It all started when Himself and a school friend had just completed a 10 month travel adventure where he hitchhiked from The Netherlands to Turkey and then finding public transport cheap enough for their meager budget, they took buses etc all though Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as well as side trips to Sri Lanka and Nepal. Upon his return to Europe he found it hard to settle into a regular routine and so contacted an agency who suggested maybe a stint of grape picking in France. The agency sent him to The Dordogne and he picked grapes there for three weeks, whilst there he met a young man from Scotland and they got on well.
When the Scot mentioned that he was leaving to pick grapes in the Charentes Maritime and that the farmer was one picker short, the offer was made for Hubby to go with them. He was hesitant at first because it would involve traveling there on their one designated “day off” and beginning work as soon as they got there, but fortunately he accepted the offer and the first massive welcoming French meal served by the farmer’s wife assured him that he had made a good decision. He arrived the first time with school textbook French and since the farmer and his wife knew no English and rather naturally no Dutch, he quickly adapted and came away speaking the French that is typical of the Charentes.
He returned to the hard work of picking grapes by hand to the same farmer and farmer’s wife for the next eight years, received always with open arms, wide smiles and exceedingly large meals. It was French Law that every grape picker was entitled to 3 liters pf wine per person per day (fortunately it was a light wine of 8-9%) but Hubby never managed to remotely achieve anywhere near the allocation in any of the years he picked grapes there. And thus Hubby was introduced to the secret of Pineau de Charentes…. and that this particular region of France formed a very special place in his heart.