The Ciudad Real born poet and International Miguel Hernández Award laureate will not be disappointing the participants at the trade fair with his delightful anecdotes about his childhood spent in his grandparents' vineyard
The journalist, writer and professor, José Luis Morales, will be introducing the participants of the National Trade Fair on Wine, to take place on the upcoming dates of May 10th to the 12th, to his childhood yearnings and experiences, which are intertwined with the yearly harvest on his grandparents' vineyard estate.
The writer, who is also a poet and International Miguel Hernández Poetry Award laureate, will be reeling off all the experiences and curiosities he remembers from his childhood. A childhood that took place during a period in time that was extremely hard in that pertaining to wine production, all this at the conference 'The Grape Harvests of my Childhood (the fifties)', on May 10th at 6.00 p.m.
The founder of the Guadiana Group and of the magazine Manxa de Ciudad Real, considers himself to be a lover of the fine wines of La Mancha and of Spain in general, indicating that he is, "an amateur, yet diligent lover of wine".
José Luis Morales (Fernán Caballero (Ciudad Real), 1955) will be regaling the audience with the vicissitudes of his childhood spent on his grandparents' estate in 'La Puebla' (Ciudad Real) during the decade of the fifties, "where there was neither running water to be found, nor electricity nor even a teacher", he underlines.
At the time, he recalls, the grape harvest was one of the most sociable tasks around, work that involved the entire family: from the kids who were in charge of taking the drinking jug round to the workers, right through to the mothers and fathers who worked from "sunup to sundown" in order to harvest the grapes, and including the elderly, who were in charge of making the meals, usually "gachas or migas (ancestral staple dishes made with flour or bread) cooked in a 'trébedes' (three-legged cooking utensil made of iron), of which everybody would partake with a sharp switchblade and a hunk of bread". Afterwards we would all go back to work, walking several kilometers on foot so as to ease the burden for the animals, he adds.
Red and White Grapes in the Same Vineyard
From his own personal point of view and based on his own recollections, "to which on occasion literature contributes more than memory itself", the harvest was just like a festival because many workers from a village in Toledo would come to his family's estate. In addition to these workers there were at least fifty or sixty workers more who also joined the ranks of harvesters, most of them very young, which meant that the bedrooms were a riot at night, to the point that even sexual appetites had to be accounted for". He remembers that in those years the simple sight of a woman's calf "was indeed serious business", because women at the time always covered their head with a headscarf, and they always wore long sleeves, "so just imagine what it must have been like for a kid to see the harvesters washing up at the river."
He also comments that there was no cellar on his family's estate, "only the 'plantío' (field of crops), as his family called it." The grapes would be brought in on carts drawn by mules and mares to the Miguelturra or Fernán Caballero cooperatives. Most of the harvest corresponded to white grapes, Macabeo or Airén varieties, with some red grapes, Cencibel or Tempranillo, "and although they were all planted in the same vineyard, they were actually harvested separately, even though they would sometimes be mixed together."
These anecdotes and many others, such as a highly amusing and curious anecdote related with ice, the flooding of the Jabalón river, a World War II truck or a story about a papal chair, will indeed not disappoint those participating in the chat. The same in which the only pretension that the speaker has is to make the participants smile, "with claims being admitted if they don't break out in laughter," he affirmed.
He will be accompanied at this FENAVIN conference by the lawyer and co-owner of the winery Bodegas Arúspide (Valdepeñas), Agustín Gil del Pino, with whom he shares literary bonds and friendships, such as that of the well-remembered late Paco Creis, founder of the A7 Group along with Agustín Gil del Pino.
José Luis Morales is a Philosophy and History Graduate, "licensed, if not career, journalist", writer and poet. He has written six books of poetry, thanks to which he has harvested four national awards (among them the National José Hierro Award) and an international award (the 'Miguel Hernández' Award) and another four review books, two plays and several travel books.