As we followed the big removal truck down our road in the burbs to start our life back in the West Country, one of our neighbours shouted "livin the dream" by way of goodbye . Life was going to be one extended daytime TV property show. The sun would always be shining, all year round lambs would be frolicking in the fields and horny handed sons of toil would be leaning on gates and chewing straw ready for a chat and a glass of cider. Of course, this has absolutely no resemblance to how we were feeling - we were completely arse clenchingly terrified. What sort of practical things would our 1997 selves have liked to have known before we started our big adventure that may have helped us on the way?
1. If you are in possession of a large fortune, welcome to having a small fortune. If you are in possession of a small fortune, say goodbye to it. If you don't have any fortune, you are about to give every waking moment over to your dream of making great wine and so, ask you…
I’m writing this in the continuous
long Sunday afternoon that is the week in-between Christmas and New Year. The
intake of food and drink at Higher Plot and at various relative’s abodes has
been prodigious and the urge to write an article about further indulgence isn’t
as strong as it could be. We don’t feel too guilty about taking advantage of the
Slackmus period partly because the end of the holidays means getting our big
coats on for the start of winter pruning and also, I’ve just read an article
about the alcohol intake of one of the greats of the wine trade 90 year old Michael
Broadbent’ His son wrote - "Though my parents were in the wine business they aren't
big drinkers. Champagne for breakfast because orange juice is so boring without
Champagne. Then nothing until lunch, except perhaps you'd be given Madeira
because their coffee was so bad. But otherwise nothing except for a Bloody
Mary. They'd then have white and red wine with lunch and Port after, but that…
I am used to living two separate lives.
One consists of small entreprenurial growers in England and Wales who are on first name terms with each of their vines and make individualistic wines (good and bad) that reflect themselves (invariably good) and their land. That's not to say that the people involved are all retired military types with too much time on their hands - there are plenty of bright people who have just decided that this is the lifestyle for them.
My other life is the one that pays me money. Dealing with growers and buyers over millions of litres of product destined for retailers here and abroad. Competition is cutthroat and there is no margin for error as the recent enforced sales of the largest wine companies has proved. Despite the numbers involved, I often won't even see a bottle of it until it appears on a shelf . You just trust that those containers are actually on a ship or truck like the shippers say they are.
Things have changed. For a while now mone…