Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Harvest – home-style

I marvel at the tenacity of Portuguese grape pickers who, after a day’s gruelling work, are prepared to stamp up and down for two or three hours before bed, in a lagar, crushing the grapes. I have no wish to join them.

But faced with the tiny crop spared by the wasps and hornets from my four little Sauvignon Blanc vines I decided that foot crushing might just be the best way to release enough juice to enable me to make a bottle or two of Pineau (de la Haute Vienne  – just).

I scrubbed my feet, filled the washing up bowl with grapes and began to tread. I was amazed to discover that after just a couple of minutes I was up to my ankles in juice.  The skins and uncrushed pips floated free and were easy to remove. A quick squeeze of the ‘marc’ over a plastic sieve was all that I needed to do. Very little mess.  They only hitch is that I need to buy more cheap Cognac than I’d estimated. I’ve left the juice, which tastes delicious, in the fridge to settle overnight, then I’ll do the simple maths to work out the proportion of Cognac to add to finish with a drink at 17%abv. It may even be ready for Christmas. Whether the family are prepared to go anywhere near it is quite another matter.

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