Friends of ours in the village whose family have been vine-growers for generations and have taken their grapes to cooperatives last year began to make their own small-quantity, high-quality red wine. Unlike their other grapes which are picked by machine, grapes for this wine are hand picked from two small vineyards. We helped them pick the grapes last year, and they have now done the assemblage (the mixing of the wine resulting from the different varieties of grapes) of last year’s vintage. It will be several months before that is ready to be bottled. It’s a long process! But it’s one that we feel privileged to be a small part of and to follow.
Today a dozen of us picked the Syrah grapes for this year’s vintage. Luckily the weather was much cooler than it has been for the last few days, cloudy with a cool breeze which made it much easier to work.
This is a small parcelle of vines and took just a morning’s work, but it was tiring. Years ago, in the youthful memories of some of our friends, the vendange would go on for weeks, with hand-picking day after day, morning and afternoon. I don’t know how they managed to do it, but for four hours today it was fun, chatting and joking in French and Occitan as we all moved up and down the rows of vines.
When we got home we were certainly ready for lunch, so I was glad I’d prepared it yesterday: lamb with tomatoes and capers – the recipe is on my Food from the Mediterranean blog.
PS you can see the machines that are used in the bigger vineyards on my last year’s grape-picking post.