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Wine Harvest Day 3- Grapes, Grapes, and more Grapes!

Pontet Canet, grapes, French wine, France, vino

We awoke to a chillier morning, with a breeze in the air. We’ve learned after a few nights of awakening to a distinct buzzing near our ears that the lovely huge windows need to stay closed overnight due to bugs. After being plauged with unrest due to  the perpetual green hard shelled moths that hurl themselves at any available light, John has grown tired of killing them after I awaken him in a panic. I’ve been burning the midnight oil, so to speak, editing late into the night.

Sunday is also a day’s reprieve from harvest operations, so we do not hear the clip clop of the horse pulling the cart holding all the grape containers sauntering past our window, nor the faint buzz of pickers chatting in the fields. 

So it was back into the town of Pauillac for a few provisions and to kill some time. Sundays here remind me of my past time living on the island of La Maddalena, Sardegna where too, everything is closed from a retail perspective. We did find a few restaurants along the waterfront willing to serve us a bite, and sat down to have a cheese plate, some local steak and on the advice of my foodie aunt, the local delicacy of the region, Canele.  From Wiki- A canelé (French: [kan.le]) is a small French pastry flavored with rum and vanilla with a soft and … a depression at the top. Originally a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, today it is widely available in pâtisseries in France and abroad. I can attest that it was quite delicious and although my aunt said she prefers them plain, they were definitely put on the list of things to watch for and have again at the next possible opportunity.We walked through the Pauillac grocery store which is always a favourite thing of mine to do while traveling abroad- as it’s fun to see what foreign items are up for grabs, check out the different spices and products and opt to try something new.

Bordeaux dessert, Canele, France pastry

We couldn’t help but gape at the amazing wine prices- 3.20 Euro for a bottle of Bordeaux red,  10 Euro for a bottle of Baileys. After grabbing a bit of sparkling water and figs, cheese and crackers, we began to make our way back to the estate. Ever the rock picker, i couldn’t help but stop and pick up a few stones along the walk home because they seemed like either quartz or marble, sparkling in the French sunshine. (No wonder my bags are always overweight!)

Back on the estate with the better late afternoon light starting to shape up, we headed out to the vineyard with macro lens and reflector in hand to capture close ups of grapes, grapes and more grapes! We walked the full expanse of the property, and John held the reflector to bounce the sunlight onto the bunches for me as I sat on the ground snapping close ups. (Not sure what bit me in the process but I’ve been scratching various leg bites ever since. )  Justine asked me to find shots of the more mature vines, and most healthy looking grapes, and there was no shortage in the vast vineyard for such opportunities. 

Kicking up dust, I couldn’t help noticing all the stones and pebbles, and ancient walkways that lined the vineyard, as well as the rosebushes that have been planted along the perimeters of each section. Asking myself if there was a reason besides beautiful aesthetics to the rosebushes growing in tandem to the grapes, I took to the internet to find out.  Lo and behold, both roses and wine are susceptible to the same kinds of diseases! Rose bushes can provide early indication of mildew, which can plague a wine crop. Justine Tesseron informed me that their homeopathic spray is an ever-evolving blend of Rosehips, chamomile, nettle, and other plants. Ultimately, the goal is to keep the plants as dry as possible which always poses an interesting challenge here at Pontet-Canet as their vineyards are situated between the nearby river, and the ocean on the other side.  

After exhausting the last of the day’s light, we made our way back to the Chateau and John spent the evening wandering all the secret doorways and rooms with the GoPro, apparently having a fascinating time doing so.  

Looking forward to tomorrow, when we resume photographing the harvesting operations and a busy week lies ahead with visits, dinners for merchants, and meeting Alfred Tesseron, the esteemed patriarch of the third family, the Tesserons, who have owned this prestigious vineyard. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Christy

An internationally published travel, night sky and lifestyle photographer currently based in Calgary. Christy will be traveling to Bordeaux, France in fall 2018 to photograph a 10-day organic wine harvest as a photographer representing Canadian artists!

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