Definition - What does Vendemmiatore mean?
The English to Italian translations of vendemmiatore include “hand picker”, “grape gatherer” and “vintager”, this Italian term is used to describe vineyard workers responsible for hand picking grape clusters. Before the invention of mechanical vine harvesters, these workers were responsible for pruning, handling and selecting the grapes during harvest. Some wineries still prefer to use hand pickers over machines, as they select the best bunches, are gentler on fragile vines and can harvest in vineyards that have a deep slope where machines cannot operate.
WineFrog explains Vendemmiatore
Historically, the vendemmiatore are very important to wine-making culture in Italy, it was perceived as a workplace position for the lower classes and immigrants. There are many paintings, poems, writings and artistic works devoted to the profession that, while for the lower castes, was still regarded as noble.
Currently, hand picking is reserved for high quality vineyards that have older, brittle vines with high value grapes that require extra attention and care. Still today, the human vineyard workers are composed of migrants, students and immigrant workers and are a large expense for wineries who choose to use them.