It is June and the vineyard floor is strewn with wild flowers, clover, dandelions, rabbit ears. The smell as I bend down to inspect the flowers that are forming on the tiny green buds, is that of early summer; green, certainly, with aromas of blossom, a touch of honey, a touch of herbal bitterness and an abiding freshness. The freshness comes from the newly rich grasses but there is something more sinister in the air. Above my head, the storm clouds are gathering; there is a far distant rattling and rolling of thunder and a fresh, metallic smell that reminds me of wet pavements in London, a certain precursor of rain.
We have got through the winter and spring without incidents of frost or hail and now we face the next hurdle. Will the tiny flower clusters that are forming on the tips of the fragile shoots survive? If they are knocked off their pedestal by a rainstorm, a grape will no longer be formed. We fear for those flowers that will not be fertilized and we fear for the dusting of pollen that we pick up from the ground, like ashes passing through our fingers.