It’s been a long, long time since I last updated. Got caught up with writing more elsewhere, and I needed to give myself a break elsewhere. Hopefully I will resume to a more regular publishing schedule this fall. (Despite saying the same thing in June about this last summer…)
I digress, here’s a brief recap of my sojourn to one-half of the namesake of this blog: Champagne!
My day began taking the TGV from Paris Gare de l'Est to Gare de Reims, which was only about a 45-minute ride. Pro-tip: If you book well in advance—via SNCF, not one of those Anglophone sites like Rail Europe—it's not hard to get cheap seats in First Class for high-speed rail trips. Thus, I rode (not for the first time) in en 1ère Classe!
Funny enough, on this Première Classe trip, it came with breakfast, which consisted of full glass bottles of green juice with pain au chocolat and brioche. (Both of which, I must say, were great—not even for just train food, but just great pastries.)
However, the, um, speed in which they were brought out was comical, and the complete opposite of traveling at high-speed. The server brought out each person's napkin, compostable plate, cutlery, and cup ONE AT A TIME. TO EACH PERSON. It was like Mr. Bean serving breakfast on a train in the French countryside. Hasn't that movie been done?
Back to Champagne, we could not have asked for a better day. (Especially considering the downpour the following day…) This was my first experience doing harvest, while it was only for a short period (essentially part of a tour anyone can catch from the train station), it gives you an insight and (hopefully) a deeper appreciation for where your wine comes from.
We were only picking grapes for a little while under relatively pleasant weather conditions—bright sun but not too hot with a light breeze. Real harvest can last anywhere from a week to a month with workers picking grapes from dawn to dusk, sometimes under extreme heat. (Some wineries will also pick grapes overnight under massive outdoor lighting, but that depends on the vineyard's size and the winery's financial resources.)
That said, I really enjoyed the experience, and now I want to try it for a few days at least in Burgundy next year. Also I can't wait to see how my 2019 vintage turns out! (Just kidding. Sort of.)