September is the traditional month for gathering in the grape harvest in the Northern hemisphere, ready to begin the long and skilful process of making WINE!
I was reading an article recently that said that more and more English wine is being commercially produced, and that it is of good quality, winning prizes in international wine-tastings; this year’s hot, dry summer was perfect for English (& Welsh!) wines
We know that wine has been produced along the Nene Valley since Roman times – the inspiration for the names of Vine Hill Drive, Vine Hill Close and The Old Vineyard!
Whilst on holiday in South West France my Beloved and I were chuffed to find a selection of local wines called JOY, so - having sampled a bottle (or two) of the wine and liking it - we set off to find its source - the Domaine de Joy.
Finally after a car journey through the countryside, with thousands of vines covering the hills, we found it, a family owned and run vineyard with a shop offering samples of the various wines that they produce – great.
Having bought a few bottles of one or two of the more modestly priced wines we started back, first spending a few minutes taking photos to remind us of our visit.
We stood in the sunshine looking out over acres of vines, some allowed to grow tall, some pruned to keep them short, according to their variety, and all carefully tended and nurtured.
I had picked up a leaflet from the shop describing each of the wines produced by the Domaine de Joy, and though some of the grape varieties I had never heard of, it was clear that most of their wines – not all - were a mixture of two or even three types, some best drunk young and some improving with age. 
And just because my mind runs that way I thought of Jesus’ saying “I am the vine, you are the branches”, and of our congregations here at home.
We are a mixture, some needed for sweetness, some to add a certain spice, some to add those lovely mellow tones, some to provide a cool crispness, and some to give a bit of fizz.
All have their place in producing Christian Communities of fine vintage.
Thus, if you are a Merlot, a Sauvignon or a Colombard you are vital to the blend!
And we must all submit to occasional pruning and being tied in closer to the vine by the vine-grower, for that will help and encourage us to produce more and better fruit.
Also, we might consider the fact that each wine has its own place in our gastronomy, accompanying, enhancing or enriching different foods, so it just wouldn’t do if every wine was the same – nor would it do if every person was the same, we are all who we are and how we are to serve a different purpose and each one of us is to be savoured and appreciated for our unique character.
We need to trust the winemaker to know our individual gifts and the mixes that will work successfully to achieve the very best blend to meet the requirements of the moment and to suit His desired end.

  ​​Joy Yorke