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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


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Quand je l'ai appelé, la liaison était mauvaise.

Didn't quite get this example sentence - and I think you forgot to translate it for us.

When I called it, the liaison was bad?

Bill in St. Paul

Great description of the grape picking process, Jacqui! It reminds me of my meager half day of grape picking. When we picked the grapes they were trellised and even then there were bunches that were hard to find. I can't imagine what picking goblet-trained vines must be like, crawling around trying to find the hidden bunches that "Mother Nature has so successfully hidden from the marauding birds"!

Those puppies are getting cuter by the day. You're tempting me to get another Golden, but I'm not sure Julius, the cat, would allow it.


Wonderful narration of a day in the vines Jacqui. I could feel the sun on my face and the vines beneath my fingers. Merci Beaucoup et Santé!

Eileen deCamp

Thanks Jacqui! It sounds like so much fun but also lots of work! I'm glad your nails didn't take too much of a beating!


I'm curious. How long does the grape picking season go on for? Are all the grapes ripe at the same time or do you have to decide which ones to pick?


Beautiful image, Jacqui. I want to know more about Jacqui. Does she come to every year for the grape harvest? Where is she from and how did come to start doing this?


To Divya, the grapes ripen at different times according to the variety of grape and weather conditions. The harvest will go on until ALL the grapes are harvested and are put to bed in the fermentation tanks.

To Donna, Thanks very much for the applause! I live in Sonoma County "Wine Country" and was reminded by all that I spoke with that I could harvest grapes nearer to home, my response was ahh, but it's not Provence! This is my first year of harvest and my 7th visit to La Belle France and Provence. I got the idea from Kristi's blog. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of nice people.





thank you for the lovely post. I too am from Sonoma County and enjoy Kristin's blog. I enjoyed your perspective on the crush in Provence. I am glad at least one of us could attend!


Jacqui . . Such a nice story. I felt I was right there, at your side . . (and I was, in spirit). From San Diego, I say good going and thank you.


For someone to describe the farm and the ramassage so well, I thought it had to be someone who was familiar with vineyards, and you confirmed it, Sonoma Valley, CA! I am reminded of the movie about CA wines and how it became accepted, something called corked, or bottled, cannot remember the name at this point.

Thank you Jacqui for sharing your experience, very beautifully described, and I see those pups have many many fans. They are going to miss being held by pairs and pairs of lovely hands.


Thank you Kristin! The picture of the grapes on the vine is DIVINE! This should have been the fruit that misled Eve not apples, don't you think?


Jules Greer

Hi Jacqui,

Thank you for your lovely story of a day in the vines. I love the way you captured the first rays of dawn over the vineyard, the sounds of the morning song of the birds roosting in the trees along the creek - you brought back the true feeling of life at Rouge-Bleu during the harvest. The bonding of souls during the harvest is a gift that can only be known by experience...I always remember the feelings Kristi and I would have when we were driving along the roads of France after our harvest and we would notice harvesters out in fields, we would look across at each other with knowing in our eyes and hearts - knowing that those poor people out in the fields were not poor at all, but in the mist of a joyful experience grounded in the soul of the earth.



Lee Isbell

Very nice, Jacqui. I'm afraid I'm past the peak for grape picking but I love hearing about it. Age and creaky joints aside, if cobwebs and their makers are as prevalent in the grape rows as I found in the lavendar rows, I'm afraid that would deter me more than aches and pains.

Guessing on the translation: "When I call him, the connection is bad."


Jules, thanks very much for your response and comments about my story. It's hard sometimes to put into words what you see before you.
I also have a much better understanding and sympathy too, for the hard work that goes into harvest in my area.

To Lee, the cobweb makers are very much present in the grapes as are praying mantis and grasshoppers. Don't like the spiders much either!Some are kind of scary looking but Jean-Claude will pick them up! (shiverrrr!)


Drew: Lee just wrote in with a correct translation (thanks, Lee!)

