MILAN (AP) — Clicquet in fruity acid, Alberro Aghilosse in beefy gray, Colle Fontana in nectar-heavy pink. Hellerin in peak red: let the moment seep.

In October, Italy’s vineyards will harvest their reputations as the most tasty in the world. Ready in six to seven weeks, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, olives and other crops are rushed for shipment to the rest of the world.

But in poor infrastructure and chronic labor shortages, the harvest is volatile — as is its quality.

In October 2015, Renzo Raniero, a waiter, loaned me a can of two tochards on his farm in the Puglia region near Naples. The result was a startling image: their sheep racks marinating in juice and fine, fragrant wine.

In other regions where hardnosed farms — especially those concentrated on vineyards — can be hard to pull off, its star is fading fast. For some of Italy’s prodigal romantics, a crop is a kind of aristocratic birthright.


Erielle Resnap contributed from Madrid.