Earlier in the week, I helped my friends with their annual vendemmia, or grape harvest. Ten years ago, my friend retired from a highly successful career and has applied the same passion, determination and intelligence that served him so well for the first 70 years of his life into wine production. But not in his native Italy or even in California, rather in Wisconsin. His vineyards are located in the Kettle Moraine district. Many many years ago the Green Bay lobe of glacier collided with the Lake Michigan lobe and in the process, created a small kettles or lakes and rolling terraced fertile land. Beautiful to say the least!
Wine making is an extremely painstaking and complex process. I am good at only 2 of the steps in this process. I can pick the grapes fairly well and I actually excel at drinking the final product! Spring arrived very early in the Midwest and the summer has been so hot that the vendemmia was at least 6 weeks early. The sugar level was perfect on Monday. We harvested on Wednesday. Generally, there are a good 50 of us picking a good 2000lbs of grapes but last week we were 9 and the yield was 400lbs. We were easily able to complete the picking in under 3 hours and then spent the afternoon enjoying last year’s vintage and watching sheep grazing in the pasture below. Pretty incredible!
So then, of course, as I drove home I think about the posters and the wonderful ways in which the poster artists have captured the art of the grapes and wine. Soufre Gre, I picked a few bunches like that myself that very morning! Cassandre makes me long for a glass with his elegant poster for Willi’s Wine Bar. Look carefully at Les Vendanges, you may see me right up in the left hand corner!
I raise my glass in a toast…to all of you, to your good health! Enjoy!