The Great Vendemmia

Sadie H. is currently a junior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Chatham Hall in Virginia.

Looking over the rows of the neatly managed vines struggling to hold the weight of their beautiful fruit, I had a thought. Going to the vineyard for the vendemmia was when I realized just how lucky I am to be learning about harvesting grapes and the science of making wine instead of sitting in a classroom learning traditional science. When else would I have gotten to learn about how grape juice turns into alcohol and what the difference between red and white wine was? We went from harvesting grapes at the vineyard to the cantina where we began the process of separating grapes from their stems. With my hands deep in a vat of grapes, it was hard to imagine anything more hands on. I got to make wine as homemade as it possibly could be, however I never thought of this as anything other than a normal day at SYA Italy. From this experience, I have decided that I want to attempt to grow grapes at my home in Virginia!

Thinking of this process of harvesting grapes and eventually producing wine made me reflect on something I liked most so far about Italy: the quality of food! I eat fresh food every day for every meal, and I realized just how important food was to Italian culture. Here in Italy, eating local is not just a trend. There are two or three large chain restaurants as there are anywhere, but otherwise the norm is eating at family owned and operated restaurants. So many restaurants aim to franchise in the US, however what I have noticed is that in Italy restaurants are so much more than just a place to have a meal. They are a place to have conversations, laugh, and enjoy fresh, delicious food. Even from this first month and a half in Italy, I have begun to appreciate food and it’s importance so much more.

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