At the beginning of these Easter holidays I’m really excited by the idea of being part of the bottling or the « mise en bouteille » as we say … although actually I prefer to say « l’embouteillage » like papa. Now that I’m a bit older I’m going to be more useful than ever.
Last year I spent my days stamping the vintage on the wooden cases and recounting bottles in cardboard boxes. I know that’s not all that useful but I was just so happy to be there, taking part. This year they told me I’d be on the capsule machine, making absolutely sure each bottle is nicely capped with no creases. It’s really important to stay on the ball all day long and to look after your ears too because all those bottles clanking together make a heck of a racket.
I look admiringly at José at the other end of the bottling line. He has arms like Popeye and he works so fast putting bottles in boxes and boxes on palettes … one day I’m going to be just like him !
Rays of sunlight stream through the open door and light up the palette being stacked. It’s lovely outside and the vines know it. They are springing to life with all the sunshine and the longer days. If it is warm and sunny you can literally see them grow, so papa says anyway !
At this time of year it’s the red from the previous vintage going into bottle. A few months in barrel and – whoosh – into the bottle it goes. This evening for supper papa brought a bottle that had just been filled and « dressed » (label + capsule). Don’t tell, but I’d already given mum one with a slightly crooked label. Just so she felt part of it.
By letting me have a sip, papa made me forget how weary I am from the day’s work. I sniff the glass and wet my lips and my senses come alive. But before I know it I’m off to bed. There is no point counting sheep. The moment I shut my eyes, all I can see are bottle necks.