The girls did not go to school today. Instead of class room lessons we thought it better for them to learn in a more experiential manner.

Our hosts are wine makers, among other things, and today was the day they were harvesting the grapes. To us, still green to rural ways, this age-old ritual seemed far too romantic to forfeit in favour of desks and multiplication tables.

While the school administrations here in Italy are a lot more relaxed about absences than in England, we still felt compelled to lie to the teachers and called in sick, lest we be accused of depriving our children of a proper education by forcing them to toil the fields.

A real problem for previous generations.

But for generation A, children of the noughties, the opportunity to interact with terra firma has now become a privilege. While virtual worlds expand and evolve, planet earth appears to recede.

The opportunity for my children to partake in an activity such as wine making, will inevitably become more and more elusive. And yet it is the stuff that civilisations were built on. Where would the Greek philosophers have been without Dionysus?

Aeons and many moons ago our ancestors too would be picking grapes just as we did today.

Gathering together and strengthen community bonds. The process as much social as it is lucrative.

And let’s face it, vines are beautiful. Pleasing to the eyes with their tangled creepers like curly cues. Broad leaves and fantastic ripe fruit hanging heavy and gorgeous, Almost blue against the contrasting yellow of the parched fields. The whole experience is rather sensual and yet at the same time bizarrely mundane.

Tonight the grapes have been juiced (by machine, alas, and not between my toes) and are filling vats as we sleep. The wine bottles shall be filled and sealed with corks one day and shall not to be opened again till a year from now. 4 seasons to pass. Each bottle holds within in it the story of autumn winter spring and summer. A cycle, a wheel, a spin… A twirl.