Friday, September 11, 2009

Waiting on the grapes...

Which seem to be taking their own sweet time to get ripe! (she says with some asperity.) OTHER people's grapes are coming along just fine, but our grapes are apparently dawdlers.

This whole business so reminds me of getting "the baby's" room ready. (slight rolling of eyes) Nevertheless, we have mostly what we need. We think.

Well, other than the ripe grapes.

So. We went to visit Andreas, our new wine making expert friend at the Cava. Several older men and one young one were there as well. We took with us two big bunches of our grapes for evaluation. Andreas asks how many grapes we have (?) T says he's approximated, but we have about 200 bunches like the one we brought in.

Interest is shown by all. Serious business this as they gathered around to look and taste. Great consternation and much clicking of teeth and raising of the eyebrows.

Finally after much discussion by all and sundry, Andreas gets a special little machine out -that looks like an odd cross between something the doctor would use to look in your ears and half a pair of binoculars!- and rubs the grape juice on the end that is not the binoculars looking one.

He carefully peers into the eye viewer and [sad face] turns the little eye hole to me to look. It says '16'. He tells me it must say 22 or it's all useless.

I sigh. Everyone commiserates. The few who speak English give us advice. It is all contradictory.

I must leave the grapes to ripen for another week. Oh, po-po-po, probably it will be two more weeks, but before the end of the month. I must check them diligently every day because they will ripen "suddenly". It must be HOT for them to ripen well. Of course, if it rains, I must NOT pick them for three days else it spoils the wine.

One wonders how wine was produced all those centuries. It is not a simple process, this. Andreas tells me to come back with some grapes before I pick them- just to be sure of the sugar content. I nod and try to look intelligent.

I come home and speak to my friend, who has generously lent us her wine press. She's not making wine this year because they built a grape arbor for her vines and cut them way back this summer, so she has no grapes. She says she has some free time a week from Sunday and will come and help me pick grapes. I tell her they're not ready yet. She says "We'll just pick the ones that are! No problem!" She obviously has never spoken with Andreas.


T is leaving for the USA on Tuesday. He will only be gone 15 days. Ah, but how important those 15 days will be in the lives of our grapes!!

I will be checking diligently with the dog as my assistant. We will become winemasters together.


In sympathy, T took me to the Chinese in Ipsos, one last time before they close for the Season (end of September- boo-hoo... No Chinese food til the first week of May!).

We had a lovely dinner and I was surprised as it was almost full of people (all the tables with a view anyway!). I was told by a friend that since the weather was so rainy in England this past summer, many people were grabbing up the cut rate flights in September to ANY sunnier clime. It was seemingly true as the tables were filled with English and Dutch speakers.

T ordered Mu Shu Pork (same as the last time) and I ordered Vegetable Chow Mein (in honor of my diet) we split an order of spring rolls.

We had a little conversation with the waiters who were very surprised at how busy they suddenly were.

Mostly we talked about T being away for the "picking of the grapes". He is disappointed, and sad, and a little envious that I will be here for it and he won't. (He is also concerned I will throw my back out or fall off a ladder or do some other stupid thing, I have been known to do when throwing myself into a project. I must remind him of all the things I have been reasonably successful at over the course of years...)

I told him I would cut them from the vine, squash them in the tub and stir them diligently three times a day, til he got home. But the fine details of siphoning, testing and the eventual bottling were all his future tasks. For sure, NEXT year we would have a better idea of what we were doing...

How odd that we are still spending so much of our lives thinking well into the future!! Next year, next May, Next summer, next fall (olive season!)... Time to remind myself to "Be here NOW"!

Well except for the fact that my mother is coming NEXT month for the whole month!

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  1. Isn't it infuriating, like waiting for the kettle to boil but much longer term!
    I do look forward to hearing how it goes...I'm waitying for our neighbour to summon us for the vendange...always fun.

  2. Dear Fly,

    IT'S driving me crazy! Between the grapes and my dear T getting organized to leave on Tuesday, and all our friends calling to say, "Is it time? Because I can come on Tuesday but not MOnday or Wednesday," etc etc etc.

    As it now stands I may or may not have to pick them on a day when no one will be available to help me, but the dog. (and her paws are useless with the secateurs...)

    Plus everyone is now giving me helpful advice on "dressing for the pressing" as the wasps will probably attack me mercilessly, etc etc.

    [This begins to resemble more and more the whole "baby experience"!]

    Sigh. I will keep the blog as my lifeline to the outside world - hopefully I'll be able to remember to take photos while I'm at it!



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