One of my memories of college life at university after the war was the emergence of the new growth each spring on the oak tree, situated within sight of studies in three of the residential halls. This was a reminder that the year was racing to a close and that examinations would be very soon upon us, and that getting the head down on the grindstone in earnest was the major priority.

I still get that reminder here at Mount Mary that when buds burst it is the sign to start composing this annual epistle.

It is then that I think about our particular preoccupations and those of the wine industry in general that may be newsworthy and not invoke the most terrible boredom for our readers.