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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Vineyard down time


Peissy, 10 km from Geneva's city center, with the Jura mountains and the start of Burgundy to the west: January 30, dusk
The outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland are home to several villages with some excellent wines. Geneva's wine suffered from several years of over-production and too many wines of mediocre quality but in the past 15 years the grape growers have made badly needed changes and the once-proud wines are making a strong comeback. Several have recently won presitigious awards.

Skies darken over Peissy, daytime patches of melted snow freeze, sky travellers carry on to Paris and Milan

January is a quiet time in the vineyards. The plants pause, the lanes among the vines are empty and the only sign of human activity is streaks from jets overhead. The cries and shouts of hidden children's voices carry over high courtyard walls in Peissy and Choully.


On an empty road leading away from Choully I came across this massive tree trunk, with this comforting sign on it. I liked the fact that someone in Geneva Canton cared enough about the old oak tree and its fellows to explain that these have long been the canton's most prolific species, that they have been used for centuries to age the local wine. The sign invited us to count the number of rings and guess at the age of the tree. It was too cold, so we passed on, in the direction of a vineyard called (in French) paradise.

I counted those rings as I fell asleep, but I never made it to the last one.

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