The other day I inspected the vine and was delighted to see tiny bunches of what look like pink-green seeds: the beginnings of this year's crop, already taking shape and colour. They were no smaller than the ones I had observed in the vineyards above Joigny - so even though we're generally chillier, Oxford's embryonic grapes are currently on a par with those of Burgundy.
This is a vine which has never been tended, except by nature, never pruned or given fertiliser or extra water during dry times. It is a vine just doing what comes naturally - producing grapes - to the best of its unaided ability. And whilst careful vine-dressing would undoubtedly improve its health and yield, this little vine, untrammelled and untended, is a reminder that ultimately it is God, the loving vine-dresser of Isaiah 5 and John 15, who tends and cares for everything, and brings all to fruition as a sheer gift, generous and completely unexpected.