31 - Rosemary Vineyard
Today it was too lovely to go shopping. The sun was so bright and the air so crisp that my feet just took me straight past the shops at the top of the High Street and beyond, following the double yellow lines as straight as they went until I reached the very edges of town where a street sign, Rosemary Lane, invited me irresistibly down a gravelly path, which turned into a leafy autumnal tunnel which in turn gave way to a long avenue of elegant poplars. I had reached the rolling vineyards of Ryde and the estate itself just happens to be my namesake.
I’d been here almost exactly a year ago, and had sat and painted with my oil pastels among the vines, and I decided to do the same again today. The plants on the left-hand side of the vineyard had not yet been tidied up after the harvest and the strong autumn winds of past days had beaten down the vines which trailed garlands of glaucous yellow leaves on red stalks across the grass. After a while drinking in the lush views of fields and glimpses of clear blue skies through the wonderful contorted shapes created by the vine stems, I wandered between the rows of vines and followed the vineyard trail, learning about the properties of Phoenix and Triomphe varieties, among the others grown on this 30-acre site.
I ambled into the shop to inquire whether it was too early in the morning for a tasting. As predicted, I was assured it was never too early, so I sampled Rosemary Vineyard’s blackberry and plum 2020 vintages and quickly succumbed to the six for five offer – not too long until Christmas after all. Stashing six bottles of wine into my rucksack and a carrier bag between the sketchbooks and pastels, I jingled my way happily down the track, and through the muddy lanes back home, the sounds of my feet squelching along, echoing the sounds of feet treading the grapes as they did in times gone by.
Nothing stays the same. The vineyard itself is moving on, and some of the vines have already been re-established at their new home alongside the island’s gin distillery between Ryde and Seaview, but that is another story.