Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vendimia Celebration Week August 2013

Friday - August 2nd

Estela and I were in town doing errands when the Queen's Parade almost ran over us.  We had been so busy we had not realized that the parade was in progress until it was almost on top of us.  Of course, I didn't have my camera, but she got these with her phone.

The coronation took place that evening and the Feria de Uvas y Vino opened.

Monday - August 5th

Eduardo and Magalie are in town.  They were at the house early Monday morning to finalize plans for our Alianza celebration.
While waiting for Eduardo who was involved in a conversation with Nacho, Magalie, Mercedes, and Pablo rolled and tied most of the souvenir posters for me.  Thanks so much!  I couldn't have done it without you.

Monday evening, they prepared dinner for about 20 people.  Delicious, as always, but the friends were even better than the food.

Tuesday - August 6th

Ferdi and Lucy organized a brand new event this year, "Valores de Mi Tierra," an outstanding art exhibition.
Here they are with Coahuila's Secretary of Culture, cutting the ribbon.
The art was collected from artists all over Coahuila, the wine and venue was supplied by Casa Madero.  
Eduardo and Magalie are to be married sometime next year.  Eduardo is our partner in the Alianza.
Ferdi and Lucy are to be married this fall in early November.  Young love is a wonderful thing, but speaking from experience, love that comes a little later can be even more precious!  Congratulations to both couples.
This was my favorite of all the paintings, "La Llorona del viñedo." There are many legends in Mexico that involve a crying woman, but this one is special because the setting is Parras de la Fuente.

We were invited to dinner at Hacienda del Marquez later so we decided to go to the fair while we waited.  The afternoon sun was at its hottest so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
Dining opportunities ranged from T-Bone steak to fruit juice. 

And there was stuff to buy - lots of stuff

And more stuff!  I particularly liked the Barbie angels.  The baby 
doll in a plastic bag was a little too much for me.
The rides were not open yet, but it was easy to see that in a few hours it would be taken over by screaming, giggling young people ready for a thrill and quite willing to put their lives on the line.

Back on the street this bungee/trampoline set-up was available for those who couldn't wait for the rides to open.
The irrigation canal runs under the street here and this is where la señora set up her plant store.  Under the tent with the water running under the street, the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than the street. She was taking advantage of the time between customers to put out the family wash.  

Back to Hacienda del Marquez for dinner.  Another opportunity to visit with good friends that we don't see nearly often enough.

Wednesday - August 7th

We picked and processed grapes all day long.  You can read about all the action in the previous post.  We treated ourselves to an early night.

Thursday - August 8th
We picked up on Thursday morning right where we left off on Wednesday night.  We worked in the winery until 9:30PM when we finally went in to clean up.  We had a party to attend.

Ale made a huge paella for about 150 people.  It was delicious as always. 

The weather was perfect, the music was wonderful and Regina's hula hoop demonstration was a big hit.
Gringo in Mexico was there recording the event (and enjoying the paella).  Everyone was in a great mood, and Nacho was a happy man.

For me, the very best part of the evening was the comedian.  For the very first time in this kind of situation, I found myself laughing - not because I was cued by the laughter of everyone else, but because I actually got the joke.  It was a great feeling.

Friday - August 9th

We passed on the whole San Lorenzo event.  We did however make time for the afternoon cata de vinos and borego at Hacienda del Marquez.

More good times with good friends.  

A cata de vinos is a wine tasting.  This one was led by a gentleman who was the winemaker for Casa Madero for many years.  Our evaluation sheets were all written in Spanish, but here is a link to some explanations in English which might help some of you enjoy wine a little more.

The wines were from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Spain.  All of them good!
Later, there was lamb.  If you are ever looking for someone to cook lamb to perfection, Rafa is your man.

Most of the folks left the cata, changed clothes, and went to San Lorenzo.  We went back to the house, changed clothes, and went back to work.  These functions aren't designed for people who make their own wine and still want to party with the big boys.  

Saturday, August 10

Valeria, Eugenia, and their friends were at the house bright and early to label the wine bottles Eduardo wanted to sell.  Just more of the Hecho a Mano technique.
Then, into the truck - barrel, wine cases, girls, and all.  What a sight going down the road!

Just two hours later, we were at Jardín Botánico ready to rock and roll . . . 

The tables were set for 330 people.  When all was said and done we had just shy of 400 people.  Some were there at the beginning, some came later.  It all worked out.  Liliana helped me put out party favors.  What a help that was.

We started the cata at 2:00 even though many people were still streaming in.  We had to start on time in order to work everything in.  For some reason, I didn't get a single picture of the cata itself.  I like to think all my friends were concentrating on the wine and didn't want to be distracted by cameras.  

