The Luxury of the Grape Harvest

The Luxury of the Grape Harvest
As the end of summer winks at autumn, inviting it in for harvest, the sun-ripened grapes are now the perfect colour, weight and acidity.

Away from the stress and rush of the city, weekends are now set aside for trips down memory lane. And there could be no more authentic and happier autumn memories than the grape harvest.

The days began at dawn, perched on his grandfather's tractor, who drove him with the pride of someone who would be behind the wheel of a Bentley today, looking at his grandchildren enraptured, with the clear perception that, to them, he was a superhero. And there they went, happy, with the early morning wind blowing in their faces and making with their grandfather what they didn't know would become one of their best childhood memories.

Today, in a four-wheel-drive van that the grandfather, now second generation, drives to the vineyard, the second generation grandchildren are already perched in the open box, for whom this adventure entails a little madness that only grandfather could provide, enraptured, he too, for giving his grandchildren the emotion and making the memories they will one day remember with nostalgia. Amidst the children’s laughter and the pleas to go faster through the puddles of water, the grandchildren, now parents themselves, open the window and close their eyes to feel the wind in their faces and the nostalgia of the past. In their head, they're on their grandfather's tractor.

«The grapes' stalks are finally withered and the skin of the berries begins to contract; they are on point.” With his wellies in the mud, among the rows of vines, the grandfather tries to pass on to his grandchildren what he remembers what his grandfather told him. And with scissors in hand, they cut bunches that land carefully in the baskets, carried on their shoulders by the men to the fermentation tanks, to fill them up. It was like that, in the grandfather's time and it is like that today, in the second generation grandfathers and grandchildren’s time.
A long lunch in a festive atmosphere, right there, in the middle of the vineyard, was the deserved reward after a long morning of harvesting. From the wicker baskets that they carried on their heads, the women served lunch: a hearty soup of beans, potatoes and cabbage, which they called “misturadas”, and roasted sardines to go with it.

And the desire to repeat that luxury is instilled to this day: lunch and scenery. Soup – recipe reproduced from the grandmother's recipe and grilled sardines, prepared by the women of Murtosa, experienced in this excellent science of knowing how to roast sardines with such precision, so that they can keep exactly the same flavour in the cans as in your memories. And so they are.

Close your eyes again and there in the middle of the vineyard you can feel the taste of the past in that soup and those sardines. Nothing could be more pleasurable in a moment so charged with history. Eyes open only to confirm that the complicity between grandfather and grandchildren is also evident there, in a sealed moment of love, forever special.

The grandfather of the first generation would surely have gone to the harvest perched on his grandfather's ox cart, with the early morning wind blowing in his face. Being told that the cut is made when the grapes' stalks are finally withered and the skin of the berries begins to contract. With his shoes in the mud and enjoying the soup of concoctions and roasted sardines.
Mar 2020 | Portugal 2020
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