The word “vedema” is Italian and stands for the harvest and the harvesting season on the island. Preparations take place early in August. Grapes are transported to the kanava (winery) and depending on their color (white or black) are thrown in a different winepress. Next they are pressed and stored in barrels.
The harvest starts in late August-early September. Pressing grapes is not an easy job. Whoever entered had to withstand must fumes and not get dizzy! Pressing started at night. They washed their feet thoroughly and they were lightly dressed. They tied a scarf to their heads and had a basil hanging from their ear for smelling it.
After being left under the sun for ten days the sun-dried grapes are thrown in the press. Vinsanto is made from them. There is a great celebration the day the pressing ends.
On the celebration day of Aghios (St) Averkios, on the 22th of October, barrels are opened and wines are tasted. Barrels are blessed with a basil branch sanctified from the priest. They test the new wine while chanting. Festivities with songs and dances follow.