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Monday, 01 September 2014

Bumming Through the Wine Fields of Bordeaux - Page 3

Written by Joanna Gonzalez
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The actual snipping was simple, but the labor was torturous; we were constantly bending down and over, getting on our knees, sometimes sitting, only to get back up within 10 minutes to do it all over again, over and over, on the next vine, for hours on end.

I would look out down the row and imagine the space between us and the last vine getting smaller, and although at times it felt like we were moving as fast as the speed of light, we never seemed to be getting any closer–in fact it felt like we weren’t moving at all.

When we did reach the end of the row, there was no relief because it only meant we had to start back over again on the next one.

IMG 0038

At around 10:30 am we would get a 15 minute coffee break and then head back to work until 12:30 pm (any time after that is considered too hot {temperature wise} to “cut” grapes, according to most vineyards).

It wasn’t until the way out that we were actually able take in the Château for all its historical worth and beauty under the midday sun.

Despite the fact our actual work days were really short, the after effects on our bodies lasted much longer.


Safer Shelter

After our first day the same man we encountered on the bike immediately befriended us; we innocently divulged ourselves to him and explained why we were there for work.

Eventually, he invited us to camp out in his back yard. It seemed like a safer idea so we took the offer. He brought us to his house, showed us where we could set up camp, gave us an extension cord, a portable gas stove, water, and pampered us a little bit.

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He even let us use his shower and gave us coffee every morning before going to work. On our 2nd to last day he invited us to his family BBQ. There was a time he even let us camp in his  garage after a huge storm; granted all of our belongings were soaked, we slept dry. It was more than what we could ask for.

And within 5 days, we packed our bags and headed for our next vineyard which of course we had no idea where it would be.


Chateau Maucaillou

Some traveling friends from Granada (Spain) mentioned they were also working on vineyards near Paulliac* (Bordeaux); we scored a vineyard in the same general direction a train stop away from them.

As I didn’t have papers or medical insurance, the owner stiffly said no and I wasn’t granted any work for this time around. I wasn’t too “bummed” about it since Château Maucaillou’s work was drastically different than Taillan’s. Instead it entailed a course the grapes go through after a “machine” picks them.

It was more of a selection process that I intently watched. No bending or breaking one’s back, but rather–fingers. As the grapes strolled by on a sort of assembly line workers picked out all the leaves, bugs, lizards, snails and any excess junk that got stuck inside the machines.

They even collected giant snails in a separate bucket for the Château’s restaurant.


2nd Shelter

And thankfully, one of Maicaillou’s former employees and grand friend ALSO offered us his backyard.

He was a French man of Moroccan descent who too loved his coffee, feeding me a cup every hour or so of the day with delicacies (apple and almond tart pastries). One night he even invited us for Tajine (National Moroccan dish), which was to die for.

Apparently we were not the only ones sharing the backyard, another traveler in his Scooby Doo-like mystery van was posted up too.

With a lot of free time, I took the liberty of spreading my travels by visiting friends in Paulliac* and around Bordeaux.

(Page 3 of 4)
Last modified on Saturday, 25 October 2014

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