Olive picking is one of the most traditional appointments of the month of November throughout Tuscany, and consequently in the Chianti area too.
The precise date for the olive harvest varies depending on the zone, the variety of olive and the climatic conditions over the past summer. It normally begins in the first week of November and ends in mid-December, but it must be done before the ripe fruit begins to fall off the tree, when the olives have reached the maximum size and the pulp begins to lose a little firmness. This makes it possible to pick the largest number of olives per tree and have the maximum oil yield, while maintaining quality levels. Normally 100 kg of olives yield 16 -18 kg of oil.
Many hands are needed to pick olives in the Chianti area. Machine-assisted harvesting is problematic, indeed it is almost always impossible, being too traumatic for both the land and the trees. This means that in the month of November all the olive groves, from those of the large oil-making firms to the smallest holiday farms, are populated by entire families, helped by friends and labourers, all busy doing what has been done for centuries in the Chianti hills.
The harvest is often performed using the same techniques as those used centuries ago, and with the same simplicity: hard labour using nets and baskets, but also snacks and dinners in the olive grove, based on cold meats, pecorino cheese and, of course, a bottle of chianti classico to 'wet the whistles' of the tired olive pickers. After harvesting the olives are taken to the oil mill for cleaning, crushing and finally oil extraction.
In November some members of Albergo del Chianti's staff, namely practically the whole BUSSOTTI family, move to the village of "Montefioralle" to pick their own olives, where they have 900 trees, helped by friends and regular overseas guests, Belgians, Germans, etc. To help them with their harvesting and for them to show you where all this is happening:
We look forward to seeing you in November.