Thursday, May 7, 2009

My vines

It is simply amazing to drive or bike through Burgundy. Miles and miles of vignes. Look at the second photo, below. Working the vines is a mix of art and science, and any time of the year you will find groups working in the parcels, taking care of whatever needs to be done at that particular time. I have photos of these vines at all times of the year; this one was taken in July.
A few years ago I found some real wine grapes at Roger's Gardens, so I bought a few: chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet. The first year I had beautiful grapes, which I made into sorbet, not wine. But the last few years, the grapes grow and ripen into the summer; they approach the stage of perfection and I think I am going to do something with them. And then- always in one sole night- some critter comes along and eats ALL the grapes right off the vine. So much for that! They seem to know when they are just right, though usually I get tipped off since there are just a few grapes eaten off, if you look carefully. That's the signal for me, I guess. Meanwhile, I use the leaves to display foods, and my favorite- to use under the cheese on a cheese platter. Why use paper leaves when you can use the real thing?
There are a few differences between my vines and those in France. For one, mine are pretty much neglected since I have no time to garden lately. I also have to water mine a little. Did you know it is basically "illegal" to water the vines in Burgundy? That's right. You have to leave it to Mother Nature, and work with what she gives you.
My grapes are just starting to flower and set fruit, depending on the varietal. The three vines are next to each other, and at this point of the year you can't tell which is which. I can tell the difference between the fruit once it's ripening if I get my book out.

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