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An insider's view of Tuscany

Raymond Lamothe Facebook



The pain and the toil of picking grapes by hand.

I think a lot of people have a romantic idea of what picking grapes is all about. Basically, it is just a lot of back-breaking work and rather monotonous at that. Yesterday, I was sitting outside my office here in Castellina in Chianti and I saw two young college kids limping slowly by as if they had been beaten up in a street fight. I know one of them so I asked what the problem was and what happened to them. He grimaced and said that they have been harvesting grapes all week at an estate that belongs to a friend of mine.

Nothing else needed to be said because I knew exactly how they felt. The basic fascination with grape harvesting usually lasts all of half a day, and then there you are, equipped either with a small scythe-like and very sharp knife, or with pruning scissors and a nice plastic basket, and you start to wonder why anyone plants vines so that the grapes are in such a wrong place that you have to bend over but not really enough for it not to hurt in order to pick them.

It is amazing how grapes are not high enough so you can pick while standing up or low enough so you can actually bend way down – no, they are placed in a sadistic position so you have to sort of scrounge down and bend in a weird way to pick them.

Add to this that it is hot in the vineyards because the dirt reflects the sunlight and so you tend to take your shirt and then your T-shirt off and by the end of the day you are a nice boiled lobster tonality. So there were the two kids, sunburned and bent over like old men and only happy that it was Friday and my friend won’t start harvesting again until Monday.

I think everyone should participate for at least one day in a grape harvest. It really teaches a life lesson and, after that experience, you will never again ask why a wine costs so much. There are tears and blood in every bottle.


Beautiful Grapes CASAMONTI WINES

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