One of Krøyer’s most engaging compositions and perhaps his finest painting, Wine Harvest in the Tyrol depicts a family grape harvest on a sunny day in the Southern Tyrolean Alps (an area in Northern Italy). Shaded by the dense growth, two young men and three women tend to the vines on bended knee along the left of the composition, joined by an elderly gentleman who instead stands, harvesting at eye level. Dappled sunlight spots their faces as it cascades through the leaves. At right, a younger man empties a bushel basket into a larger basket/vessel (wooden staves with steel banding, fabricated much like a barrel). Beyond him the vineyard extends into the sunny distance, with Alpine peaks as a backdrop.
In South Tyrol, there are three indigenous varieties of grape: Schiava, Gewürztraminer and Lagrein. Given the color and size of those in Krøyer’s painting, the family is likely harvesting grapes of the Lagrein variety. Lagrein grapes are a descendant of the Teroldego strain and are related to Syrah and Pinot Noir varieties. They are typically harvested from August to October. Later in life, Krøyer would summer in the Tyrol, as he felt the Alpine air was beneficial to his good health.