To rewind a little, I have just returned from a few days loafing around Bordeaux. This is a place, as many of you will know, where every spare square yard has a vine. There are vines at the airport, on roundabouts and in people’s back gardens. To say nothing of the countless acres of fields given over to rows and rows of vines.
The purpose of all this viticulture is, of course, the production of wine. Every other house seems to be a rather grandly castellated chateau surrounded by enviably gorgeous barns all made from a deliciously pale stone. It is, presumably this stone that contributes to the uniqueness of the terroir* and the fruitiness of its product.
However, my hankerings for a vineyard is nothing to do with the product – I do not drink – but the order. The sight of lines of perfectly homogenous vines snaking over hill and dale into the distance has awoken the stickler within me.
The vines are all neatly staked with chestnut stakes and tied to well strung wires. They are then all pruned neatly and identically with strips of grass between the rows – in some places I noticed that the grass only existed in alternate rows which is, I believe, to do with water runoff and conservation. There is not a flyaway strand in the whole region.
It is a very lovely sight. There are grapes too but mostly they dangle like udders from the base of the vines.
Not quite as neat as the foliage but I can learn to cope.
* Get me with my wine words. The terroir is, for those of you who are less oenophiliacally** aware than I, of course the soil.
** I very much doubt that this word actually exists.