Planting Primitivo Grapes in Puglia
Here in Southern Italy, drinking wine with your meal is practically a ritual. Having meals around a table with friends and family is still a thriving tradition, especially when the husband has been in the countryside working all day long on the family vineyard. Coming home to a warm and substantial meal is a communal way to give thanks and spend quality time with the rest of the family.
While drinking wine is still for some of us a daily event, planting grapes is a “once in a lifetime” event. There are a couple of reasons as to why that is, coming down mostly to both “yielding” (the vines are too old and need re-planting) and labor, where the particular method of raising grapes becomes the deciding factor. During our VoomaTrip next March to Puglia, our VoomaGo Local Vincenzo will be replanting his grapes, making the rows wider so the grapes can be attended to with some automation. This marks a new trend taking place in the South of Italy, where farmers like Vincenzo are aging and no longer have the strength to manually care for their crops alone.
The areas surrounding the ancient cities of Puglia—Manduria and Salento—are the regions best known for the cultivation of primitivo grapes due to the richness of the soil, the mineral characteristics, and the vicinity to the sea. Wine making and olive oil production are still the two main industries employing its population.
Primitivo grapes are also known as Zinfandel, a variety of black-skinned grapes grown in Puglia since the ‘700s. The sugar content of this grape is so high that it can yield a wine with 15% or more of alcohol, and thanks to the warm climate in Puglia, Italian Primitivo is a very unique and fruity with blackberry, cherry, anise, and sometimes even pepper overtones. An outstanding wine that’s very easy to fall in love with!
If you are thinking about traveling to Italy early next year and want to experience this unique one-time event, then join our locals Tonino and Vincenzo in Puglia and learn firsthand how grapes become wine from the very beginning to the very end. Their vineyard is not your typical factory winery, but rather a family-owned field of grapes that’s been passed down for generations—since the 800s, to be exact.
This is a great opportunity to get a completely full circle wine experience, from planting the small vine in rich soil to the wine tasting and pairing at the dining table. And all of it takes place in a small intimate family atmosphere, sharing meals prepared with love and organic produce from their millennia-old gardens.
You asked for authentic, you got it. This is one of the most authentic ways you can possibly experience Southern Italy’s historic culture and wonderful people.