For many years I have been contemplating about working at the wine harvest. But there was always something keeping me from doing it...
Last year I turned my dream into reality. But my original enthusiasm to work for he whole harvest of two weeks was dampened by a good friend – how good a friend he was, I only realised later.
He proposed to start with two days to get a good impression on how hard this work was. Literally he said, “Ilona if you are serious about working for two weeks, you will have no time to do anything else … you will not be able to take care of your family neither your animals, nor your work nor your husband. You will even be too exhausted to fall asleep … .” My first reaction was to laugh at his recommendation. How hard could it be, I thought. But today almost one year later I am still very grateful for his advice.
Through his contacts I was able to work with 7 other enthusiasts for two days in a small vineyard nearby Pauillac. The vineyard of the family I worked for is one of five families who deliver their grapes to the cooperative called La Rose de Pauillac which in fact create a wonderful wine.
I have to admit that the grape gathering was incredibly exhausting and that I even cried at the end of the first day! But looking back it was an enriching and fulfilling experience. The two days had a perfect balance between hard physical work, the encounter of wonderful and dedicated people and the conscience of being part in the creation of a tasty and precious product.
The hard labour was interrupted by a joint lunch on a long and abundantly laid table. After two days of work we had gathered more than six tons of grapes on two acres. This was a good reason to celebrate with Champagne and oysters! And last but not least the owner of the vineyard got his race cart out and everybody was invited to drift through the vineyard ;-)
2019 Ilona Kupp-Lieck (Grayan), translated by the author