One sunny afternoon this week I took my camera and went into the vineyards, to watch the vendanges of my friends Nadia and Cyril of Domaine la Madura. The vineyard I visited was planted with a variety called Carignan, appreciated for the elegant structure it can bring to a wine and the plants in this vineyard were pruned in goblet fashion (we’re getting very technical here!).
Nadia and Cyril’s harvest is picked entirely by hand; each bunch of grapes is snipped and then dropped into a small basket, so as not to crush the grapes.
Once the basket is full it is emptied into a crate, carried by one of the porteurs who follows the vendangeurs through the vineyard.
The crates get pretty heavy, and it I’m sure it can’t be an easy job to be doing all day long. But the atmosphere in he vineyard is relaxed and the pace is not frantic, and the team enjoy a good banter despite the hard work.
There’s always some interesting wildlife to be found in amongst the plants – I’m not sure if this spider would bite, but it was impressive in size with the body about 2cm across!
The full crates get stacked, ready to be transported to the cellar where the transformation of the grapes starts in earnest.
And the taste of those grapes? Absolutely divine: ripe, juicy, sweet, explosions of concentrated sun as you bite them…heavenly! I bet they’ll make good wine!