Working the land

We just found out that the grape harvest at the lake will be next weekend.  I’d been planning to finish a draft and post about the grapes before the harvest, so I guess I’d better get that out now…

The Lake Balaton region has soil and climate well suited for the production of  wines, particularly white wines.  It comes as no surprise then that a large part of the arable land in the region is dedicated to growing grapes (as you may have already gathered from my pictures in previous posts).  The harvest is approaching next week, but I already had a glimpse into the work that goes into caring for the vines this summer.  Dora’s parents have a small vineyard of there own; it was larger but they’ve slowly cut back to make the workload more manageable.  One of the tasks that I helped with when we first arrived was covering all of the vines.  The grapes are delicious, and flocks of birds can sometimes decend on a vineyard for a tasty meal.  Thus, nets are draped over the grapes and clipped at the bottom.  Fortunately, most of the grapes survived me and my constant snacking as I helped clip the nets.

I’m not sure what kind of grape this is (they have several varieties).  Perhaps riesling. They also have a grape called muscataly (muscat in English, I believe) that was particularly ripe and delicious.

A row of the grapes covered with the nets.

A close up of the nets clipped at the bottom to cover the grapes.

In addition to grapes, they grow a lot of fruits and vegetables too.  I’ve seen some large, modern farm operations in the area, but there are also a lot of small plots worked by villagers.  Here’s a picture of a small plot just down the road from Dora’s parent’s house.  The older gentleman (and others that I’ve seen) cares for the land with the help of his horse and wagon.  On this day he was cutting some hay; last year he was doing it by hand with a scythe, this year I saw him out with a weedwhacker.