These are the grapes without wrath….

“All work and no play make Jacques a dull boy” fails miserably as an epithet in this little corner of France. For the greater part of my life I associated “work” with certain unpleasant hours of the day, preferably as few hours as possible, and “play” with that which we defined as “fun” but which should have been more clearly defined as a stimulant driven balancing act. I had outstanding balance apparently, or so the contents of the plethora of brown envelopes that arrived in the post each morning informed me. The people who surround me here live a life where there is a nearly invisible conjunction between work and play owing to the demands of the land and the creatures to whom they are stewards. Work and play are of necessity unified as, with their inherent responsibilities, they could not be separated, save for the shortest periods of time, which periods are mostly filled with sleep. So these people become immersed in the present and have no need to be encouraged “carpere diem” as they “carpe” each and every “dies” as it dawns. Cultivating vines for grapes is amongst their “play”. The grapes are invariably of forbidden “cepages” such as Noa or Othello which are grapes that apparently produce so much methanol during fermentation that the end product is akin to absinthe. The vendange and the subsequent processes that produce their annual wine and pineaux are as much part of play as they are of work. These people love to “feter” (party), love to eat the wonderful produce that grow, and know and care for each other.The continuity of such a life is enriching and is in diametric opposition to any way of life I have previously known and I am glad that I have found it.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Digital photography, France, grapes, lifestyle, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Pineau de Charente, Uncategorized, Vendee, Wine, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to These are the grapes without wrath….

  1. Cool. The wine sounds potent.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful approach to life.

  3. Different grape varieties for different climates, but attitudes are similar here: each new year we’re wished ‘la santé, surtout la santé’ (health, above all health), so that you can grow and enjoy more grapes, and then ‘le travail, ce qu’il faut’ (work, just enough to live on). It’s a good approach to life, and it’s become the only one for me now!

  4. ChgoJohn says:

    They call it the “simple” life but it is not so simple as it is a realization of what is important and worthy of one’s time, our most precious commodity. You are very fortunate to have found such a place and, more importantly, to appreciate its value.

  5. Ah, to get to the point in my life where work feels like play. The grapes look fantastic.

  6. ambrosiana says:

    Beautiful.. So inspiring and makes me think how lucky some people are when work feels like play…What percentage of world population can bag about it?….

  7. ambrosiana says:

    sorry I meant brag…

  8. ....RaeDi says:

    Wonderful picture… the only way anyone should work is if they love the job, would not that be something! ….RaeDi

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