My friend Jan-Philipp’s family make their own wine. And just as everybody is invited to drink their newest creations, people are equally invited to lend a helping hand when it comes to picking the grapes. After many years, I followed that second invitation for the first time this weekend, which saw me travelling down to the Rhine and spending the weekend with them. The Saturday of which we stood in the vines, harvesting some grapes.
Apparently the weather this summer was really excellent for the grapes (much more so than for us humans) and the quality of the grapes was said to be great, so we’re all curious how the wines will come out. This weekend we just plucked the grapes that had started going mushy or bad, so that they can be used while they’re still good, and so the remaining grapes can have two more weeks in the sun.
It was quite interesting to see how all the grapes – bunch by buch from just a small area of vines – pile up to quite a huge amount. And how they are slightly broken (for the red wine) or fully squeezed (for the white wine) with specialised but still mechanically simple machines before being set to ferment for a while. It’s nice to see that the process itself is a simple one. Yet one which requires a number of decisions about how and when things are done. Decisions which seem to require a fair bit of experience to get right.
Definitely a fun way to spend the weekend, particularly a sunny one.
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