The boxes full of grapes are then taken to a drying room where they will remain until January. In this period the clusters will lose water, concentrating the sugary part, which will then become the alcohol content in the wine. During this rest of four months, we take advantage of the natural winds of the Lessinia park for the drying of the grapes. Here our guys are transporting the freshly picked grapes to the fruit cellar where nature will do the rest.

October 1, 2022

These last days of the harvest see the vineyards harvested at the beginning of September as protagonists. Strange, right? It will be the Turbiana grapes that will give life to Pratto, the bland with two international vines Chardonnay and Sauvignon, and to Tre Filer, the passito with the same grapes. In fact, after the first harvest, in which we select the most ready bunches, we pass in the same vineyard about 45 days later to collect the bunches that have reached maturity only later. These therefore more mature than the previous ones will have a higher degree of sweetness and, in the case of the Tre Filer passito, the grapes remain on the plant even to dry. It is a work of manual choice and selection that only the human mind is able to do. Our grape harvesters therefore have great responsibility! The cluster of Turbiana also naturally helps the winemaker. Its shape, more open at the top and elongated at the bottom, allows the berries to somehow breathe. In fact, the lake breeze constantly dries the bunch from the humidity that forms due to the change in temperature between day and night, an excursion that is typical of our areas and which greatly favors the development of the plant.

October 4, 2022

It is shortly until the end of the 2022 harvest: if the weather resists and still gives us a few warm and sunny days, we will be able to finish the harvest of the last white grape shortly.

We are in fact at the second harvest in the same vineyard: the grapes are harvested right in the hectares around our estate and then again where we left some bunches to ripen further. The sugar concentration in early October is very high: when tasted, the grape is very soft, a sign of great ripeness, and its juice is almost cloying.

The skill of the agronomist Gian Franco now is to know how to calibrate the last harvest well: one more or less day he could really make a difference, ruining the grapes left on the plant. In fact, a very ripe grape is also very delicate and there are many problems it can encounter, not least some greedy country folklore! For this reason, on beautiful and sunny days it is harvested as long as there is light and the work in the cellar proceeds for a further three hours after the last harvest.

Our boys, however, have fun together and for dinner a glass of Lugana I Frati 2021 cannot be missing, which favors the success of the next year!

October 7, 2022

We have finished the harvest and, as per our tradition, the last day of harvest is a celebration! The last grapes harvested were those of the Turbiana vineyards, those bunches that at the time of a first harvest had been left selected on the plant to be able to receive them in the cellar later and thus have a greater sweetness to make different references, in particular our passito Tre Filer and the Pratto. With this last post we greet you: thank you for staying close to us throughout the harvest. We are waiting for you to taste the new vintages that will be born from this 2022 harvest and which will be ready in March 2023! Now let’s go celebrate with all our staff – more than 200 people involved during the harvest! – with a nice glass of Lugana!