Vine Conversations

A tale from 

The Winefullness Armchairs

There's an experimental vineyard somewhere in Europe where strange things happen when our backs are turned. 

 ‘We all have a responsibility,’ the old Cabernet vine told the newcomer.

 He looked at the young Cinsault vine who seemed content to preen and show itself off rather than listening to advice from a vine that had been resident in the experimental vineyard since the eighties and had seen it all before.

 ‘Are you listening?’ Cabernet said.

 ‘What?’ Cinsault replied, but it was obvious he was paying scant attention to the sage old vine. 

 Cabernet continued, ‘I’m trying to help you fit in. You've only been here a few months. There are certain codes of behaviour that will help. For instance, don’t spend all your time flirting with the Albarino vines. They might appear to love it, but they'll turn on you just as quickly. You’re here to settle in, do your best, work with whatever the owners of the vineyard are trying to produce, and that usually means producing valuable…’

 ‘Okay, okay, but there’s got to be time for play, and after all I can see the way they admire my beautiful foliage, my ripening potential and know that they're dying to see my first bursting crop of fine grapes!’

 At this, the Albarino vines gave a flirtatious laugh in the direction of Cabernet and Cinsault. Cabernet made a groaning sound on the breeze and paid them no heed, while Cinsault used the slight rustle of wind to lean slightly in the direction of the three Albarino plants.  Cabernet grew frustrated.

 ‘I’m trying to help you find you way. If I’d have had somebody giving me advice when I came, I might not have wasted the first few seasons being fruitless. Mind you it was the eighties and the owners believed were more interested in producing oaky Chardonnay than anything else. That's what happens when you go all West Coast!’

 Cinsault straightened up and replied sniffily.

 ‘That’s you, and the past! Frankly, it all sounds as though it was probably about three hundred years ago. There’s a new kid in the patch and I’m here to be admired and be the best, and those Albarino ladies are about to become part of my fan club.’

 As if to emphasize the point he waved about his slight foliage and was sure that he could hear the Albarino vines excitedly drawing in breath. This might be his first year, but he was certainly learning how to impress the vinelets!

 There was the sound of footsteps trudging along between the rows of vines, and soon a couple of the protectors of this experimental vineyard were stood by Cabernet. With a few swift movements, one or two of the leaves that had died and were no longer needed had been removed and his growing potential was given a lift. This was followed by a moment when one of the women checked the stance of the old vine while purring her approval.

 Cinsault ignored all this and sent the Albarino ladies further flowing movements from his leafy stalks as if he was trying to point out how much potential he too held, but they didn't respond, knowing better in case it was picked up by one of the humans. They had a nice life here and didn’t want to ruin it.

 A few more moments were taken with Cabernet so that he would continue to produce the best fruit and live a healthy life and then the human turned to Cinsault and studied the vine carefully.

 In moments all his foliage had been stripped away, his stalks and branches has been pruned back and a small plastic tube had been placed over his base. The women then checked on a potential potassium deficiency, clipped more of the Cinsault vine before moving off to elsewhere in the experimental vineyard.

 When they were sure that the human couldn’t here them, every vine turned and looked at what they'd done to Cinsault. They couldn't;'t help themselves but soon they were all laughing at the puny, feeble, toddler of a new vine who now looked naked and insignificant.  Cinsault said nothing and tried hard to shrink inside the protective tube while hoping he could quickly get back to his best and grow up big and strong. 

 He tried to attract the attention of Cabernet, but the older vine was busy basking in the warm sunshine, and the attention of the Albarino ladies. He’d tried to offer advice, but a young vine in its first flush of growth never seems to learn. He just hoped that Cinsault was only here to grow grapes and not to test the various pesticides that had killed off a lot of young vines in previous years!