Australian winemaker to harvest grapes in the nude during full moon to revive ancient ritual

Queensland winemaker, Mike Hayes, will harvest some of his grapes in the nude during a full moon to revive an ancient winemaking ritual. Mr Hayes, 48, from Symphony Hill Wines on the Granite Belt, said he was studying 4000-year-old winemaking techniques as part of a Churchill Fellowship.

He said the first records of naked harvesting and naked crushing of the fruit with bare feet came from Georgia, an independent state of the former Soviet Union and the birthplace of winemaking. "I don't know if it will work, but I'm certainly going to give it a shot," he said.

"The ancients believed the moon drew energy from the grapes and goodness from the soil - just as the moon pulls the tides. Many cultures study the lunar cycles and engage in all kinds of mystical rites before harvest." Hayes says there is a certain logic to bare-cheek winemaking.

"Clothing made from animal hides would no doubt contain bacteria that would taint the winemaking process." He said the bible also records Noah running naked through a vineyard. Hayes will begin by harvesting gewurztraminer, an aromatic white variety in March, and follow up in April with a nude harvest of his nebbiolo, the Italian red blockbuster.