In Arbois, France, where I recently spent a very happy couple of days recharging my batteries, the grape harvest is celebrated in a very special ceremony in early September every year. The first of the grapes are used to make the Biou, an enormous bunch of grapes made up of dozens of smaller ones. The Biou is paraded in the streets to general celebration, carried by four local winemakers and accompanied by two fiddles. The Biou is then hung in the ancient parish church of St-Just as an offering to God (and I suspect as a throwback to a more pagan ritual).
Gilles Thouyard's 1988 stained glass depiction of the Biou.
Eglise St-Just, Arbois
Good luck and buon lavoro to all our friends in the wine industry who are harvesting their grapes about now. We look forward to schlepping a few cases up the hill and popping those corks in years to come!