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After the crush I returned to the vineyard with the stems and potpourri of matter discarded at the sorting table. They will be composted and returned to the soil. The sun was slipping down behind the ridge, sending golden and orange and pink rays into the gathering clouds. A chilly breeze tickled the leaves of the now fruitless vines and I was struck by how different it is already. Like when the kids have first climbed onto the bus and the house feels empty and changed with the missing of them, the vineyard drew similar feelings from me. The energy had fully changed from outward to inward, from the exuberance of summer to the contemplation of autumn, all in a matter of hours.

That lone kangaroo was back, having a feast amongst the grapes that had dropped, and I opened the gates to welcome in any and sundry that wanted to glean. I stood there in the fading light gazing at this lovely spot where I spend so much of my days. The Cabernet’s leaves were dark and green in contrast to the fading yellow of the Chardonnay. Seasonal rains will soon be knocking the leaves down and the vines will be heading into dormancy. Everything moves.

The last of the sun reflected on the tops of the Marris as I headed back to the winery. The sun had equinoxed northward a week ago. The moon, which crossed the equator today, would be rising, virtually full, within the hour to bathe these emptied vines with its silver. And those lovely crushed grapes were resting in an open fermenter, gathering themselves for their alchemical transition.

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