This has been a real autumn. The grapes have loaded the cottage eves heavy enough to fill bottle after bottle of sweet grape juice. Last autumn there was nothing at all after a terrible frost struck following a precociously early spring. There were no apples, no plums, no walnuts and no grapes. The apples press next door was utterly silent and the wine growers of the Alsace said the couldn’t cover their tax bills.
This year has been a wonderful contrast. The clink of bottles filling with apple juice has been continuous since the pressoir opened a week early. Thanks to the generosity of a friend with apple trees, we have 70 litres of cider bubbling in the garage . This weekend we harvested our own seedy red grapes. I got spectacularly stung by a wasp that hit me between my fingers as I picked and put my swollen hand in a sling for two days!
The real grape harvest started three weeks earlier than usual in the proper vinyards and it promises to be an excellent year for wine.
Here on the coldest edges of the wine country, we have enjoyed a lovely pass the parcel of plums and apples, mirabelles, and blackberries as each neighbours passes their lucious surplus on across the hedge.
This really is a proper autumn!