Saturday, 30 October 2010

In Vino Veritas

A confession to be made: I believe in wine. It relaxes mind, keeps the heart healthy and the conversation smooth. Not a very popular opinion these days, I suppose... When I was five years old I got really sick and fever wouldn’t go away for days. So when I nipped a glass of red wine from the table and drunk it, my exhausted parents didn’t object: in minutes I fell asleep, and after 14 hours woke up healthier than ever. 
Paracelsus (a Swiss bloke, by the way) was right, saying: “All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous”. Look at Swiss people: they live long, they are slim, and they are not shying away from wine, definitely knowing their dose...

When we moved to Switzerland three years ago first books I bought were on wine and cheese: I wanted to be up to date with the rest of Helvetians (I am still a little behind on chocolate and kuku clocks though).  My love of wine has always been a little on the consumption side, I never even dreamed to do something with a Production of it. Then we moved to the Swiss countryside (a wine producing region) a couple of years back, and I was invited to harvest grapes for local wine producers. Oh, yeah, a real field study, AND my first crash course in Schwitzerdütsch , a Swiss dialect of German language.

Harvesting grapes in German sounds like “Reading grapes” (Traubenlese). The whole process is done by hand and each grape bunch is carefully inspected (read). There should be no shrivelled, spoiled or rotten berries or bunches; stems should look green, but not overly so, which could otherwise impart unpleasant, harsh tannins to wine. A simple mechanical activity suddenly revealed its complex, sophisticated side... 

The last couple of years were very lucky for the Swiss wine makers, sugar level – the essential indicator – was high, and so were our spirits...
Another essential Swiss thing I learned while harvesting grapes: “Zvieri”. It’s an afternoon snack at 4 p.m., sort of the English five o’clock, only instead of tea and biscuits, you get ham, and cheese, and wine (and then tea and biscuits, if you like). Hmm, perhaps you don’t get the wine if you are stuck in the office, but in the fields be sure to be served a little glass of one of these…  

 Romantic names, aren’t they? You can buy these wines from Brigitte und Stefan Käser-Härdi at Bächlihof, Oberflachs: http://www.baechlihof.ch/. And as for me, I cant wait till the next harvesting season.

Have a pleasant weekend, everyone!




  1. Apparently, I am not alone. :-) A "sobering" article this morning on the Japanese Foreign Ministry wine stash discovery at www.monocle.com

  2. il parait , que les yeux fermés on ne peut en déterminer la couleur ..
    moi qui ne croyait aimer que celui dont le pigment pourpre colore son enveloppe.

    enchanté par ton blog Anna qui nous accompagne ce soir ; lui , Sade et ton invité .

  3. Vous êtes très poétique, Anonyme. Merci et bonne soirée ...

  4. http://www.deezer.com/fr/#music/result/all/truffaz%20erik

  5. En me baladant , j ai pu decouvrir l histoire de Saint Georges que je ai confondu avec l archange Saint Michel ..
    aurais je le plaisir ,ce soir,apres la derniere representation, de partager un verre de pinot avec Anna chez Palino .
    je pense revenir au printemps pour redecouvrir un Baden plus fleurie .
    Travail bien Anna , pour le bonheur de l esprit de ceux qui en sont inspires

  6. Salut Romain! Ah, c'été Pinot nous avons bu l'autre jour? :-). Oui, j'ai passe une bonne soirée aussi, le spectacle a ete impressionante, et les conversations apres... Il neige ici, et je peines la neige, mais dans toutes les nuances de rouge. Bon weekend et a la prochain.