VALDELSA, Italy—Last year’s grape harvest was a harrowing scramble at Mirko Cappelli’s Tuscan vineyard. With the Italian border closed because of the pandemic, the Eastern European workers he had come to rely on couldn’t get into the country. The company he had contracted to supply grape pickers had no one to offer him. He ultimately found just enough workers to bring the grapes in on time.
So, this year Mr. Cappelli made sure he wouldn’t face the same problem: He spent €85,000, equivalent to $98,000, on a grape-harvesting machine.