When told that we were going grape-picking, I imagined the scenes from the movies, of vast fields with grand vistas, where giggling girls fill their baskets with grapes ready for crushing. And I admit, that lovely scene in “A Walk in the Clouds” of grapes de-juiced using the feet, did play slow-mo in my mind and the last frame I saw placed me right there in the middle of the raucous fun.
But all that vanished when we reached the region where grapes are grown. Apparently, grape culture is yet a backyard industry in
The vineyard we visited still used the traditional Japanese method where the vines are trellised overhead (about 2 to 3 meters from the ground) to avoid excess humidity from soil and get good spray precipitation. This allows the farmers to grow the vines anywhere – even in the dining area or the parking spaces!
After having our fill of grapes (all-you-can-eat for Yen 2,000), we proceeded to the winery where there was free wine tasting. Yes, you heard it right, FREE! Samples of the wines produced by Mercian winery (the second biggest winery in
When we arrived, there was already a long queue on the starting block. Hoping to outwit the others, I joined a group of “makulits” who decided to start at the end of the demo stalls where there were still less people. With a toast, we drank. Just one big gulp and then .. everyone finished with contorted faces. “They call this wine?!”, we chorused.
One of our companions came to us and checked the bottle. Then she announced, “This is vinegar.”