Discovering Ticino: Grape Picking in Mendrisio with Mike & Grape
On our trip to Lugano last Autumn when we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Villa Castagnole, we enjoyed some very cool activities in and around the town.
We went to Gandria by boat and explored the very cute little hamlet there, then did the Olive Walk back to Lugano. The next day we took the Monte Generoso cogwheel railway and visited the very impressive Fiore di Pietro which is an absolute stunning building.
The same day we were also invited to help with the grape harvest at a local Ticino winery. The vineyard in question was named Mike and Grape.
How to get to Mendrisio from Lugano
We first took the bus from directly outside the hotel (Bus stop Monte Bre) to Lugano main station (13 minutes). From here we took a train to Mendrisio (21 Mins). On arrival we were met by the winery owner Mike Betti who gave us a lift to the area of the vineyard that was being harvested that day.
Mike Betti from Mike & Grape
Mike Betti was born in Canada to Swiss parents from Menrisio. He green up in Mendrisio but went back to Montreal to continue his studies. After working in Canada, Spain and Japan he finally returned to Ticino to run the family businesses when his father retired. His father had built up the vineyard by transforming what had been corn fields into vineyards!
Mike & Grape Vineyard
Mike gave us a tour of the vineyard and told us about its history. We were then handed some grape harvest shears, given a short demonstration of where and how to cut the bunches of grapes from the vine and place them into the collection crates.
We were then given our own lines of vines to harvest and off we went….
The weather was warm and sunny, so it was hot work, but also hard on the back with lots of bending and stooping. We worked our way down our vines, breaking briefly for some coffee and croissant, until a little after 12.30 when whole vineyard was done. Leaving the crop to be collected by others, we retired to Mike`s home for a picnic lunch in the garden, consisting of various local cheeses, cold meats, bread and of course some of the harvest from previous years.
We were joined by the other members of the team including Giorgio with whom we shared a few jokes despite the language barrier!
If you’re interested in visiting Mike & Grape, see the vineyard’s contact details below.
See some more snippets of our trip to Ticino here:
Mike & Grape Wines
Address: Via Molino Nuovo 24, 6862 Rancate, Ticino
Website: Visit the Mike & Grape Website here
Where To Stay in Lugano
Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola
Article written by Richard Fryer
With photos courtesy of Mike & Grape and Christina
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