My apologies for not writing a post in a while, it’s been a busy few months.
So as you all know around 2 months ago now we finished re-planting the vineyard here at Kenton Park Estate. Since then we’ve had the trellis posts and wires all put in and thanks to the unheard of weather in the past month or so we’ve had some incredible growth. Our tiny little vines are no more as they have grown to almost a meter in height, which is impressive when you consider that it's not unheard of for that sort of growth to take the best part of the year. It’s very surreal to see this life suddenly emerge in the vineyard, our dream of creating our own drinks brand and this unique vineyard for everyone to enjoy is starting to come alive.
I’ve been up to a few things in the past month or so hence the lack of post. I spent the best part of it working for another growing British company called ‘Fortis’ who specialize in outdoor performance clothing. This included a 2 week trip to the Scottish Highlands for the Royal Highland Show and the Scottish Game Fair. I have to say, I never really appreciated the beauty of the Highlands until now, It probably helped that we were blessed with 2 weeks of glorious sunshine but the Highlands are simply stunning, there’s no other way of putting it.
Highlights of the trip included a shooting trip and a visit to Loch Lomond. The shooting trip was at the Highland Shooting centre and if anyone is into their shooting I couldn’t recommend it enough. It is set in some of the best scenery I have ever seen and the opportunity to shoot over a lake cannot be passed up. The only thing that came close to surpassing it was our venture to Loch Lomond. After a long week at the Royal Highland Show, lunch overlooking the loch followed by a paddle board across to a nearby island was exactly what was needed.
One of the things I took away from this trip was the value of networking and meeting new people, some of them turn out to be pretty interesting. Whether it be a drunken Scott who was temporarily living on an island in the middle of Loch Lomond, enjoying the weather who came out of his way to come and talk to us and give us a beer after our paddle board to one of the biggest landowners in all of Scotland who wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty and getting stuck with helping us pack down the stand after the show, all because we’d really made an effort to get to know him over the past few years he’s been buying from the company. This man, slightly crazy but equally charming even bought us some shortbreads and just took time out of his day to sit and chat with us, telling us some of the most outrageous stories I’ve ever heard. It really struck me that, you hear all this negativity in the today’s society but actually, If you just take a minute to notice, there are some really quite astonishing people that make it such an incredible world to live in.
Anyway, that’s enough “reflection” for one post. What else have I been up too? Well, when I got back from my trip to Scotland I was pretty shocked to find that the vineyard looked less like a picturesque postcard scene from the Napa Valley but more like the wild and unchecked jungle growth that I had seen in Thailand. The next week, therefore, was spent strimming the entire vineyard to get rid of as many of the weeds as we could in preparation for an event with the Devon and Cornwall food Network which I’d somehow been roped into delivering a speech too. We worked it out that it was the equivalent of strimming from our place to the other side of Exeter once it had all been finished, which is a hell of a job! This is another one of those times where I question, why the hell we got ourselves into this business.
On the bright side, our event was a success and my speech wasn’t half bad either if I do say so myself.
In a strange turn of events, I’m currently sat writing this post in the Shard… There is a buzz of activity going on around me and it’s amazing what you pick up from listening to what’s going on around you. There are clearly some very powerful people in this room and It’s quite funny to think here I am just plodding away on my laptop. There are intense conversations going on about our country’s economic state, numbers being thrown left right and centre which mean absolutely nothing to me. I’m not sure this room has ever seen a Rugby Player/Vineyard Manager but I’m definitely standing out like a sore thumb… I am certainly not this country's next economic genius.
Being in the city however, is quite a nice change from always being in the countryside, it’s a complete contrast to my way of life, the thing I found most funny was how at lunchtime everyone leaves the building, goes to the nearest healthy new takeaway joint and brings back their little tubs of what they perceive to be ‘healthy’ food. There doesn’t seem to be a single mind operating here, more like a herd of sheep that just colonise the building each day, each doing the same thing over and over. I have to say though the views from the office up here on the 24th floor are spectacular, there are certainly worse places to work.
Of course, there has been a certain sporting event going on recently and the country seems to have absolutely lost its mind over it. I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard ‘It’s coming home…Football’s coming home!’
Whilst I’m not a big football fan it seems to have become infectious and even I can’t help but find myself watching the games and egging England on which is impressive in itself. If we actually win the World Cup I think the country will go into a Meltdown the following day, there will be Chaos. One thing's for sure is no one will be turning up to work that day. In other sporting news, Pre-season has started which means a few months of absolute hell, bucket loads of sweat and multiple nights of agony. That being said, it’s a great feeling to be back working with the boys, we’re really pushing hard this year and going for promotion which is going to take a lot of hard work, but we’ve been promised a weekends experience at Silverstone racing around the track if we do get promoted… not sure how wise an idea that is with a group of 50 rugby lads but hey its an incentive.
Anyway, now we’re about all caught up, so until next time,