We love things green and growing and creating with our own hands. But for those of us seeking the joy of reconnecting with the land, sometimes the struggle is difficult. It’s full of joy and sorrow, success and failure.
From an event point of view, our harvest party was a big success. The weather was great, the Whoahh Nellie! band entertained us, and we ate heartily. Everyone had fun, drank wine, and all the grapes were harvested.
But after counting and weighing the yellow harvest lugs, we finally understood the extent of the devastation wreaked by the late spring frost. We expected 2 tonnes of pinot noir from that vineyard; this year we reaped half a tonne. And that was the “good” vineyard. The younger “back acher” vines rewarded us with a distressingly low 200-ish kilos for the whole three and a half acres. “Stop picking”, I told the workers mid way through picking the back acres. “It’s costing us more to harvest than the grapes are worth”.
We spend so much time dreaming and planning for our little winery in the county. It’s an enormous investment in time, money and emotional energy to produce the best grapes, the foundation of making great wine. And then, a single weather event sets us back an entire year’s work, a year of dreams unfulfilled. It’s heartbreaking if you allow yourself to dwell on it.
The romance of the small farm archetype is to triumph in the struggle to survive in an ironic environment. And the stoic acceptance of unavoidable events like a once-in-fifty years late frost.
How do we hold our heads high? We look forward to the next harvest, the next year. After all, we’re dreamers and doers. Eternal optimists who love things green and growing. A small bump on our road won’t sway us from our journey. We won’t give up!