Harvest in Jurancon 2017 at Vignau La Juscle

Last month my elder daughter said to me “Daddy, why don’t you do work like Mummy does?” Now, frankly, I was a little put out by this slur upon my character, especially since I count things like my vegetable gardening and fly fishing as definitely in the work category (providing food for the family etc). Anyway, it did make me think that maybe I should get off my derrière a little whilst we wait interminably to complete on the purchase of our vineyard land. Maybe I could help out with the Jurancon harvest?

A couple of calls to Antonin Valton at Vignau La Juscle, and hey presto, I have become a manual labourer. Now my daughter might whinge that since the money’s rubbish (or more accurately there isn’t any) and I need to spend 4 hours every night in the bath to get my shoulders un-cramped, thus denying of her of both food and cleanliness, at least there is real evidence of work.


Hey look everyone, I did some work. Then stopped to take a photo of it.  

And you know what? I have loved every minute of it. I have done a few days in the vineyard and a few in the winery, and luckily (since we are planting one and building the other),  the entire experience has been very satisfying. Yes, I might have ruined the future 2017 vintage release with my inaccurate secateur work and overly enthusiastic forklift driving (sorry for the spillage, Antonin, at least I didn’t puncture the vat), but I came out feeling sore, a little healthier, and generally very content. If you get the chance in the future, do it.


Petit Manseng just two seconds before harvest.
The small yields and high sugar content are due to the Passarillage (shrivelling) typical in the appellation.

I know it was 8C with 100mph winds in the UK, but it was 32C and really bright here. Feel sorry for us workers, toiling away in such desperate conditions, with only coffee and pain au chocolate to keep us alive
Michel Valton, Antonin’s dad, hitching a cheeky ride whilst we grunts manfully struggled on across the barren ground


After such a herculean task, its only right to eat wild boar and have a glass or two
You will get the chance to try the results of our labours some time next year….
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