Tag Archives: grape-picking

Can I come back next Saturday?

3 Oct

After a late night of slow-food dining and celebrating a SAIS birthday, Colin and I dragged ourselves from under our heavy bedcovers and joined a group of laborers to catch an 8:15 bus on Saturday. Our group of eleven was headed to the hills on the edge of Bologna, about a 30-minute bus ride away, to do some grape-picking.

We were outfitted with shears and shown the basics. In pairs we moved along the rows, dropping heavy bunches of purple grapes into red crates. Discussions about human rights activism and America’s influence in the Middle East were interrupted with squeals about spiders and lizards and a snake that turned out to be an earthworm.

Grape-less vines

We reckoned we’d filled about thirty crates, which someone had been told would make about 300 bottles of wine. Reassured that we’d done a good half-day’s work, our group sat down for a three-course lunch on the back lawn. The family we had worked for brought out tagliatelle al ragu that smelled so good a starving vegetarian (not me) dug in without realizing it was made of meat, then decided to keep eating once she found out. The second courses were bell peppers and zucchini stuffed with ground meat. I got a bowl of penne, bell peppers, and ricotta all to myself. Dessert was peach torte on a chocolate crust and brownies, and finished up just in time to rush back to the bus so I could get to work on time.

"I don't think I've ever had a more pleasant outdoor-eating experience."