The old Kenny Chesney song played in my mind as I carefully navigated a $300,000 ‘tractor’ in a Bordeaux vineyard. I’ve lived in Texas all my life, but it took a trip to Bordeaux to experience my first shot at driving a tractor. Our goal traveling here was to discover great wine and food ideas to share with everyone back home on this website. I never expected this!
It’s harvest time in Bordeaux and all of the vineyards are abuzz with activity. We’re staying at the charming Chateau Greysac in the beautiful Medoc region–a very short distance from the big, powerful Girondes River…a lovely place.
Our tour this morning took us into the vineyards where the plump merlot grapes are being plucked from their green, leafy sun-drenched vines.
Unlike some of the Premier Cru Chateaux in Bordeaux, grapes at Chateau Greysac are harvested by high-tech complex machines and then hand sorted in the traditional way. Ch Greysac wines are very affordable Bordeaux intended for immediate consumption…not aging in a cellar for 20 years. (More about reasonably priced Bordeaux wines later.)
The technology on these harvesters is quite fascinating. Live cameras aid the driver in seeing the vines in front of him and provide a birds-eye view of the grapes as they are tossed into the truck’s onboard bin.
I got to take over the controls–actually harvest a couple of rows in the vineyard. Wow, talk about stress! The last thing I wanted to be remembered for at Chateau Greysac was for destroying some 25 year old vines of merlot.
I’ll admit, sitting up high in the tiny cockpit of that powerful truck was a trip. The machine’s ability to swing through the rows of vines and literally shake the whole clusters of grapes from the vines without breaking the skins was a sight to see.
It was great fun! A few years from now when the 2011 Chateau Greysac’s arrive in the US, I’ll raise a glass to our friends here in Bordeaux – what a treat to have harvested some of the juicy grapes. For more information on great food, wine and fun destinations, head to my website Goodtaste.tv. While you’re there sign up for my newsletter…you could win a free weekend a the beautiful Riven Rock Ranch Resort in Comfort.
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