Monday, October 08, 2012

Vendange time in the Charente

It's that time of year again.

The school run takes five minutes longer, the roads on my Sunday cycle rides are covered in mud and squashed grapes and most of my French friends are working seven days a week from dusk until dawn.

The sleepy old Charente comes to life at this time of year and I love it.  I was going to make this post about the grape picking process but my friend and near neighbour Andy has done it a million times better than I could in this post. (I have taken the liberty....again....of pinching one of his pics as you will see if you visit his excellent blog "Prunings from the Vines").

Instead I'll give you a little insight into the Cognac Property business empire.

Successful corporates understand the need to make work fun and motivate employees.

Google has a "play" area in its offices to aid creativity among staff.  My lifelong buddy Tim is COO of a big ad agency and has a table football area for use by clients and staff which helps stimulate the creative juices.

I have my "chemin blanc".

You see, most lunch times I take Paxton the black lab out for a walk in the vines and we invariably end up on the same rough track which wends its way back to my garden.  Usually it's deserted and allows me to prioritise work, get my thoughts in order and plan my business.

This week we're sharing the vines with huge machines straight out of War of the Worlds and my attention is diverted.  It's a small price to pay though - Paxton and I take our time and watch as the workers pick the grapes, transfer them onto a trailer, hook them on the tractor then hurry back to the Chai before they get spoilt.

It's a process made all the sweeter in the knowledge that aforementioned friends will undoubtedly be inviting me to birthdays, christenings, weddings and simple dinner parties where I will get to sample the fruits of their labour.


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