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Squidgy Grapes

Last Tuesday, I went to Son Vell, a bodega near Felanitx, to watch some freshly harvested Fogoneu Mallorquí grapes being de-stalked and cracked open and crushed, ready for the fermenting  process. A hand-fed machine was used for this. The resulting mass of gooey grapes and messy liquid was stored in a cooling tank made of stainless steel. Before I bid my farewells, I was offered some must to take home with me, to enjoy in peace and quiet and in the company of my wife. It was some sweet, delicious nectar, believe you me, freshly pressed grape juice, as yet unfermented.

Yesterday, it was the same again but, this time in Binissalem. There, the Festa des Vermar was, and still is, in full swing. The de-stalking and crushing of the grapes was done the old way, just like the Romans are thought to have done it all those years ago. The grapes were trod upon. The contest was the annual Concurs de Trepitjar Raïm (Grape Treading Competition) and the result was a sticky mess of crushed grapes and again, sweet grape juice or must. I could not tell which grape variety was used; I suppose a bit of everything.

Whilst the mess of grapes near Felanitx was done with a commercial and professional aim in mind, the crushing and treading in Binissalem was done in a festive and entertaining mood. The object is to keep alive age-old traditions even though, in the commercial world of wine making in Binissalem there is no longer any room for such arduous labour. The grape treading was done in age-related groups and there were cash prizes for the winning three teams per age group. You wouldn’t believe how much must a team of four (one pair at a time, followed by the second pair) could extract out of two times the amount of 10 kg of grapes.

The Festa des Vermar continues for another week. Highlights to come will be a Tast de Vins (a Sommelier guided elaboration of wines, 35 €) tomorrow, Tuesday, a Festa de Fideus de Vermar (a local Paella with noodles instead of rice), on Thursday, a Sopar a la Fresca (open air village street supper) on Friday, all over Binissalem, a Correfoc (firerun), performed by Sa Fil·loxera de l’Infern, also on Friday night, a Desfilada de Carrosses (parade of dressed carriages), next Saturday, and a Fira del Vi (wine tasting, 6 €), also on Saturday. The Festa will finish next Sunday with a festive church service, a parade of the Gegants de Binissalem (giant puppets), Vi de Franc (free wine sampling till you drop), and a Ballada Popular (folk dance till you drop dead). Bones Festes.

The photos were taken in Binissalem, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: September 18, 2011. The time was 18:39:05, 18:20:29 and 18:40:09, respectively.

1 reply »

  1. My family and I keep missing these events every single year due to having to get the children back to school in the UK.These events make us question why we stay here and get the children into a school in Mallorca.Our hearts yearn to be on this wonderful island full time.Having been involved in the wine retail business for the last thirty five years its my fantasy now to have a vineyard.Having spoken to several owners at the Pollensa Fera di Vi it takes a lot of hard work.Maybe I should be happy in my day job and wait to retire !

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September 2011


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