Week 29 (17–23 July 2023)

Another busy week, events apéros and more. The Fête de Joux, yearly village summer party, took place and was a success, drinks food music people.

At time of writing (Monday 24) my parents are back in Switzerland and things are finally settling down—back to our regular schedule of climbing cooking gardening.

Building a shelf

Before G left we took advantage of his DIY skills and spent a full day building a big wooden shelf (1.80 by 2.30 m) for the living room (need more space for books and things).

We went to the shop to buy wood in the morning, cut and sanded it before lunch, and assembled everything in the afternoon. By the end of the day C had already taken some of our books out of cardboard boxes and onto the shelf. She's planning our next DIY project.

Drinking vitis labrusca

We drove 1h one evening to attend a documentary screening about cépages interdits: forbidden grape varietals.

These are varietals from the North American vitis labrusca species, banned in France in 1935 and that remain in a gray zone today (growing them is tolerated, selling them is still forbidden). The reasoning behind the ban (bad taste, health concerns) has now been largely disproven. The grapes are more resistant to diseases than their European counterpart vitis vinifera, and require less chemical treatment.

Associations are still campaigning to get the ban completely lifted, the debate is multifaceted and ranges from taste (does vinifera really taste better?) to tradition (is vinifera really more traditional since virtually all European varietals have been grafted onto labrusca rootstock during the phylloxera plague?) and economics (manufacturers of chemical control substances like fungicides benefit from vinifera being sensitive to diseases, how does this affect the ban?).

Many of the remaining growers of forbidden grapes are located in the Cévennes, in the Ardèche and Gard departments. The stance of many local growers back when they faced the ban was "I've planted this, I'm not going to uproot it". A couple of winemakers were at the screening for a forbidden wine tasting. One of them, L, created an association for the promotion of these grapes. Membership costs 40 € and comes with a gift of 6 bottles: it's not technically selling so it's not illegal. And the wines are great!

The documentary streams on Vimeo On Demand with English subtitles:

Climbing in Burzet

Almost two weeks without climbing (only bouldering) so we paged through the topo and decided to drive to Burzet. The crag is small and at the center of the village, on the side of a cliff where the clock tower stands. We were surprised to effortlessly onsight a couple of 6a routes, before we understood that this is more of a school/families crag, with easier grading and barely more than a meter between each point. One 6a+ was tricky when avoiding to use holds from the 5c right next to it. Otherwise not very interesting, not worth going out of one's way for it.

We made up for it by having a chou à la crème at the village bakery (by the time we were there all the pastries were gone already—go early!). On the way back, a refreshing dip in the Bourges at the pont du Prat and a burger at Le Point d'Orgues, a new favorite restaurant near Jaujac.

Next crag next week!