02 September 2008

The grape harvest, among other things

I have to be in Blois at 8:00 a.m. today for a medical exam. So I'm writing this on Monday afternoon and scheduling it to post on the blog tomorrow morning.

Callie waiting for me by the back gate, stick in mouth

I took Callie out for a short walk a few minutes ago, but I'm fasting and feeling a little lightheaded. Luckily, Callie didn't seem to want to go on a long walk today either. She has developed a pattern that goes like this: after a few minutes out in the vines, she finds a stick. She picks it up and takes it home. And then she waits for me by the back gate. I follow her home.

Raisin blanc

I'm usually out taking pictures. These days I'm taking pictures of the grapes, which are getting pretty ripe. Still, according to Bruno at the Domaine de la Renaudie winery, the harvest won't start until the third or even fourth week of September this year.

Raisin noir

Bruno says that that's traditionally when the harvest started until about 10 years ago. Then the schedule began moving up because weather patterns changed. The most unusual year was 2003, when we had the Great Heat Wave. That year, I remember, the harvest started on August 25.

Sunday sunrise
31 August 2008

There used to be a big harvest festival in Saint-Aignan in late October, Bruno says. Back then, grapes were picked by hand and all the local growers had teams of workers come in to help. Often the pickers were racing to finish their work in October so that they could enjoy the festival. A lot of that has gone by the boards now, since the grapes are harvested mechanically.

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