Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vineyard Hopping - Casal Di Principe (Ce) - Az. Agrituristica Arbustum

Harvest season - Campania.  For my first vendemmia of 2012, I chose a small vineyard with a big story.  The Asprinio di Aversa vineyard belonging to Az. Agrituristico Arbustum in the town of Casel Di Principe in Caserta...about 30 minutes from Naples.  Asprinio di Aversa- a white grape found in this part of the country has been around a long time, some believe as far back as the Etruscan period. And that explains the training system that many vineyards that produce this grape still use today.

Vines that grow amazingly high -50 to 60 feet.  Vines that are attached or 'married' to poplar trees. Imagine... ridiculously  tall vines reaching up to the sky.  Spectacular to view, but an incredible task to maintain, prune, and of course, at this time of year...harvest.

That's where they come in.  The uomini ragno, spider men. And if you ever get a chance to see them at work, you'll instantly understand.   These uomini ragno carry extremely tall narrow ladders. The distance between each ladder rung is measured so that each harvester can hang on to the ladder with one leg so that his arms are free for him to reach up up and over...grasping bunches of grapes with his bare-experienced hands.   The baskets (plastic or straw wicker) float up and down in symphony as the harvests continued.  Crates of grapes being filled before my eyes...a mixture of yellows, greens, and lightly kissed by the sun browns...

It was breathtaking. I was watching tradition...a dying tradition unfortunately.
Because as exciting as this was to watch, I couldn't help but think about reality.  The reality of how labor intensive it is to maintain a vineyard 50 feet above ground. The reality of how there aren't many young people who are interested in becoming a uomini ragno, a spider man.




  1. thanks for your photos and video. you produce a magnificent atmosphere.

  2. ciao angelo...thanks and i'll see you soon!