Dear little sister,
When we were kids, August used to mean ripe grapes on the vines out back. We climbed around and clung to the gazebo for hours, talking, rating and analyzing grapes, sharing handfuls and then finally rotating spots through the five varieties to make sure we ate the full range. Sometimes we would fill a colander up when we were done for mom and dad (aka, us after dinner).
These memories are what we thought of grapes. This and the ‘kid wine’ that mom and dad would make from our grapes, that we drank at family meals and on holidays.
Do you remember when we would be on vacation and mom and dad would want to stop at a winery? Walking for what seemed like hours to look at grapevines we couldn’t pick from…in the sun…on gravel…and then (finally) heading back to the main site only to be told we couldn’t try the grapes or the wine! Those have been my memories of vineyards and wineries until now.
When Honey and I were on vacation, there was a winery nearby. On a sunny, warm day in August we headed over for a tour. The sun above and the gravel paths below channeled those two sisters, friends, trying to amuse each other as they did the one ‘adult’ thing that would arise every few vacations. I thought of you, mom and dad throughout the tour. I couldn’t help but compare the tour to the ones we took as children, but the tour was much more interesting as an adult!
We went to Camel Valley Winery, about an hour away from our campsite. They clearly advertised in the pamphlet that all of their wines are vegetarian so I was excited to try some. When we arrived after lunch, we had some bread and crisps in the car but thought we’d be able to have a sandwich at the cafe first…we were wrong.
We toured the original vineyard, which is a south facing slope in the middle of farmland in Cornwall. It made me dream of building large greenhouses or polytunnels in Scotland to grow grapes! Because of the latitude, their grapes ripen by mid-October (can you imagine hanging from the gazebo in sweaters and gloves while picking grapes?) and the majority of the wines are dry wines and dry sparkling wines. They grow red grapes, but they produce a fairly dry wine because of the milder summers. During our tour, their August grapes looked like what would be mid-late June grapes in Pennsylvania.
After the tour, as we sat outside the main building under a gazebo of grapes the two glasses in front of me (mine and most of Honey’s because she was driving) quickly emptied (it must have evaporated in the warm sun?) and I giggled pleasantly on the way home while still thinking about August grapes in Pennsylvania.