Emplette: Only in France Can Children Buy Wine!


Chariot of fire French vines in the Vaucluse (and a sneak peek at the farm).

LearninyourcarLearn French in your car : a simple, direct approach to language learning.

un compromis (kom-pro-mee) noun, masculine
  1. compromise  2. sales agreement (compromis de vente)

Un compromis fait un bon parapluie, mais un mauvais toit. Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a bad roof. --Robert Lowell
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On Thursday, November 2nd, Jean-Marc and I signed a compromis* for 8.5 hectares* of vines near Avignon. Signed! I should say we signed, and signed, and signed. In all, we scribbled our signatures and printed our initials across twenty-four pages of French legalese.

Though our future digs are thirty minutes away from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the "co-promising" took place at Uncle Jean-Claude's cellar, with two dozen old oak barrels standing witness. Aunt Marie-Françoise and cousin Audrey would have been present for the signing, but they were busy babysitting Max, Jackie, and Braise, who had made the two-and-a-half hour journey north with us to partager* this memorable day.

Babysitting was a good idea. We had already pushed our luck back at the village of Ste. Cécile les Vignes, when our family of five (with Braise in the lead) bounded into the town hall for a chance meeting with Monsieur le Maire,* who graciously received us in his elegant office and promised to help in any way he could. "Ne vous gênez pas." Don't hesitate if you need anything, he insisted.
"We are happy to welcome another wine-farming family to our town."

I considered our future mayor's offer.... Come to think of it, Jean-Marc could use a hand in pruning some 30,000 newly-acquired vines. I would need assistance cleaning out the chicken coop and finding homes for over a dozen freeloading cats that have taken up residence in the old rabbit hutch. The kids could always use help with their French manners (starting with keeping their grimy elbows off the mayor's desk) and, as for our dog, Braise, she could use a walk around the block after concentrating all her efforts on keeping the mayor's oriental rug dry.

I might have taken up Monsieur le Maire on his offer, but then we won't be moving to Ste. Cecile for another five or six months, at which point we'll need all the helping hands we can get.

References: un compromis (de vente) = sales agreement; 8.5 hectares = about 21 acres; partager = to share; Monsieur le Maire = Mr. Mayor

In Magazines:
WinemakerWineMaker magazine--for people who want to make their own wine at home. It is edited for both beginners and experts with simple, how-to tips using kits and concentrates to more advanced articles focusing on fresh fruit.

Hear French:
Listen to Jean-Marc read today's French quote:
Un compromis fait un bon parapluie, mais un mauvais toit.

(Play it twice, as the clip skips... ) Download compromis2.wav

                                                     In Books and Gifts:
VineyardtalesVineyard Tales: Reflections on Wine

VineyardwinecharmVineyard Wine Charms : A great hostess gift or gift for wine enthusiasts

FrenchroostertinFrench Rooster Tin Floral Bucket

Eiffeltowerlamp_1Paris Nights Eiffel Tower Tea Light Lamp

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety