Saturday, 6 October 2018

A fave time of year, especially in this unusually golden autumn. The Madeleine is safely in and we can focus on the pretty pink Kernling. It feels like a bit of the pressure’s off. Having just two varieties, one early and the other late gives us a month to regroup, so our harvest time though long, is less hectic than for many vineyards.

Decision is finally taken on when to pick the K. Ten days to go. Picking these beauties on 14th. We did wonder about going for super-ripe grapes and holding on till 21st, but, well, none of our kids could make that weekend and it’s much more fun as a family effort. And it would have been risky with the grapes soft and unsullied by fungicides for the last two months, as autumnal weather gets inexorably wetter and windier and the birds more rapacious .

This year it’s a time that's included a precious first visit by granddaughter Liv and our son Fred from Copenhagen. Golden sunny days while she got to know the dogs, cat, horses and vines. We’d got behind with the deleafing but Fred did more than his bit while Liv slept among the vines, and friends Jan and Sim have helped too. Just 3 rows to go...

Now they’re back in CPH re-united with Nora. And here the pheasant wars are on. Despite the efforts of the gamekeepers and their dogs the young pheasants recently released a couple of fields away by our neighbours’ shoot discovered the grapes in a big way this week. Iain and I put up perimeter nets in a rush and pegged them down tight. Fingers crossed they’ll keep the crowds of scurrying young birds at bay.

Benji is proving a Really Useful Dog in chasing them off. Jack, the sensitive one, suddenly decided that they were actually Very Scary Animals and slunk off back to, er, guard the house (hide in the kitchen|). Now he’ll only come up the field if his brother comes too.

So it’s a nervous time. Must stop flicking through the weather websites and get out there!