The Manchego born writer, José Luis Morales, relives the literature inspired grape harvests of his childhood
Today at Fenavin at 6.00 p.m., Agustín Gil del Pino, lawyer and co-owner of the winery Bodegas Arúspide and the journalist, writer and professor, José Luis Morales, have yearningly reminisced on their childhood experiences in their native La Mancha and its lands overflowing with vineyards.
Agustín Gil del Pino, lawyer and co-owner of the winery Bodegas Arúspide in Valdepeñas, has always been connected to the world of literary gatherings, activity that he regularly organizes at his winery. In his opinion, "Wine and poetry are synonymous of friendship." This is also the feeling he has for his invaluable friend, José Luis Morales, who he defines as a poet of prestige who has deservingly achieved four of this country's greatest literary awards and who is well on his way to achieving the fifth. A man who he describes as "the Knight of Calatrava, half monk, half hunter and conqueror of friends."
José Luis Morales (Fernán Caballero -Ciudad Real-, 1955) who defines himself as a Manchego, son of Calatrava, started his intervention by thanking Agustín's eloquent words. He also thanked Fenavin and Manuel Juliá, the trade fair's Director, for counting with him in order to 'unite' Wine and Literature. 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.
'Las vendimias de mi infancia' (The Grape Harvests of my Childhood) is a book that regales the reader with friendly anecdotes of his childhood in his grandparents' vineyard estate during the decade of the fifties. His experiences as a child during a period in time that was extremely hard in that pertaining to vine-growing, the same in 'La Puebla' (Ciudad Real), alongside the Jabalón River, on the Calzada de Calatrava Road, "where there was no running water to be found, just the 'plantío' (field of crops). "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, although they were all planted in the same vineyard."
Morales spoke about the grape harvest as one of the jobs in which the whole family would get involved: from the kids who were in charge of taking the drinking jug round to the workers, right through to the head of the family, all working from "sunup to sundown" in order to harvest the grapes, including the grandparents, 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". A yearningly happy childhood that took place in the company of splendid vineyards, which for him were just like "magical landscapes."
Undoubtedly, with his words the great writer has been able to calm down the hustle and bustle of the first day of the trade fair, allowing the audience to evade reality for a few moments and accompany him through his childhood days.