My inner alarm wakes me far in advance of the clock. The sea is ringing. A vixen coughs so close at hand, she could be out in the backyard. I emerge into a fully moonlit night, Jupiter riding tandem. Dew lies heavily on the grass, its presence a miracle. Until two days ago, the heat had been unbearable. Day after day loading the earth with an intensity of scorchitude. Breezes stuck so far back in Wind’s throat that even the earth’s evening exhalations were sweltering. In the morning following, it was as if Wind had cleared its throat with a cough of hot cloud, spray-painting smoky colors of morning.
But all that was altered with the cloudburst. Like an unpredictable, unexpected blast of indispensible freshness that transformed everything, the rain brought vital cool and renewal. And shortly we will be picking perfectly ripe fruit that has cooled down naturally, that has been washed in lightning charged rain, that carries both the vibration of intense hot summer and the shift into the cool autumn change. These grapes speak of relentless dry heat combined with life giving moisture, of old and new commingled and augmented by one another. The taste is amazing. This wine is going to be significant.
The crew alight, strap on headlamps, and we bend to the nets. We are covered in dew. Wet t-shirt covered. Drippingly soaked, deliciously cool, shiveringly exhilarated in the work. All through the blue light we carefully roll the nets, pausing to clear snags, working soundlessly in cheerful unison. The nets drip audibly, suspended at the end of the rows, the dew seeping down to the earth in little rivers of song. It mixes with the ever-present sound of the sea. Morning birds are greeting us. A flock of white tailed black cockatoos weave a pattern in the morning sky.
I cut the first bunch and give my thanks. And then the pickers are here and the game is on.