Saturday 9 April 2011: Planting
This may not look very exciting, but I think it qualifies for the 2011 Challenge - excitement. These are some of the 4,700 new vines we helped our friends plant this morning. (Well, Lo Jardinièr helped and I took photos, as our friends are very keen to record what they are doing.) These young plants are Roussanne vines, a white grape variety, and it will be three years before they can be harvested and many more years before they will be old enough to produce grapes for high-quality wine. In wine-making there's a long delay between the initial excitement and fruition.
The grey substance is clay in which the plants were raised and the red is wax to protect the shoots during transportation - the wax will fall off naturally when the shoots begin to grow.
The hard morning's work (for some) was rewarded by a wonderful meal of charcuterie followed by gardianne, a beef stew, cheese, desert and of course a lot of wine.
The weather is summer- rather than spring-like, with temperatures in the 30s and everyone agrees that it is too hot, too soon.
Thanks for the good wishes for last night - it didn't go too badly, and people seemed to like my photos, although there was general agreement that it would have been better if the research and talk had been more of a team effort. The meal afterwards was, as I expected, delicious, with a very good confit de canard with white haricot beans as the main course (I don't think we'll need anything more to eat this weekend after lunch today as well!), and good fun and discussion too.