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What a pretty restless time it was after canceling the pick! It was Monday morning and I became the classic Monday morning quarterback. Cloud after cloud rolled in from the Indian Ocean carrying drizzle, followed by a low grey blanket of clouds that tucked the region in with a denseness in the air. Repeat, drizzle, denseness, drizzle, denseness. Repeat elation at having not picked, despair, elation, despair. Yoyoville.

I squish through the fields to the vines for the third time and notice that the grapes are still dry beneath the canopy despite the downpour. Silvereyes are massed in the trees. A huge male kangaroo lopes lazily away at my approach. He’s harvested a little snack for himself, I notice as I readjust the bird net. I don’t remember his signing up for an allocation, but I’m delighted to share with him. We kept the fruit on an extra day just for him.

In the night the wind picks up and the rain pounds so hard, my heart pounds along. I go out into it, connect with its intensity and wonder whether the harvest will proceed in the morning. Sleep is utterly banished by the howling winds and the thought that maybe I’ve misjudged it. Have I jeopardized the entire season’s work by cancelling the pick? I pore over the radar and a stew of weather reports and go back and forth about it all. It looks like we will have a brief window in the midmorning, but will it be dry enough?

Soon enough the light comes up and the clouds have lifted. I’m noticing patches of sky! I rush out barefoot into grass that has been dried by the wind. It’s looking like a particularly perfect autumn day. A kookaburra has a good laugh and so do I. The grapes needed another day. They needed to taste the first autumn rains and a little bit of chilliness so that that could be in the wine along with everything else. 

With a lifted heart I head down to the harvest.