Last Saturday it was that time again…..time for the »Trgatev«, the annual grape harvest. Especially in the past, the Trgatev was THE highlight of the year. Family and friends came to help with picking the grapes and afterward there was a party with plenty of food and drinks. This tradition is still maintained today, so just about everyone in the village was busy picking in the various vineyards in the village on Saturday. Bine usually helps our neighbor Stane with the Trgatev. As he did again last Saturday. I usually come a little later and then help out for a little while. The vineyards are of course against a hill and it is quite steep. Even though I’ve lived in Slovenia for over 18 years, I’m still not used to it. I always say that as a Dutch person I am simply not made to walk up a mountain. It’s just not in my system, haha.
Due to the heavy hailstorm, we had earlier this year (see blog 79), the harvest was unfortunately not as good as it normally is. There were many bad/dried-out grapes on the bunches, and they had to remove them all because otherwise the taste and quality of the wine would be a lot less. As a result, picking also took longer because normally you just cut off the bunches and throw them in a bucket. But now they had to check every bunch and take out all the bad grapes.
They started at nine o’clock in the morning and didn’t finish until about three o’clock in the afternoon. In between, there was a break and there were sandwiches for everyone. A neighbor who lives above the vineyards also brought coffee and cake.
Special grape scissors are used to remove the bunches from the bush. Those things are very sharp. I found that out on Saturday when, along with a bunch of grapes, I also cut in my finger…… :(. Luckily, it was only a small wound. One of the neighbors poured a little »snapps« over it and I was ready to go again ;).
Everyone who is picking has a bucket in which they collect the bunches. When a bucket is full, the »carrier« comes and the bucket is emptied into a »Brenta«, a special container with straps that he wears on his back. So you regularly hear people in the vineyard shouting »Brenta« loudly. They then have their bucket full and call the carrier to come and empty it. Such a »Brenta« used to be made of wood, but nowadays, they are made of plastic, which is, of course, a lot lighter but also easier to clean. When the »Brenta« is full, the carrier walks up to where there is a tractor with large plastic barrels (also these used to be made of wood) into which he throws the grapes.
When all grapes have been picked, they are driven to the cellar where the grape press is located. Then they immediately press them. Stane has an electric press that simultaneously separates the grapes from the twigs. But in some places, the grapes are still pressed manually, like at our neighbor Ivan’s house. Below I share a video of the Trgatev from last year when Bine helped Ivan with the pressing of the grapes.
After pressing, a number of bottles are usually immediately filled with grape juice to try. And after all the work is done, the lady of the house provides all the workers with plenty of good food and drinks and everyone gathers around the table resting and enjoying the food and the company :). The grapes are fermenting and now all we have to do is to wait for »Martinovanje«, or Saint Martin’s Day, when the grape juice has turned into wine. Na zdravje!