A Vineyard Diary Part 14

Late December

Vineyards and Coronavirus

The story so far: No sooner do we exit a month of lockdown than over half the country is cast back there and we are each consigned to our Christmas bubble…


It’s a curious word.

We share it with the Swedish ‘bubbla’, the Danish and Norwegian ‘boble’ and the Dutch ‘bubbel’.

It first entered Middle English as a ‘burble’, but eventually popped up – as burbles tend to do – in modern English as a ‘bubble’ (in ‘As You Like It’).

Cast as an image of hollowness, and then later of ephemerality and later still of excess (viz the ‘South Sea Bubble’), the hapless bubble has nevertheless also had its admirers along the way.

Remember Keats’ intoxicating ‘beaded bubbles winking at the brim’? Or Shelley’s ‘bubbles on a river sparkling, bursting, borne away’?

Each an image of joy and fragility.

And in Cockney, a ‘bubble’ means a ‘laugh’ (rhyming, as it does, with ‘bubble bath’).

Today the bubble’s imagery has once again – dare we even say it – mutated, and we now all find ourselves, irritatingly, stuck in one.

To a greater or lesser extent we probably always have been (stuck in one), but this is surely the first time we have been ordered there by decree?

Let us hope such grotesque legal overreach is itself a mere bubble – here today, gone tomorrow – to be pricked by the immunising needle of modern science.

Of course we are, at Coates & Seely, purveyors of bubbles ourselves, and over the years have developed our own observations on the subject.

Bubbles, we have observed, are best consumed.

Not chased, or pricked, or invested in, still less retreated into.

They should be consumed: ideally, in extremely generous quantities of tiny, eddying spirals that tease the palate with a natural and spontaneous thrill.

Consumption should be frequent, too, so that the bubbles’ natural evanescence is counter-balanced with regular replenishment.

This is very good for the spirit  (and for Coates & Seely sales).

Our forbears discovered this long ago and we have happily maintained their tradition.

We drink, in this country, twice as much Champagne as our American cousins, with only one quarter of the population. That is eight times more Champagne than the average American.

It makes you proud to be British.

So this Christmas, as we retreat into our bubbles – lamenting, as well we might, our loss of traditional freedoms – we should know that not all our national traditions have died.

We should treat ourselves to some bubbles. 

They will raise the spirit.

Bubbles within Bubbles. There are worse ways, after all, to spend a pandemic…

Christmas Champagne


English Sparkling Wine Christmas Hamper