As the years go by I am able to recall
each vintage, usually attaching to something particular
that marks the season and allows it to sit in the memory.
There were two such events this year. Several frosty nights
during the second week of May cruelly nipped off many of
the young flowers within the bud, so I knew from early on
that the harvest would be small. Breaky Bottom is close
to the sea and late spring frosts of this severity are unusual.
However, my disappointment was balanced somewhat by the
wonderful autumn weather which meant that the modest crop
was of the highest quality, clean ripe grapes with exceptionally
high sugars, and should make some fine sparkling wine.
The second recollection for 2005 will
be the surprise visit from a handsome male Sparrow Hawk.
He arrived during the harvest, complete with a freshly killed
pigeon, which he proceeded to eat from the top of one of
the wine tanks, feathers all over the place. Most of the
time he spent high up in the eaves of the barn observing
the goings on down below. He took occasional ‘shots’
at me from above but I nevertheless enjoyed his company.
Despite the barn doors being open day and night he chose
to stay for three days. I daydreamed that he had opted for
the full winemaking course. By the morning of day four he
had gone. The pigeon was picked to the bone.