I don't know anyone who does'nt associate barrels with something pleasant.  Wine, sherry, port, beers, spirits and yes, even water.  I have seen them made into quite beautiful furniture.  Garden centres can't seem to get enough old ones.  Filled with compost, holes made in the sides and with flowers and fruit - strawberries especially - growing from them they can look spectacular.  There is magic about a barrel.  Watching a Master Cooper make one from scratch is absolutely mesmerizing...... 

Meet Pendelli,
Master Cooper, Kastelli Kissamos,
Crete.  And no, he is not accidentally out of focus.  He wanted you to see the barrels.  I wanted him to meet you.  We both have a sense of humour, we compromised!



Pendelli is a Cretan, full of hospitality (filoxenia) and welcoming bonhomie.  He is also a master craftsman; an artist; oozing confidence as he turns Chestnut from Greece and Oak from Germany into his barrels - many of which will eventually hold considerable quantities of the locally famed Kastelli wines.  He is also a teacher, giving his young Romanian apprentice plenty of scope to practice.  Stepping in only occasionally to help him acquire his skills or rescue a mistake.  His performance, because that's what it is, is smooth.  Apparently effortless.  With time to appreciate his audience and for his audience to appreciate him.  Mesmerizing.  But the almost finished barrels roll out without pause!
We have in the last few weeks completed a whole series of photographs of Pendelli and his apprentice making barrels as a Photo Albumn feature for the site.  This will shortly be added together with a 'Letter from Crete' about visiting Pendelli and buying a barrel for our own wine.