Today was the final, final day of vintage, and was spent, for us, at Henry’s Harrow & Hope above Marlow.
He and I are sitting in the sun after picking the final row remembering the early years over in France at La Clarière with those two long tables of harvesters, winemakers, office staff, passing friends and customers from the U.K … surprised to be pulled in.
Bernadette producing, amongst all the noise, big bowls of soup, big platters of hors’d’oeuvres, main course, salad, cheese and dessert … all on a tight budget. She grew the greens and raised the poultry. There were bottles of our wine of course, and you drank wine, water and your strong coffee all out of the same little Duralex tumblers.
Henry reckoned wine life didn’t get much better than those lunches. He suspects they may be what convinced him to join the wine game. At his winery he does try and stick to the harvest lunch tradition. Gets his mum to leave great steaming pans of rich stew type dishes on the hot plate under the canopy by the press … and there’s still a long table … outdoors if possible. No wine though! Except today … because it’s the last day. Last meal. Farmer Matt has grilled his superb – personally raised? – steak over the fire in the oil drum … so Henry does a little speech of thanks to all and we raise a toast of thanks … to wine.