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Our house is nestled a la campagna or “in the countryside” here in Tuscany.  So every day, we walk by vineyards.  Row after row of gnarled vines draped in dark purple.  I have even been known to veer off our path when nobody’s around and snatch a few of the juicy jewels for a snack.

But I have never actually taken part in an officially sanctioned grape harvest until this weekend.

First, one day with our neighbors Lorenzo and Stefania, and then the next day with our terrific friends Heather and Stefano – Lulu and I learned what picking grapes is all about.

It’s not as easy as you might think.  The clever clusters of grapes hide themselves behind curtains of leaves.

The true veterans, aka nonne, or grammas we picked with, didn’t think twice about unceremoniously yanking off branches and leaves to reveal the purple prizes beneath, but I was much more timid about destroying someone else’s property.

And next, the grapes don’t always dangle delicately waiting to be snipped by your shears.   Often, the bunches have warped themselves as they’ve matured around leaves and vines.  I smashed dozens of tiny globes trying to wrest them away  – resulting in a series of mini grape juice explosions.  No wonder we all wear gloves. Except Lulu, of course.

One day it was hot and the bugs were buzzing.

The next day brought a grey drizzle.

But we did it!  Just look how many grapes we – along with everybody else – picked!

As a reward, there were terrific lunches both days – courtesy, of course, the Italian grammas and mammas.

And, best of all, with just a few turns of the crank,

An extra squeeze from the press,

And a little fermentation in the keg,

We’ll soon have more Tuscan wine to drink like the bottle of homemade wine on our table at lunch.

And that makes it all worth it.

Everything worthwhile takes hard work, right? Here’s to a job well done!

Ciao, tutti!

Gina

P.S.  Ever picked grapes? Made your own wine?  How was it?  Tell me and cheers!

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