After an amazing (if expensive!!) four months of not working it was time to bag ourselves a bit more spending money and with the help of GUB we’d secured some work grape picking at a local vineyard. However this wasn’t any old vineyard – this was the producer of our favourite wine, the red wine we had on our wedding day and have drunk to celebrate every anniversary since!
Having never picked before we didn’t really know what to expect, except that we would come back hot, sweaty and achy! Luckily we were starting with the smaller white wine harvest which meant half days to start with, however it still meant getting up and over to our rendezvous point for 7:20am – unheard of on la grande aventure! Bags packed with water and snacks the night before, the alarm went off at some ungodly hour and we dragged ourselves out of bed, into our scabbiest clothes and slathered ourselves in factor 50 suntan lotion.
Rocking up at the venue we met our work colleagues, a mixture of locals, family of the owners and a few Spaniards (who it turns out don’t really speak English or French – this could get interesting!!) and grabbed a quick cup of coffee before being taken to the first vineyard.
After a quick lesson on what to pick and what not too (make sure you don’t get any leaves mixed in with the grapes) we were given a bucket and secateurs and told to begin picking one of the rows. The first few rows were a bit trial and error – How quickly are we meant to pick? What is classed as a good and a bad bunch of grapes? How full should I let the bucket yet before swapping it for a new one? How come no-one else seems to be cutting themselves with the secateurs? – we soon got into a rhythm and whilst we couldn’t keep us with the pros we weren’t too far behind 🙂
After a few hours of picking and with the field done we were signaled to down tools and gather around the tractor, before vast thermos flasks of fresh coffee and croissants were produced and we gladly tucked it!
Fueled up it was onto field number two of the day, where yet again we were assigned a row and told to get picking! Despite the coffee and croissants I was definitely beginning to run out of energy – a combination of an early start, constant bending, rising temperatures and the end of a cold – so I was very relieved when we were told to stop at noon as the wine co-op was about to close and won’t except any more grapes.
Having helped upload the final batches of grapes back at the press, we headed back home for a bite to eat before collapsing on the sofas for the afternoon!
As none of us felt like cooking we headed out to Petite Abbeye to feast on pizza, duck and more dangerously good chocolate pudding before falling into bed ready for another early start.