I got back last Thursday. I returned to a strange £5 note and a Marmite shortage. It felt colder than it was. The rush and beat of London didn't seem to have slipped or skipped in my absence.
My hands are still stained and sore and swollen, but most of the other aches and pains have subsided. The cuts healed and the scabs faded to pink. It took a few nights, but I no longer dream that I'm in the winery.
Before I left we tasted everything and even put together some preliminary blends. It's still a long way before what we made is in bottle, but most of it is definitely wine now. It's quite a thing, that last change from juice to wine. Tasting through the whites in particular, it seemed a perfect marker for time passing even if you're too busy to notice it. I'd been there almost five weeks, and it seemed like no time at all. But it was. Is it a forest for the trees kind of thing? Perhaps. But it never ceases to amaze me that, after a month or so of back breaking routine, of making sure all the little things go right, and that everything is clean, that the juice has been doing its own work. And yeah, you taste along the way, but for some reason it's different, when everything's dry and more similar to something you'd find in a bottle than tapped from a barrel or tank. It shouldn't come as a surprise, not after nearly 10 years, but it does.
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