Early one morning just as the sun was rising...... as the song goes. No, kotlichcook and friends were off to the vineyard on
bikes, after a 5.30 am rise. "It is best if we pick cool grapes so they don't start fermenting", we are told. So we pedalled off through the Atar following the old railway line down dusty lanes to the vineyard, as the sun rose like a golden orb in the East.
Our leader issued us all with buckets and secateurs. We were shown the grapes that were ready to pick, with a soft grey film on them and like brilliant jewells they hung right down at the base of the vines.
We all grovelled around on our hands and knees, the elders amongst us groaning a little and knees creeked and ankles beginning to wake up. The children ran up and down among the vines, pointing at pigs and laughing with the birds. It was a fairly small vineyard and that morning we were only picking one sort of grape. I think it was an Italian Riesling. Our leader strolled up and down the rows gathering our pickings and returning them to the main barrels where they were being stored on the back of a small trailer. It was a delight to be out at the crack and to be "in the nature" as they say in Serbia.
We soon became hungry and the good wife provided freshly baked cheesy pogaca, much like a little chees scone, which we washed down with the most obvious morning tipple, Palinka, the Hungarian Rakija. A long and rambling discussion took place around the barrel of grapes in varius languages with a partial translation by myself....the Serbian part.
We then mounted up and headed for the cellar where we were given a great demo on another separator, stems one way grapes the other. from there to the crusher, no we did nto use our feet this time. The crusher was just like a small family cider crusher that you might find in the UK, I bet we buy them from Hungary. The very slow turning of the crusher handle ensures that the something bitter in the skins does not get released. It all sounded very complecated but I was reassured to see how relaxed and unsterile everything was. We tasted grape juice from a vine that had been picked a couple of days earlier and it was really delicious.
What an adventure, something to do and taste, people to meet and things to learn, all the time out in the most beautiful early morning light that glowed around Stara Moravica