The grape harvest has begun in Italy. But this year, it is necessary to collect bunches of sun berries, taking precautions related to the coronavirus. Workers should keep a safe distance from each other and wear medical masks.
“Although we work outdoors, we must maintain social distance and wear masks,” says grape picker Antonia Palma. “We don't have to wear them all the time, just when we come here for lunch or drive to the vineyard in a car that can carry no more than two people.”
The Coldiretti Agricultural Union estimates that Italian winemakers produce a total of $ 11 billion a year. The wine sector employs a million 300 thousand people.
But the quarantine measures caused by the coronavirus pandemic have hit winemaking hard. Wine sales are down 4% this year. This is the first drop in the last 30 years.
Antonio Santarelli, owner of the Casale Del Giglio vineyard: “We have all gone through a very difficult time due to the collapse in sales. Fortunately, everything is back to normal, things are slowly but surely getting better. Slowly due to the fact that they are in no hurry to open restaurants and liquor stores, that is, our main customers. ”
Sales of the Casale Del Giglio winery, located south of Rome, have skyrocketed due to the demand for wine in the seaside resorts, where Italian holidaymakers rushed.