The olive tree has its roots in the depths of the soil and its presence draws the Tuscany landscape. And while the vines work in group, resembling each other in their rows, every olive tree has his own shape: a painter of Assisi in Umbria, an area full of olive trees like Tuscany, drew olive trees telling everybody that every olive tree looks like a human figure with hands raised toward heaven; do visit an olive grove in Tuscany to find out how he was right!
The olives like the grapes, are Fall fruits and the olives harvest is one of the most tuscan traditional events in November throughout Tuscany and Chianti region.
There is no a precise date for starting the olives harvest; there are several factors that determine it, such as the olive trees exposure to the sun, the olive variety and the climate that has taken place in the summer just ended. Usually, the first week of November is the time of the beginning and the olives picking will continue until December.
The important thing is to harvest then when the fruits are ripe, when the olives have reached the maximum of their size and almost start to wilt, losing a bit of water in the pulp in favor of the fat. This allows to obtain the maximum yield of high-quality tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
For the olives harvest in Tuscany and Chianti a large amount of manpower is needed, because mechanized harvesting is often difficult due to the ground conditions; also, many producers who love their olive trees think it is even impossible to implement because it disrupts the soil and plants. This means that in November all the olive groves, from the biggest to the smallest, are populated by whole families with friends, all of them engaged in the exact same harvesting to which the Chianti hills assist for centuries.
The harvest technique is the same for centuries: very hard work with baskets and nets as well as lunches in the olive groves, with a lot of tuscan Chianti to wet the dry throats of tired pickers.
In general to harvest an olive tree, it takes one hour and one olive tree is about a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
In November and December during our Tuscany wine tasting you will have the chance to taste chianti and the just press extra virgin olive oil and see the olives trees surrounded by nets. People pick the olives by hand, one by one, dropping them into the net, collecting them in baskets and carrying them to the olive mill within 72 hours to ensure a low acidity of the olive oil, as a matter of fact, the lower is acidity the better is the quality.