Mom: loved reading your message to Jacqui. So glad you were home today to receive my call earlier. Hope you make some vacation sales from your new home office! (Why not post John's link here? Who knows, maybe someone will be interested in a golf vacation in Mexico! :-) :-) HINT HINT HINT....

Genie: re how to get involved in the grape picking... as a volunteer harvester. First of all we need to screen you (i.e.: are you somebody who enjoys boot camp? Second... well, if you can get through boot camp and endure ten days straight of picking... then, as the famous Army recruiting poster reads: WE WANT YOU! (Just email me and I'll send you the specifics!)

Denise Lavoie

Those secateurs look familiar!


Hello to Denise, co-picker of grapes!


Bon courage Jaqui. C'est tres difficile de cueillir les raisins. J'habite dans le VAR. Je vois le vendange, parce que j'habite pres d'un viticulteur, les vendageurs se sont bien amuses. Beaucoup de bruit et des rires.
A l'anne prochaine.

Christina ( une anglaise qui habite dans le Var)


So Jacquie, are you ready to head back to Sonoma to start their harvest???? We seem to be a bit later here in the next few weeks it should start. It has been too long since I have been to Provence....5 years. But now that I am retired there is no excuse. At least I do live in one of the nicest places in the states....Carmel, so I should not complain about that, but ah, my soul is so French.
I recently found out that my grandfather is French Basque, so I guess my soul truly is at least 25% French.

Joan Myers

Thank you, Jacqui, for a wonderful story! Hope that your injury heals soon, so that you can come back to Cali to clip, snip and harvest here!



Quand je l'ai appelé, la liaison était mauvaise. Past tenses (passé composé and imparfait)
When I called him, the connection was bad. Of course liaison does have other meanings! Here are some:an affair,link,a slur in music,thickening in cooking, bond in chemistry, carrying over a consonant sound before a vowel(happens a lot in French!)
I'm enjoying reading about the grape harvest. Do those who work on the ground wear knee pads, like for gardening?

Marianne Rankin

Jacqui, thanks for the description of your grape-picking day. We need to appreciate the labor that that entails. Maybe in years to come I will be able to help with the harvest. Now I will know what to expect. We appreciate your efforts to help produce Rouge-Bleu.

The first time I met the word "liaison," it was in a French textbook explaining how sounds are carried over from the end of one word to the beginning of the next (vowel sound). Learning correct liaison is one of the challenges in mastering French.

Another "connection" meaning is diplomatic, such as ties between two or more countries.

I'm pleased to pick up still other meanings, as well.


Hi Jacqui! It was a pleasure to read your beautiful story. You offered us an inspired peek at the joys and toils of harvest week. Thank you! I wish you a happy homecoming!

Jules: Your comments are most inspiring and beautiful as well.

Blessings all!

elizabeth foree

Dear Kristin,
I just spent 3 weeks near La Cadiere (Bandol) and the vendage was in full swing at the Chateau we have been staying at for 10 years each Sept. I love to cook there so fixed your pizza with mustard on brise pastry. It was a big hit with everyone. So now I have a need for a dessert recipe for the french squash (courge) or persimmon (kaki) that I could see everywhere. Would like to use the brise pastry that I found at Casino. Thanks for your imput. Betsy

Barbara Hall

I loved reading your story Jacqui. I too live in Sonoma County (in the town of Sonoma) and like you, am a Francophile (currently taking lessons at the Alliance Française in San Francisco.) Bon courage with the recovery of your knee.

Jacqui McCargar

Hi Barbara! Thanks for the kudos and the well wishes. Do you happen to go to the Santa Rosa Chapter Alliance Francaise get togethers in Santa Rosa at Sassafras on the first Friday evening of each month?? Maybe I'll see you there! I live in Santa Rosa.

Martin Rys

We just did a harvest in Malibu, California.
So beautiful to hear your experience.


Wonderful story of your experience Jacqui - thank you!

Jules: I loved reading your words, as always!

Kristin: I'd like to hear a few stories about the messages I spy written on the fermentation tanks. Have the volunteers left messages there? When did the tradition begin?


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