Monday, October 12, 2009

Danger - Paddies in the Vineyard

Just back from Slovenia and my first harvest. We were in the eastern part of Slovenia, very close to the border with Croatia. Life here, from my superficial experience of it, seems to be a pleasantly simple mix of work, family and friends. No talk of world recession or financial meltdown or politicians expenses or Green Party votes or NAMA or John O'Donohue or Bertie's book and it was all quite a relief, really. They just seem to get on with their lives quietly and pleasantly.

The harvest started with a communal breakfast of bread, meat, cheese, strong sweet coffee and, naturally, wine and schnapps. They drink their wine here with a little sparkling water as a spritzer. The schnapps was neat. Being Irish seems to attract having booze thrust into your hand at every available opportunity. This all seemed like a good idea at the time.
hard at work...

Soon we were in the vineyard picking and collecting the grapes, working as a team, block by block. In fairness, the person who seemed to be busiest seemed to be Renato, whose job was as a kind of mobile barman, keeping everyone topped up with spritzers and schnapps. Everyone else had it pretty easy. In less that 3 hours, we were done. There had been hail early in the season which had reduced the yield by about 50%, but they seemed happy enough with the quality, sugar levels etc the busiest man in the vineyard

Then the real work started - lunch followed by a day-long party of spritzers, schnapps, music dancing, drinking games and talking shite in bad German. As I said, it all made sense at the time.

And the wine? Well that is in tank and should be fermenting away quite happily!

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