French Grape Hoppers
Harvesting to make wine and champagne begins with the collection of grapes.
Grape production serves as a major agricultural output in France. The harvest season for grape crops in France typically begins in September and may last until October. A Vendangeur is what a grape picker in France is called.
Grape hoppers are the backpacks that grape harvesters use to carry the grapes they are harvesting from the vines. They were made of wood or woven natural fibers or metal. They are very attractive hanging on walls with arrangements.
Here is the back of the hopper where the straps are attached and then worn on the back of the picker.
Below is a metal grape hopper used as a table decorative item –Beautiful metal 19th century French grape hoppers would originally house leather straps through the back slots and center front protrusion with handles on either side and back worn around the neck or on the back for harvesting grapes in the vineyards. After the grapes were gathered they would be emptied into a wagon and carried to the winery. In France these utility pieces are identified as “Cueillette de Raisin” or “picking of grapes” These grape hopper pieces are very unique and have a wonderful shape that can be used as a planter or jardinier, a collection of lavendar stalks, silk flowers or fruit, fireplace kindling, knitting or as a magazine rack.
The grape hopper would have been carried on the back like a rucksack.
Here are what grape hoppers look like today and most are made of plastic. Not quite as charming as the original.
In France many vineyards are open to the public so that you can enjoy the experience of picking the grapes and wearing the hopper.
Alsace France is just one of the many wonderful places to experience the harvesting of grapes and the wine tastings that are typically provided on site as well as pairings of wines with cheeses and meats.
White meats naturally call for white wines often better than red wines. Serve a Riesling with your roast chicken, Pinot Gris with roast veal. Choose a Gewurztraminer for pork with pineapple
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases white wines are better adapted to cheese than red wines ; Alsace wines are particularly well suited to accompany all types of cheese : from soft and mild cheeses (serve Sylvaner or Pinot Blanc), to goat cheese (perfect with a Riesling), to strong cheeses (Gewurztraminer), to hard cheeses like Cheddar (Pinot Gris).
So enjoy your wine whether it be red or white and remember that many stages went in to the production before making its way to the shelf to be purchased!
Au Revoir!! A La Prochaine!!