Thursday, 29 September 2011

Adventures in Wine Land 3

I write this section on the Sunday morning (notes) bathed in warm sun…. A good sign for the potentially hectic Monday but a bad sign for the workers as the 4 of us visiting workers could all do with a rest. Dark clouds gather on the horizon to windward and it does not bode well. As strange as it sounds to the British the weather forecasts here are usually very accurate, they call for rain today, cloud tomorrow and fine bright days Tuesday and Wednesday. This would be great for the pickers as the 3 of us leave on the Thursday, we need to get as much done as possible. It is a long drive back and now that I am settled here I am not looking forward to it.

With the addition on Saturday of some friends from Paris and some local friends (who are our cuisinieres) the place takes on the felling of a kibbutz. I don’t know who is being paid and if so with what (wine or money rather than kind) but there is the distinct impression that most of those of us around the table would work with no more payment than the beautiful roof over our heads the delicious meal provided and of course the fine company of Bruno Duhamel and his family, not forgetting of course the joy of his wine. At this point I know that I would come back for next years harvest but and absolutely determined to have a much greater command of French as still the conversations occasionally have to broken down for me and the rhythm of the meal stops dead when I am asked something as my response rather than in stuttering French is usually in English.

The next few days pass much the same as the previous- fixing stuff, rewiring stuff, and always the grapes come in to the shed and begin their sacred journey towards wine! However this presents little to blog about- there was a cultural exchange of sorts where the French guys display a stunning level of highly specialised vocabulary in joke telling and I turn am able to entertain- as many of you might know I am marginally funny at best but can gesticulate with the best of them luckily France is the country that brought the world Moliere and mime so I was ok as the less funny the words spewing aimlessly from my mouth the more exaggerated my miming became and laughs are shared a plenty.

So that’s it, done. 10 days in the Gironde, 10 days of 530 starts and 7pm finishes, 10 days of great food, wine and company. My body is broken and I’m so tired I could sleep for the rest of my life, but I’d be lying if I said I was happy to be leaving. I love wine as I love meeting new people and the enjoyment of their company all are here in abundance! I have learned- genuinely learned, how to make wine from earth to bottle and have tried all of it! I cannot thank Bruno, Christine, Michelle and Harvey enough for their hospitality, but you can help me by buying loads of Bruno’s wine (from me). I have learned to tame the beast, harness the giraffe and mend big boy. I can fix a tractor and some French electrics and yet tail speak far too little of the language! Still booze is universal.

For more info on or to request tastings please contact me via the site-

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