Scenes and stories from a small town in the hills of Italy's Le Marche region

Lives of vineyard workers arduous

CAMERANO, Italy -- People who work in vineyards sweat and labor in the hot sun. Small vineyards have less land and therefore require fewer employees than larger operations.

Alessandro Moroder, owner of a vineyard and president of the Rosso Conero producers’ association, has 14 employees. Six work year-round, leaving the other eight on call, meaning they will work only when they are needed during the production months.

The wine vineyards
of Camerano

Wine bottle and wine glasses.

Videography by Cassie Echer

View a Silvano Strologo wine tasting (QuickTime movie)

Silvano Strologo stands in his vineyard.

Photo by Elliott Yancey

Silvano Strologo works his vineyard with three employees.


Photo by Elliott Yancey

Le Marche's grapes are used to make three types of wine.

All of Moroder's staff at the Azienda Agricola Moroder have been working for him for at least five years. Two have been with him for so long that he says he can not remember the exact number of years.

Moroder’s employees perform various jobs on the vineyard. Three may work outside with tractors to tend the grapes. Two may then work in the cellar where the wine is stored, preparing for bottling. Moroder also has a secretary.

The grapes grown in Moroder’s vineyard are never watered. Since his wine is darker, he says, the law forbids watering. Employees fertilize the grapes only at the end of the winter. Moroder does not like to use heavy chemicals on his grapes but occasionally his employees will spray the grapes with light chemicals such as copper.

Moroder does not require his employees to have experience in the wine business. Some have dealt with wine but most of the employees learn about the business through working on his vineyard. Four of his staff members are from Poland and knew nothing about the wine industry before working for him. One of the cellar workers was employed at another vineyard before working for Moroder. His secretary had another office job but it was not in the wine business.

The Silvano Strologo winery in Camerano has only three hired employees. Most of the employees came to the Camerano area from Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine. Some had been working in vineyards in Eastern Europe, and followed a relative to the Camerano area.

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