first harvest

Champagne all round (or rather finest English sparkling wine)! What a weekend it's been for Mowbarton. The grapes were at last deemed ready to pick, so pick them we did. Just the two of us (all the enthusiastic offers to 'help with the harvest' seemed to have melted away) up and down the rows with our wheelbarrows for around 12 hours in total. Pinot Meunier - lovely and black but twisty stems with small clusters which meant lots of snipping (See September below!); Pinot Blanc - smaller, less attractive grapes (green and some not quite ripe) but big bunches and weighty yield; Chardonnay - a delight to pick. Huge juicy bundles which filled the boxes in no time. They have all gone to a huge vat in Bagborough for transforming into sparkling wine, no less. They should be back here, ready bottled, in August before when we have to create labels, marketing and, most important, a temperature-controlled storage room for them. Watch this space for more news of the Mowbarton Estate wines...

But that wasn't the only event of the weekend. We have also started work on creating two new picnic places, both with sensational views. One is up in the meadow above the Shepherd's Hut. There's a lovely sheltered corner up there, very private, from where you can look down on to the roof of Mowbarton Barn and then way beyond across the fields down on the levels, and over to the Bristol Channel, just. You can see the Polden Hills and the Quantocks and on a very clear day I am pretty sure you can see the outline of Exmoor. With cows grazing in the next fields and rabbits hopping around in the brambles, It really is a beautiful spot. Just waiting for a table and chairs to go on the wonderful slabs that Arthur has laid to match the Shepherd's Hut terrace.

And we've also been looking at the possibility of installing a hot tub... (Don't worry; not up in the meadow!)


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