The Grape Harvest : Vendange

The Grape Harvest by Léon- Augustin L'hermitte, 1884.
The Grape Harvest by Léon- Augustin L’hermitte, 1884.

Their faces are blushed and tanned, their long skirts lifted, and brown arms bare. Their sweet laughter drifts on the early autumn breeze as they deftly move between, and along the vine row, using their pruning knives to cut away clusters of warm red grape, then handling them gently into willow or wooden baskets. The men tease, and take the ‘cutters’ baskets to fill their own larger ones swung over their backs, then to the barrel on the cart, which when full is pulled by the donkey to the chateaux winepress. The workers toil all morning, row by row, basket by basket, until they hear the midday ‘Angelus’ bells ring from the village church that tell them it is time to rest. They make their way to the cabane de vigne, a small stone cabin at the edge of the field. There they eat, talk and sleep, until it is time to resume their work.

Relics in the vineyard

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Under a stone shelter an old farm cart rests. It was just the right size to carry a barrel of grapes, and hay too.

Across the road, a metal crane rusts from time and misuse. It once was useful, during the early years of industrialised viticulture, to load wooden crates of grape onto a trailer, to be pulled by a tractor.

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Cabane de vigne

In every the vineyard, a little house remembers,
The vineyard workers, sheltering from the sun and rain,
Eating saucisson and bread, washed down with a swig of red wine.

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NB   If interested, you can find a little more to read about the history of wine              agriculture here, and winemaking there..

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22 thoughts on “The Grape Harvest : Vendange

  1. First of all, the painting was a beautiful compliment to your story about the vineyard workers. The men cutters really would be interacting in this way you described. Thank you, Veronica for sharing the rough times and hardships the workers endured to get the grapes for wine, many still toil, migrant workers in the heat. Hugs, Robin

    Liked by 4 people

      1. So glad you didn’t mind my mentioning current work conditions in some areas. . . such a gracious response. ❤
        I think your relics of the vineyard were really cool to include, V. xo

        Like

  2. Such a beautiful essay and your inclusion of the well worn farming implements a most excellent choice.

    Vineyards are springing up all over the Verde Valley here in Arizona. Wine tours are popular, and our local community college ‘teaches’ developing and raising grapes for wine on a commercial level. I wonder if this ‘new’ fad and fashion will sustain over the long term.

    The quality of your essays is always excellent and so beautifully executed. Thank you. 🍁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankyou for your compliments. Growing grape and making wine seems to be popular worldwide. The market for wine in China is growing fast, as is theIr desire to learn winemaking in order to produce it in their own country. Many students come to Bordeaux to learn, and many tradesmen to buy wine for the Chinese market. My best wishes to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Liking all images – the third seems to have the most depth with contrasts of light and dark and repetition of right angle. The final image recalls some of Van Gogh. And, it’s all about wine. One glass of red wine is now supposed to provide the equivalent of an hour’s exercise (University of Alberta – as quoted in the Huffington post).

    Thank you, Veronica, for these images and for stopping by ‘In My Back Pocket – Photography’ and checking out the AVRO Lancaster. … Near the Welsh border … Shropshire wouldn’t be a point of origin for you would it?

    Anyway … Take good care of your good self. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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