September already, buds are swelling and bursting, winter is suddenly over with the first warm airs of spring and cold nights take on a whole new meaning. Two spring frosts already but we have great confidence that our frost fans will protect the early growth and our livelihood into the bargain. Thirsty for rain again but the soil moisture is up on this time last year after a few recent showers. The vines just take it on the chin, responding in their patient, methodical, botanical way. Seemingly satisfied with whatever comes their way, they are already creating the differences that make each vintage unique. What a fascinating way to make a living, depending on so much that is out of our control. The leafless and manicured vineyard, transparent and brown, will be green before the end of the month (with a bit of luck). Who knows what these awakening sentinels and Mother Nature have in store for us this year. Hotter perhaps, drier?, more extremes?, more storms?, surely the next decade will test the vine’s ability to cope with change.