When life gives you grapes, make wine!

The rain has stopped, the jet lag has passed and this week I have reacquainted myself with Vigo.

The first few days I slept all “morning” (until 2pm) and earned myself the nickname Sleeping Beauty, personally, I was okay with that. Then I decided to venture out into the city and make friends. I spent Saturday watching Harry Potter (in Spanish) then Sunday the rain stopped and it was time to get back into the swing of things. While the kids went to their surf lesson I went for a nice long run along the beaches and then we headed to Paradise (my host mom’s parent’s summer house) in Parada.

After a spectacular lunch of Fabada and some time hanging out in the sun we were ready to head home. As we were leaving, they asked if I would like to come back tomorrow to help “smash the grapes.” I looked at them a little strangely and asked them to repeat that. I heard them correctly they wanted my help in mashing up this year’s batch of grapes to make this year’s wine. I said sure, excited for something new and followed the sunset home to Vigo.

The next day after a surprisingly successful encounter with the Spanish government (those who have ever experienced the Spanish government understand why this would be surprising) I headed home to spend the afternoon with the kids. Again, they asked me if I would like to smash the grapes. At this point I had to show them what I was picturing in my head every time they asked me if I wanted to smash grapes.

At which point I introduced them to I Love Lucy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzFFRAh7Y-U

(I stopped the video after the first half to prevent any ideas brewing about starting a grape fight)

They told me that was it, that’s what I was about to do. Well okay then, what does one wear to smash grapes? I put on shorts and a t-shirt and was ready to go. We drove to “Paradise” and got ready to smash some grapes. My 9 year old and I walked around practicing how we were going to smash the grapes. Then I saw the size of our barrel we would be smashing it, it was about a tenth of the size of Lucy’s.


Two at a time we starting smashing the grapes, starting with the top of the barrel and slowing working our way down as the grapes became juice and we dropped further and further into the barrel.


And so we smashed, and smashed, and smashed some more until we were waist deep in juice. Things got pretty cozy.


I was not prepared for that. I didn’t have a change of clothes or a bathing suit to jump in the pool, but my 13 year old didn’t seem to see that as a problem as he pushed me right into the pool – fully clothed glasses and all. After I was dry again I helped finish up the wine process.

We gathered all the grapes and juice from the barrel


and put them into the press.


Then all the juice from the press went into this 300 liter tub where the juice will boil for two weeks at a very specific temperature.

They said it was the best batch of juice they’ve ever had and they are willing to hire me back for next fall. 300 liters of juice, and by March we’ll have some delicious tasting wine! I can’t wait!

P.S. Did I mention that my Sunday run was meant to break in my new sneakers? I ran for an hour and a half and got some nice blisters. Good thing they boil that juice 😉