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  • Dawn Cumming

Grape memories!

Many years ago we had great fun helping out at our local 'vendemmia' or grape harvest. The small vineyard belonged to our neighbours Bruna and Alberto who knew that we were keen to get involved. After some instructions as to how we should pick the grapes we soon set to work. We had prepared ourselves for a very long and hard day. However, after about an hour of working and chatting across the rows of vines with other villagers who had come to help , we were all given the signal to stop for a break. We were offered a sample of the previous year's vintage and then we resumed picking the grapes. About an hour after this we enjoyed another short break and even more 'vino'. This was the pattern until we reached lunch time when once more 'everything ground to a halt'. We all huddled around a small vehicle whose bonnet had been magically transformed into a table top complete with a red and white check tablecloth. Bruna and Alberto were the perfect hosts and provided us with a hearty Tuscan lunch: huge chunks of Tuscan bread, flavoursome pecorino cheese, proscuitto (ham) and of course more wine. After a great many plastic cartons of wine, chatter and laughter soon filled the air. Following our most enjoyable lunch we returned to the vines and we filled up more plastic pails with grapes. Before long we had collected every last grape. As a reward for our labours we were given a bottle of grappa. It certainly was an experience we will never forget although it has to be said that I can't quite remember how we climbed back up the hill to our house!

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