While interviewing the owner and assistant wine maker at Fattoria San Donato near San Gimignano in Tuscany we were served a lunch of local cured meats, pecorino cheeses with chestnut honey and farro salad. Fattoria San Donato specializes in Vernaccia but they also make Vin Santo, Merlot and are experimenting with Rosé. The winery's facilities are in a medieval village the family purchased in 1932.
Each spring the hills of Tuscany and Umbria are filled with smoke as olive trees are pruned and the clippings are burned in anticipation of new growth. This occurs for about two months before the heavy rains begin and the region becomes as lush as the Irish countryside.
As the residents are enjoying the fresh oil from December's pressing you'll see ladders in trees and little piles like the ones in these pictures on every hillside while the farmers are busy preparing for the coming growing season.