Upon special request from Erin:
The Bronte sisters, crazy as they were, were known to circle their dining room table to spawn some of the great novels of their time. I too circle a table, not in glorious creative output, but in inglorious all consuming invidiousness. Mother nature, the immortal large teasing child from your public school, let us begin the year auspiciously. Despite the harsh winter 0f 2014, the vines were put to sleep with the chimes of St. Crispin’s day and woke again on arbor day with a vigour reserved only for the urgency of thinking you lost your cell phone while you are in fact holding in your hand (ask me how I know). Everything ran like clockwork, the ground dry enough to make the vines suffer sufficiently but not so dry as to make us water even once. Our backs were thankful. The vines as imposingly aggressive as a New England sports fan. The deer kept their distance, growing more interested perhaps in canasta or local politics than abusing our attempts at agriculture. The ants, never heard from again. The grapes as a result grew plentiful and amazing. As large and as plump as that year you got the meal plan at university and discovered it was all you can eat. Suns set beautifully on un-blighted vines and rose with great hilarity to great them again. Even Napoleon returned from his weakened state in Elba to lead his grande armee (too lazy to find the proper accent on the keyboard… damn it found it é) of vines to sure victory in a town alarmingly close to Waterloo Ontario (hey there was a cottage there too… hmmm).
However… despite a full season of frankly astonishing growth and potential, in the words of the bard “Good god! Why do they mock poor fellows thus!”.
A nemesis appears on the backs of Prussians (I assume) and conscripts from the nearby forrest. This self absorbed Wellington of a beast bore not epaulets, but rather the stripes of a convict. Sauntering up to the vineyard left open by the great deus ex machina of negligence, it consumed with gluttonous laughter echoing through the hills. Pound after pound of grapes this monstrous harpy ate filling its seemingly bottomless appetite for my own despair. A virtual Sæhrímnir every day for a week. This … thing took from us every last beautiful grape and snatched our defeat from the jaws of victory. This of course with the luck of the Irish, happening only days before we came to harvest. Estimations of our harvest would place it at 30-40 pounds of fresh fruit. I’m not even mad, I’m impressed. What’s worse though is that this particular creature has an insidious preternatural (ok entirely natural) ability which makes it impossible to chase for vengeance. For this creature is not a deer, no wolf, nor badger, nor passing transient. It is a skunk of pure striped evil. It has a name, and it is Pepé (found it this time!). I hope he gets audited and screwed on his taxes. I pray he gets pulled into the side security room at the airport. I wish with boundless energy that Pepé’s falls embarrassingly in from of a more attractive skunk.
We may have lost the battle, and the pitiful small 2014 harvest batch of wine is still bottled and ready for consumption, it is impossible to avoid the despair. But to quote the bard “once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”. A local winemaker upon hearing the news granted us a word of solace stating simply “welcome to the wine business”.
See you in spring you viney bastards.