Grapes ready for harvest
The vendange is finished, the grapes are in and the local caves are beginning to transform the grapes into wine, vintage 2010.
I found that you don’t need to wait long to sample it. Yesterday we held the AGM of the Foyer Rural and afterwards we were treated to a glass or several of a delicious brew of grapes that had just begun the fermentation process. So it whilst it was still fairly sweet it had a fizziness of sparkling wine but was not too alcoholic.
It has been on the news this week that a whole vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes has been harvested by machine at night and stolen. This is a long way away from here, right down on the south coast, but it still caused a lot of surprise considering the solidarity of vineyard owners and the producers.
Here the grapes for the crémant and the really good wines are harvested by hand, and the black grapes for everyday wines by machine. The field almost next door to us was harvested last weekend (at least that’s what I assume as we missed it). After a field is harvested it is the custom for people in the village to wander in and pick whatever has been missed. This is called glanage.. The machines must be very efficient. as when I went looking for grapes I could find hardly any. I wouldn’t make a very good vineyard thief as I felt guilty just looking!
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core………… Keats
Our village is a hive of industry this month as everyone is busy bottling, freezing and making jams and compotes. Pumpkin soup is a winter favourite and freezes well. Peaches must be used very quickly and can be made into juice which will keep if pasteurised.
This year was poor for cherries but now we have an abundance of fruit and vegetables. In the hedgerows there are plenty of blackberries and the walnut trees in the fields are laden. We are still eating raspberries and strawberries and the tomatoes are doing very well. We ate the first of our cabbages today and cut the last of the courgettes.
The grapes in the nearby fields are ready and a gang of pickers is moving around the village getting them in. We did promise to help with the vendange but we haven’t had the time in the past week. It is an experience which will have to wait until next year.
Chris finishes his first basket
I would have some fabulous pictures to post if only I could remember to take my camera out and about with me.
On Tuesday some strange people came to play badminton. It was the Chinese New Year so a family arrived suitably adorned. One was in a beautiful Chinese dress and plastered with copious make-up, and that was the father!
Friday’s folk dancing was also a bit surreal as I couldn’t persuade anyone that the Hornpipe is not a Scottish country dance! But hey, who cares!
We made great progress in basket weaving and one day I will show a photo of my basket. A bit lopsided perhaps but almost recognisable.
And I could have shown some great pictures of the change in weather this week. On Tuesday we couldn’t get out because of the snow. Wednesday it rained and the roads turned into a skating rink. But how quickly the snow disappeared! Within hours snow that had lain for a week had gone. And Thursday was like Spring. The little daffodils, undeterred by being buried under the snow, are now blooming in the sunshine.
The vineyard owner has invited us to join the grape picking team for next September’s vendange. The bad news is that we have to help pick 40 tons of grapes in a week. The good news is that each day the pickers are treated to a huge lunch at the best restaurant in the area.