I like it here because of the amazing view from the top floor and because of the excellent wine list. And I should know about wine--I just came back from New Zealand, where I worked in the vineyards harvesting the grapes. It's a madhouse at harvest time. You get paid according to the weight that you harvest, so it's every man for himself. You start off with a bin, which is like a basket, and you fill it as fast as you can, and then they tag it so they can pay you later. You can wear gloves, but they get in the way and you can't feel the grapes. So at the end of the day you're exhausted and you've managed to cut all your fingers because you're going so fast and don't want to dump any on the ground. You have Band-Aids on every finger and blisters on your thumbs. You do about one or two rows a day yourself, or about 32 bins--I couldn't even guess how many grapes that would be. In New Zealand it's an industry, not a tradition, unlike in France, where you're encouraged to take your time. My French friends who've harvested there say that at the end of the day they feed you and you get to drink the wine from the previous year, but crickey dickens--not in New Zealand!
--Caroline Domenech, administrative assistant