sun for the grapes

SEPTEMBER here already and rather a damp start it's been so far although they promise better to come. I certainly hope 'they' are right as I slaved my way through the week continuing the leaf-cutting exercise in the vineyard. Having spent a large part of my life keeping children out of the sun with a variety of hats, sunshades, sunblock, canopies... (who can forget the elaborate contraption that took off in a high wind on a Turkish beach on the first day of our holiday - and blew clean away?) it goes against the grain to do precisely the opposite, removing every square inch of protection from the vulnerable little grapes. It's also been fascinating to observe the difference in the behaviour of the grapes. The Chardonnay vines were relatively simple and straightforward. But the Pinot Meunier! Tendrils more obstinately clingy; clusters of grapes hiding so you couldn't spot them; leaves wrapping themselves around the grapes in a mad frenzy of modesty. All in all you got the impression they were playing hard to get, a bit like a temperamental prima donna. The word angsty came to mind and then I had it: teenagers. The Teenagers of the Vineyard. Still rather immature and unready for the world beyond. Let's hope that the promised Indian summer deals with them firmly... Talking of Indian summers, we still have a last-minute special deal available in September. Then in October it's the Wells Festival of Literature. We are sponsoring Alexandra Harris's event on Weatherland. I wonder if working in an English vineyard has ever inspired a poem or a watercolour? I certainly don't remember much wine being made in Thomas Hardy. Rum-laced furmity, wasn't it?


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