Empordalia Cooperativa in Pau. Lots of people were milling about, and the open air tourist bus that is like a train was ready for boarding. We were off but unfortunately sitting in the back, which brought back long forgotten feelings of being in the back car of a roller coaster every time we went around a curve. We cut off the main road and stopped in the middle of a vineyard.
We carried the bins into a long room and placed them beside big, old wooden carriers for the grapes. But first, breakfast. We adjourned to the next room for pan tomat - fresh tomatoes rubbed into bread leaving just the pulp - an assortment of meats, local red and white wine and some biscotti. Fortified, we went back to our grapes.
It was time to wash our feet again and get those pips out from between our toes. The press was assembled and everyone took turns dumping their wooden container into the press. Much of the juice just ran through into plastic containers but to ensure that all the juice was extracted from the rappa, or must, it had to be pressed by pushing the lever back and forth, click, clack, click, clack. When it would go no more the press was taken apart leaving just the must that can be used for distilling grappa or other local liqueurs.
Meanwhile the juice had been dumped into an aluminum container and from there jugs and then bottles of juice were filled. We were given a little glass of the juice we had all made; it was sweet but not too sweet. Delicious. The juice from the press tasted slightly different since the stalks were still on the grapes. Best of all we were given bottles of our juice to take home with us with strict instructions to put them in the fridge.