Nature's Most Simple Wine

Jean Pierre slips the harness around the thick trunk of the palm and ties it tight. It is made out of fronds itself, tightly wound into rope and dried.

Leaning back like a lineman working on an electric cable, he grips it and lifts his left bare foot onto the tree. Then the right.

In a move too fast to really see the magic maneuvering, Jean Pierre is up a few feet. He slides the harness up a few more, then skips his feet up. Repeat until he's 20 feet up, ready for wine making.

I was surprised, too. Apparently palm species here can yield a sweet wine making that's super simple to makeā€¦ if you can climb.

Jean Pierre covers his face with a cloth; there's bees up there. He uses a knife to plunge a hole, then hangs a plastic water bottle way far from its first use. Palm sap, which is more watery than sap, will collect all day.

It gets all hot in the 95-degree heat and ferments. Don't want a tummy ache? Add bits of a special bark.

I trued it first at Laurent's house, here with Dodo and Eme.

We used glasses, but Laurent showed me the traditional ladle as well. Jean Pierre's wife also shared with us a glass. Sweet! Her and it.