Holy Wine

Last Sunday was Harvest Festival at St Andrew’s Church in Martinborough. church

Mum, as per expected, was loaded down with beetroot, rhubarb, bottled fruit, pickles and jams, when we arrived to collect her. We took some fruit jellies and a bottle of James 2006 Pinot Noir. May Croft, our fabulous vicar, who is actually an archdeacon, used our James Pinot Noir as the communion wine that day and I can tell you we were pretty chuffed. As was the rest of the congregation that morning. It was a wonderful service, actually, with all the children set to work making vegetable animals. Honor, who has an olive grove, had made an enormous loaf of fresh bread and May consecrated that as well for the communion bread, upon which nobody choked. It was lovely. Then afterwards we retired to the parish hall for more wine, local cheeses, fresh bread and local olive oil.

Katherine Jacobs and Jeremy Corban, who have Big Sky Wines further along Te Muna Road, also attend our church. As you do at this time of the year, we immediately compared notes and they’ve picked a few tonnes already to make their first methode. Very exciting – no chardonnay involved, just pure pinot noir, but in two years’ time it will be very interesting to see what it is like. Katherine works so hard, I see her driving up and down our road to their vineyard (they live in the village, and Jeremy works in the city), some days I swear she’s going to drop in the dust. But she seems to have endless energy. So much, in fact, that she occasionally walks to work over the farms, about five kilometres up and down hills, then cycles home again, about seven kilometres. They deserve every success from their Big Sky Wines.

I guess it’s not every vineyard can boast their product has been used in a spiritual service, and Colin said he had a tear in his eye during the service. But as I look out the window at the ripe grapes just now, I realise that’s what the harvest festival is all about. But before I get too sentimental, I chuckle at what Colin said when I asked him what James, his late son after whom the wine is named, would have thought of its consecration on Sunday. “He probably would have asked me what the hell I was playing at,” was his reply.

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