English Wine in the making

Nature has been pretty cruel to my poor little dog in the past two weeks. He has become a nervous wreck every time something buzzes around him because of the two bee and one wasp stings that he suffered. Through no fault of his own I may add! That’s two walks ending with me having to carry the shaking and whining pooch and yesterday’s grape harvesting finishing similarly. He runs into the safety of his bed if available, or to my arms if it’s not. I’ve had it with wildlife.

Anyway, as I have just settled him into his little hideaway under the kitchen table with   a sausage hiding a piriton tablet, I have a moment to tell you about the grape picking fun that we had yesterday.

After the doom and gloom assessment of the harvest (never ask a farmer ‘so what’s the crop like this year?’) my husband went for another check and returned saying: ‘we are on!’.

And so we went. Trust the weather saving the best for the beginning of the picking. Having had weeks of no rain, yesterday when we started it really came down! Our Romanian workforce arrived in cars, not in a bus and most of them were dressed in yellow waterproofs. This prompted a long discussion about bananas and The Minions from the film Despicable Me.

It was one of the local workers who managed to cut herself first. She also wins the ‘Well behaved casualty’ award for falling into the recovery position after seeing her own blood and fainting.

My brother, wearing shorts (and currently sporting a big red blotch on his leg), discovered a wasp nest right next to the little shed where everybody stores their lunches and chairs. Fred the dog discovered it later when he stepped into the busy flight path. The wasps two, farmers nil.

The Romanian ladies were so scared that they had to be escorted past the nest to the toilet, much to the mirth of their banana clad men.

Despite all the casualties and the weather, the grapes did as we asked them to and were a pleasure to pick. Clean, large and sweet, they filled the trays quickly and after ten hours of picking we had about thirteen tonnes. I must say that the beer afterwards tasted doubly good.



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