Here we are consulting with the bartender as he pours the tastes.

And here we are afterward celebrating another success.

The subject of the cata was two wines from one grape.  We had taken juice from the Sangiovese to make a light rosè.  The remaining juice was fermented as a heavy red wine.  People seemed very interested, and that was all I really hoped for.  The rosè was a great hit.  Who knew?

As soon as most of the people were seated, it was time for the big welcome!  And comida!

Next, the big show!
We had folkloric dancers 

and mariachis.

Charros and vendidoras.

The Queen and Dios Baco made a royal appearance.

The prehispanic dancers are always a big hit.

This year they made a special tribute to Eduardo and Conchita.  They both deserve all the recognition they can get.  I couldn't hear most of what was said, but it was obvious that both these dear people are greatly revered.

Some more drumming and the queen got into the spirit of grape stomping.  Soon the hill was taken over by women of all ages who just couldn't wait to get their feet in the grape juice.

The matachines of Iglesia de Santo Niño made us all proud.  They had folks on their feet.

Then there was time for posing, 

and visiting.

I had time for a nice visit with Doña Licha, the coach of Santo Niño matachines,
and time with some of my other favorite Parrisians.

As darkness fell, first the Santo Niño matachines surrounded the fogata.  They danced for 35 minutes without a break.  I can honestly say they put their heart and soul into their performance.

Then the prehispanic dancers took a turn.  They danced until the fire was reduced to glowing embers.

We finished off the evening with posole with all the trimmings.  It had been quite a day!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

People started gathering at Jardín Botánico about noon and some were still there at 5:00PM.  The menu was gorditas and tacos with mitchiladas and sangria.  The subject was how to do it bigger and better next year.

We are so very happy here in Parras de la Fuente and happy to be partners in the Alianza with Eduardo.  It still seems like a dream some times, but at 5:00PM on Sunday we were not at the Jardín.  We were back at the house watching over wine.  That sort of brings the dream back to reality.

Here's hoping some of you will visit us next year and enjoy the celebrations in person.  Me?  Stanley is bottling wine and I hear him calling for some help.  I better get into my Hecho a Mano mindset.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 1-12, 2013

August is such a busy month!  I've decided to break it into three pieces.  

August 1-12.

August 13-31

Vendimia Celebration Activities

Here we go with Part I.

News from the vegetable garden:

A couple of years ago, we planted some bronze fennel in the vegetable garden.  It has been a pain ever since, spreading it's little seedlings throughout the garden, especially in the lettuce patch.  This spring I vowed to get rid of it, but I like so many other things, I never got around to it.  

I am so glad I procrastinated!  Over a two day period we were able to observe three stages of the life cycle of the purple swallow-tail butterfly.  It seems that fennel is one of its favorite foods/habitat.  

I haven't found the feeding ground for this beauty, but it must be close by because we have a bunch of them.  Two of them came out to entertain me while I cleaned the crusher.  They were much more of a distraction than a help.

Tomato season is in full swing.  The cherry tomatoes are sooooo good!

In the vineyard, the big news is the completed harvest of all grapes. All the details are on the Making Wine blog. The harvest was not as heavy this year as last year.  Some of the grapes did not respond well to all the rain and that created too many crisis harvests of grapes in less than optimal conditions.  However, the grapes that didn't mind the rain were in near perfect condition.  All in all, we were happy with the cosecha.  

Thanks to all the happy helpers, crisis or no, we got all those little berries picked, crushed, and in the fermentation tanks.

In the winery, grapes were fermenting right along.

Antonio got some practice punching down the grapes. 

 Eventually, the grapes become a mass of skin and seeds on top of gallons of juice.

Pressing was done as grapes finished their fermentation.

Thanks to Ernesto and Alida we have a new toy in the winery. . . a baby toy-sized press, perfect for pressing small batches of grapes.

I love taking pictures of grapes.
They never complain . . . 

And they are always ready to pose.

We had some beautiful sunsets this month.  This is a small sample.

This year's harvest was almost pest free.  My camera sat on the sorting table unused.  Very few spiders and no six-legged creatures.

Just this little guy.  I put him on the table so that I could take a picture of him when he unfolded himself, but he slipped away when I wasn't looking.  Camera-shy, I guess.

In spite of all the sharp scissors, potential insect bites, deadly snakes, and other dangerous stuff, we only had one injury during the entire harvest.

Stanley and I took a break from grapes one morning to clean the cactus garden.  Stanley got a bit too enthusiastic and had a very close encounter with a cactus thorn.  Ouch!