At the end of August, beginning of September, the 'Grape harvester' starts in Ikaria, like throughout Greece, during this period.
Ikaria is an island with a fertile ground for vine development, appropriate climate and morphology. Ikaria as a place of worship of the god Dionysus, known since antiquity, offers unique flavors and quality of grape must and wine.
The island is famous for its wine tradition and its strong red wine with beneficial properties, known from mythology, known as 'Pramneios wine'. Linked to the worship of the god Dionysus, who,according to mythology, was born in Ikaria and specifically in a cave near Drakano. In antiquity, the name 'Pramneios' comes from the words "soothe the fury", while according to another version, there was a mountain in Ikaria, 'Pramnos' where people cultivated vines ("Pramnos grapevine"), from which came 'pramneios wine'. According to subsequent investigations, the name comes from Pramnos, the mountain range now called Atheras.
The harvest (grape harvest) is an important activity for a viticulturist and refers to picking the grapes.The period of the harvest is of great importance for the quality of the grapes and the wine later. The ripening process is different and at different rates in each grape variety. Everyone has its own way of understanding when the grapes are ready, either by trying some berries or empirically by eye when the grapes have the desired color and flavor, either artificially by densitometry.
The varieties grown mainly in Ikaria: fokiano, begleri, Mandilara and reteno and vineyards are organic and non-crop produced generally dry, semi-dry or sweet wines, red, white or rosé.
In the past....
According to tradition, the old days Ikarians growers, went on the day of the Prophet Elias on July 20, at the church a few bunches of grapes from the first crop of them to bless the priest, so is the rest of the good harvest.
Then began the change. The exchange, which was the dominant element of the society on the island. Someone offered his services, a product or an art and guaranteed to turn someone else, another need. Thus, with the harvest, gather family and friends and help throughout the process: other at picking grapes, another to Carry and so was the work.
After the grapes are collected in baskets or bins, wash them well-well in ponds and transported to 'petalo' or wine press, as it is better known. There began the 'dance' with crushing grapes by foot. The was a square stone tank, where the grapes were pressed and the must come out of a hole ('pelemi') and driver.This in a container ('apodochi'), usually a jar ('pythari'). Then the jars were kept in the cellar of a house or a bench outside the house ('pythostasi') in the shade, buried in the ground, sealed with circular plates with a hole in the middle, and from which a tornado anarrofousan wine.
The past years the harvest was cause for celebration and feasting traditions, despite a rural labor. The housewife had prepared food and the feasting began! Teasing dinane and passes and kept dancing until late.
Nowadays the harvest and production of wine or raki is made with more modern techniques, for both domestic producers and the big island's wineries, producing wine psotites for local and foreign market.
The grape harvest is done carefully by hand with a utility knife or scissors and trygimena grapes collected in baskets. Then driven to a special ripper to remove the stems and from there a extractor. A large tank, ie, where is the first separation of the 'Zoom' (liquids) and grape. Then the marc go to press, to squeeze out more and must. Then, the must is thrown to the next tanks which have double walls and cooling do. With "moustometro" through the sample (machine like a thermometer), confirming how ready the moustos.Telos the 'juice' that comes placed in oak barrels to mature through the alcoholic fermentation and become wine.
The 'tsipouro' made by distilling grape, that grape residue left after pressing and extracting the wort.
Several locals keep grape to produce must pudding or other products based on the grape. Often boiled wort with viscous, molasses, offered as dessert to welcome or even used as a drug.
Even today, in Ikaria, the whole process from harvesting, crushing grapes, until the manufacture of wine, is a unique enjoyable experience for people of all ages who choose to visit the island at the time, to participate in or attend the harvest.
The wineries and vineyards of the island, waiting for you to browse, explore and taste unique wines and get you the best memories.
Start today winemaking exploring of Ikaria!