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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Drink Art: The Vintage in California by Paul Frenzeny

Drink Art is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that looks at famous works of art depicting men and women enjoying life and drink.

The Vintage in California, at Work at the Wine Presses
Paul Frenzeny
French, 1840-1902

During my recent California wine county visit I was reminded of the relationship between man and equipment in harvesting grapes and making wine. Today there are incredible pieces of machinery that can do amazing things in harvesting and crushing grapes, but the human element is still a critical part of the process.

In this illustration by French artist Paul Frenzeny we can see that more than 100 years ago the grape harvest was different, but it still involved immigrant labor, in this case Chinese workers, and a rush to get grapes in and crushed at their peak. The scene shows workers stomping grapes and a giant wine press at work. Wagons are crammed with grapes, suggesting just how long the days are at vineyards during harvest. A winemaker is in one corner of the piece with a tasting glass examining the new juice.

The illustration is part of the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley.

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