Winter comes to Burgundy.

It snowed last night and into this morning when I got up. I wanted to go out and get a picture of my bike tires making tracks in the snow, like Greg, but by the time I ate breakfast, drank a second cup of coffee, read the paper and got dressed, the roads had melted clear. The village road crew did get to use their plow, but they weren’t fast enough to finish all the streets before the melting had commenced, which must have been a disappointment for them. Sue and I walked down to the local bistro for lunch, and after lunch the sun came out. I got the bike out of the garage and went for a little ride around town before the skies could once again cloud over. Pruning time in the vines is well advanced. This field is finished, just waiting for spring for the buds to open.

In this field, the canes have been pruned off the stems and are bundled on the ground waiting to be collected and probably burned. Leo Woodland says vines make him think of industrialized farming, standing in regimented ranks as they do. To me they are a symbol of all the back-breaking hand labor it takes to make them productive and are one of the least industrial of all farm cultures. What do you think?

Sun down coming on, I head for home, glad for the chance to ride, even if its just around town.

Km ridden: 7

Old fogy from France. Rides bikes and eats.

7 response to "Winter comes to Burgundy."

  1. By: gregblood Posted: January 23, 2019

    Hey Keith, since the French snow doesn’t stay on the ground long enough to photograph your tire tracks, may I make a small suggestion? Next time, by all means drink both cups of coffee, but try to skip the breakfast and the newspaper-reading. Those simple measures will help you get out there and spin your wheels on some nice, greasy snow.

    In regard to the industrial farming topic, I agree with you. I can’t think of a more hands-on crop. (Raising mushrooms in a cave maybe?) I do know that the fruits that make my favorite beverage–hops and grains–are highly industrialized.

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: January 24, 2019

      Hi Greg,

      Gee for a minute there I thought you were going to say “drink both cups of coffee and go out and write your name in the snow”. At my age, this would probably get me in a whole lot of trouble.

      Greasy skid stuff aside, mushroom farming is mechanized. The Dutch have invented a whole range of machines for planting, growing and harvesting mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) that have eliminated 90% of the labor. I once got sent to Russia to advise mushroom growers on how to use the equipment they had purchased to grow more with fewer people. The old Stalinist mentality of “full employment at any cost” really posed a problem for them. They left the new machines idle so that everyone could work. Things for small minds to ponder.



  2. By: Seasidejanet Posted: January 23, 2019

    Nice snow……so the winery I work for grows their grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. One of the most talked about lore here is that one of the early growers was traveling in France and picked up some of those cuttings and brought them back to Monterey and that’s how our wonderful Pinot came about…sorry if I’ve told that story before😂

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: January 24, 2019

      Hi Janet,
      Does it snow in the Santa Lucia Highlands? The reason I ask is because the local growers claim that freezing weather is essential for Pinot Noir to develop properly. And not to worry about your story. EVERYBODY tells that one!

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: January 24, 2019

    I love riding around the vineyards. They bring a nice contrast in colour, green when all the paddocks are brown in summer and autumn colours and usually have charming buildings, especially in Burgundy I’d say. A friend of mine worked on a harvesting machine and had to remove all the rodents off the conveyor belt, he might have missed a few. Now I know what they mean by a ‘full bodied’ wine.

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: January 24, 2019

      Hi Lednar,
      Burgundy does indeed have some charming buildings, but unlike Oz, or Provence, our countryside is green all year round. Only the crops ever turn yellow (thankfully in the case of wheat) and brown is for plowed fields. More than 95% of the harvest here is done by hand, adding to the labor, but eliminating any rodent problem.

  4. By: Scooter Posted: January 24, 2019

    I hadn’t thought of vineyards like that, but you’re right. It’s one of the few places in the western world where you still see so much manual field work. It has such a romantic appeal, until you stop to think of how backbreaking work like that must be.

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