Thursday, 11 October 2012

Disappearing Vines.



It's almost 'vendange' time. We don't live in a recognised wine-making area as such, but we do have the AOC Vineyards of Cahors to the West, and Bergerac/P├ęcharmant/Monbazillac to the North-East.

Not so long ago every local farm had it's own small vineyard. Generally each household produced about 2000 litres, to see them through the year. What was left over was converted to Eau de Vie.

If you can make-out a small house in the top right quarter (above)... that is chez nous. We used to look out on several small vineyards; now there is none.

I really miss the grape harvest at this time of year, it was an opportunity for local families to get together, exchange gossip, and have fun. It was also an opportunity for the local women to demonstrate their unquestioned culinary skills; post-harvest meals would last for hours, and were magnificent.

Such events have now gone, and, sadly, will never return.


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18 comments:

  1. The times they are a-changin'. Sad but true.

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  2. Security and familiarity has been sacrificed to the god Mammon and a whole new psyche needs to be found that can cope with a thousand years of social change taking place in a couple of decades. So far all that most of the younger generations have come up with as a coping mechanism is some sort of vacuous fascination with text messaging and zombies. We have skipped the skipping stage and gone directly to trying to run, flat out ...

    Here endeth the Old Fart.

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  3. Our property overlooks our neighbour’s vineyard. Their whole family gather every year for the vendage, with grandfather driving the ancient tractor. During the summer Philippe patrols the vines on a daily basis, clipping here and there and checking the fruit. This summer we heard him hammering metal all day long in his work shop. We went to investigate and he proudly showed us a steel drum and yards of pipework. He was making a still! I’m now looking forward to copious amounts of eau de vie but I’m very doubtful his contraption will ever actually function. (Shh, don’t tell anyone!)

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    Replies
    1. I don't see why it shouldn't work. It's not a complicated process. I have a friend who makes E de V de Prune; he has about 90 litres in stock. What on earth would one do with 90 litres of E de V???

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  4. The joys of yesteryear have been replaced by the technology of today. Everything changes, c'est la vie. At least we have our memories (at least for now).

    Your picture is lovely, Cro.

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  5. We have 3 grapevines here on the farm. This year in the midst of the drought they suddenly produced for the first time! We ate from them for a week, the GK's bringing in handfuls for evey meal. Now you have motivated me to plant more.

    About that painting...it fills me with lonliness. I love it

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  6. I have some grapevines here, planted by the previous owners. The birds have adopted one of them as their own. I only worked that out when i realized that the bunches of green grapes i saw were suddenly smaller; the birds apparently don't need a Brix counter, they know when the grapes are ready and take them one by one. The other two i hacked back when i first arrived, not knowing what they were at first. I didn't check if they fruited this year.

    Lovely painting.

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  7. Such a beautiful painting and such a wonderful view. Sad for you that it's gone.

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  8. why did it disappear? Housing in the way? Or other cultivation? Curious.

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    Replies
    1. Too much hard work, I think. None of my neighbours now has pigs, or ducks, or even hens. Just huge tractors.

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  9. I’m for a simpler life, I still grow my own and therefore eat and drink my own whilst the chickens cluck around at my feet.

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  10. This reminds me of a harvest festival in our area (Illinois) that I went to every year for 20 years. I went to check the date this year and found out it had been "permanently cancelled", do to lack of funds, interest. It was an annual event for 32 years. It broke my heart. Seems we are all losing these simple pleasures.

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  11. Our local farmers joke that they now mainly grow electricity. Huge barns, lleft permanently empty, are covered with industrial scale solar roof panels

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    Replies
    1. My very good friend, and nearby neighbour, has done just that! His two (now unused) huge tobacco drying barns now produce the dosh without him having to do anything!

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  12. Love the painting! What colours! But bummer about the grapevines.

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