Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sights in San Rafael

At the end of the interview week and a half traveling, we like to end in San Rafael and take a morning relaxing until we need to drive home. We stayed a night at Algodon, our little hide away and great find outside of San Rafael. There was a little tourist spot along the road and so we stopped to admire the sights and sounds of Argentina. Above are various colorful liquors (licores).

You won't see this very often, so I had to document President sitting down and relaxing for a few hours.
We had a pomegranate tree right outside our room, with the vineyards in the background.
Grapes drying naturally on the vine, tasting like raisins.
Love the contrast in colors. No one told this little offshoot, that he started growing a little late. It is harvest time in Mendoza.

Algodon has it's own little bodega (winery). It is a small little outfit with a few employees. They had just delivered grapes to the winery, but there were no workers there and so we took a few pictures.
The grapes go across a conveyor belt where the good grapes are separated from the leaves and branches. The grapes then fall into the vat below.
Here the grapes are ground down into smaller sections and they fall into the next vat below.
Here the grapes are separated from their stems and the grapes go into a tube, and the stems drop out the bottom and are carried away in the yellow containers.
The stems are used as mulch for the soil.
After the grapes go through the tube into the vats below, they are steam pressurized in a large sieve like container. The skins give the wine it's color. The juice of the grape drips out through a colander vat which sits inside a large galvanized tank. There the juice goes through a yeast treatment and then is later stored in barrels.

The screen which is usually covering the grapes before harvest is a very important "insurance measure" in San Rafael which receives large hail storms (the storms are known to strip the vineyards clean).
I was totally embarrassed when I asked this worker to stop for a picture. I was talking to him in Spanish and he didn't seem to be understanding a word I said. I got a little frustrated and turned to Jim and said, "Wow, you try to talk to him because obviously my Spanish is not good enough for him." There was a voice from the other side of the grapevines that said (in Spanish), "He can't hear you, he is mute." My husband just laughed at me because I am always telling him that my Spanish is terrible. Of course of all the workers I could have talked to, I had to chose that one. I felt terrible.

Just a worker, out in the vineyard of the Lord (little pun)
Algodon also produces olive oil. You can see the different colors of the olives as they mature on the trees. Soon it will be their season to be picked. They have a large machine that has arms that comes and shakes the trunk of the tree. The olives just fall to the ground.

After a long day of interviews, President and I enjoyed a salad brought to the porch by our room. We felt totally spoiled. We used their olive oil and balsamic vinegar made right there on the property.
Breakfast is served in the little club house. We wish we could stay a little longer, but we are driving towards Valle de Uco on our way home, where we will interview the last 10 missionaries. President has spent from 20-45 minutes with all 190 missionaries in the last week and a half. He said that this has been the very best interview time he has given his missionaries since we came almost 3 years ago. We can only do this because of the change that the church made in our interview and zone conference schedules. We don't like the fact that we don't see our missionaries that often, but when we do see them, it is quality time. We have one more interview schedule in June, right before we leave. We love our missionaries. They truly do inspire us with their enthusiasm and goodness.

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