SPECIAL NOTE:  There may be a few SPOILERS and there is a bit of a deviation in Downton Abbey's time- and storylines in the following piece.  Heads up.
[Lady Edith and Lady Mary stand at the sideboard in the breakfast room picking at fruit.]

LADY EDITH
Did you hear?  When Anna told me, I thought she must have dreamt it.

LADY MARY
Do you know anyone whose tried it?

[Robert enters the room and sits at the table where his morning paper waits.]

ROBERT, EARL OF GRANTHAM
What's that?

LADY MARY
Nothing, father.  Good morning.

[Thomas enters the room carrying a silver tray with the post.]

THOMAS
My lady.

[Thomas nods to Lady Mary.]

[Robert opens the newspaper to see a full page ad of a a bottle of Downton Abbey wine.  He gasps.  Lady Edith reads over his shoulder while Lady Mary opens a telegram.  She raises an eyebrow, stunned by the telegram's content.]

LADY MARY
So.  It's true.  How is this possible?

ROBERT, EARL OF GRANTHAM
Who gave the authority to market wine with Downton's name on it? 

[Violet, sitting unnoticed at the far end of the table, raises a hand and wiggles her fingers.]

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
My dear, I didn't come here to fight. Lord Grantham, you wanted to protect the estate, your silly girls can't get it together, so I started making the wine.

[Cora enters the room.  She's giggling and wavering while she walks.]

CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
Well, I think wine is the better way to go anyway.  I mean, Mary is ruined, Shybil's dead, and it's not as if blithering Edith has any decent prospects.  If we're going to save Downton and my money, we're going to have to take advantage of all of this property and the farmers.  Robert, we have got to grow grapesh and make wine.

[Cora hiccups.]

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
That's right.  If it weren't for the Titanic, and if Patrick had married Mary, and had your grandson been hailed as master, honour would have been satisfied. Now we must make wine.

ROBERT, EARL OF GRANTHAM
This is preposterous!  Wasn't anyone going to consult with me?  Don't I have any say?

CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
There is no way I'll let just any nincompoop pocket my money, along with the rest of the shwag.  Violet is right.  We musht make wine.

[Cora giggles to herself while she tries not to slip off her chair to the floor.]

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
The problem is, if we don't sell wine, it would be the ruin of everything you've given your life to, Robert.

CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
And he knows thish.

[Cora nods.]

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
Yes, he does.

CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
I know.  Let's raise a glass.  It has to be after eleven o'clock somewhere.

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
Yes, let's.  You wouldn't smash the bloody entail in its entirety, Robert, so you must have the first glass.

[Cora looks a little surprised.  She's not only finished the first glass, she's drunk an entire bloody bottle.]

ROBERT
But --

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
No, Robert.  I didn't run Downton for thirty years to see it go lock, stock, and barrel.  We must make money.  Wine is the answer.

CORA, COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
Are we to be friends, then, Vivi?

[She smiles at Violet.]

VIOLET, DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM
We are allies, my dear, which can be a good deal more effective.  Now, drink up!

[Violet raises a glass of Downton Abbey Claret.]
Seriously, people.  For tasting notes and other information, check out the details HERE.

To Downton (and a Happy New Year!),

Heather


 


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