Today our neighbour starts the vendanges of his vielles vignes. Although we have seen grape picking a number of times, it is even more amazing when you can watch from your bedroom window.
We were given some bunches so we could taste them; sweet and intense. When they were finished picking all the grapes were taken away to the local cooperative.
We have had some storms just like a large part of France, so today the sun has come out and it is time…
All the vineyard owners have to decide when the right time is for them. There are tractors and trailers full of grapes on the roads and the beautiful smell of ripe fruit in the warm air.
Poetic that I should be writing this as the village church bells chime!
We were also invited to help with the vendanges in the local village of Tulette by our new friends Michel & Helene. We were advised to wear old clothes and maybe some gloves; we did not think we would need the gloves as we were only helping!
They had all been picking since 6am, we joined them at 3pm. There were four friendly Chinese girls, the four of us, Michel, Helene and another of our neighbours, Thierri. We were given buckets and handed secateurs and advised to leave the smaller bunches. The vines were stripped one by one, and the buckets filled very quickly. The bunches were so big and tightly packed, and the bunches grew in every direction including upwards; you could barely see where to cut as the grapes seemed to take up every space between the vines, they even wrapped themselves around everything nearby.
The buckets were so heavy that I was unable to empty mine into the trailer myself.
As you picked the grapes they would let out their juice, it was becoming very sticky. We were soon addicted to our metier and suddenly we found ourselves at the end of the first set of vines.
The tractor then took the trailer full of freshly picked fruit to a waiting vehicle so that they could be taken back to the domain.
We managed two hours, as our backs were now aching. We had only helped with two rows, so we did feel that maybe we were cheating as we left the others to carry on until 7pm or 8pm.
As one drives away one can see the enormity of the task ahead with 12.5 hectares to complete in approximately 3 weeks!