As middle-aged parents with two young children, my wife and I have boundless energy and too much spare time. So recently it seemed only natural to add to our collection of ducks, quails and chickens with the purchase of four Wiltshire sheep, three of whom are hopefully in lamb. I know from bitter experience that if you have an only rudimentary grasp of animal husbandry (as we do) that unless it will eat from your hand you must not buy it. Four fairly tame animals arrived a week or so ago. Sadly, this was before we had bought and erected the fence around our house. Still they are well enclosed now and no doubt the shrubs will recover. My wife tells me that science has shown that early contact with domestic animals and pets strengthens the immune systems of children; although stress in life can also weaken it.
Winter is a time to bottle last year’s white wines, travel to overseas markets and also prune our vines. Our organic certified wines, the 2016’s, are being released this winter. The first of the line will be The Pruner’s Reward 2016 – a full ripe Sauvignon Blanc – partly barrel fermented for added texture. Our Pinot Noir Rose 2016 will come out next – dry and rounded, with good persistence. Last of all we will release the 2015 Bellbird Spring Pinot Noirs, in late-winter early spring. I will travel to Canada, the U.K. and Hong Kong this year. Maintaining relationships and spreading the good word is vital to our family business. So raise a glass of Bellbird Spring to me this July as I sleep fitfully on long haul flights in economy class.