Cabanon in town of Piolenc (c) Kristin Espinasse
Ever feel like this? Unhinged, patched together, or just plain in pieces? Let me tell you... we got to sleep late last night after our latest mise-en-bouteilles. Read about last night's bottling, in the story column, below. Photo © Jules Greer (thanks Mom!)

                                          Cinéma Vérité

Cinéma Vérité will go cinematic this weekend! Don't miss our first court-métrage* titled "Blond". The filmmaker (13-year-old Max) filmed his mom in this slice-of-life one-minute episode (hey, you gotta start somewhere!), which takes place here at our vineyard. Along with the clip you'll hear Max's narrative en français. For more information about Cinéma Vérité, click here. (court métrage = short (film), "one-reeler").

scotcher (skoh-tchay) verb

    : to tape something

French Idioms & Expressions:
rester scotché = to be flabbergasted, stunned, gobsmacked
scotcher sur son siège = to be glued to one's seat
scotcher devant la télé = to be glued to the t.v.

Book: Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Gourmet food: Sel Gris: Hand Harvested French Organic Sea Salt
Movie: Watch French classics: Jean De Florette / Manon of the Spring
Beauty: skin care => Caudalie French *grapevine* therapy

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

By 8:30 p.m. last night, many thanks to friends, we finished our latest mise-en-bouteilles in spite of the hiccups and the ad libs, and thanks to the sticky system invented along the way...

It all began with a missing truck: the rented camion d'embouteillage (a truck/machine-on-wheels that spits out bottles faster than a sergeant's drill). 

That is when I learned that just because you rent something in France doesn't mean it'll show up when and where you need it. Thank goodness for the flexibility of friends... Margaret and Peter arrived bright and early from the town of Cairanne... only to be sent home (no truck = no travail). They kindly offered to return in the afternoon and when they did we had to send them home again!

When the truck finally did appear, we realized it was missing much of the bottling gear! So, illico presto,* we began a series of slapped-together solutions including a system for taping the boxes shut.

Margaret (aka La Scotcheuse) was our system and it was her job to not get caught in all that sticky tape as she unfolded and constructed the boxes. Her husband, Peter, was at the end of the bottling line, sealing those boxes and sending them off after I filled them with wine.

Filling the boxes with wine was another matter entirely. It involved reaching up to the conveyer belt and plucking up the bottles. Imagine, for a minute, the activity of picking apples... only these were of the heavy, breakable, and fast-moving variety! It seemed ludicrous to have to reach up to grab the bottles, but given the missing equipment... this was the only way. 

As I twisted and reached to collect the full bottles, turning again to place them in their cases just behind me, I couldn't help but glare at the young man who came with the truck, one of the hired helpers. A cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, he puffed and puffed while putting the bottles into the boxes. The heavy trail of smoke wafted, en masse, into the lungs of the man at the end of the line: my friend Peter!

"Eh oh! Attention à la fumée!" I reminded him.  

And that is when I almost wished I'd scotched my own mouth shut.... For the young man narrowed his eyes, and abruptly left the production line... leaving me with one more "apple tree" to pick and its ever-moving, fast dropping fruit.

*     *     *

*French Vocabularyillico presto = right away

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for tchatching with us in the comments box!

PS: Our Domaine Rouge-Bleu Rosé, in spite of all the production line snares, was bottled with joy, laughter, and a great amount of care. Find out where to buy our wines.

PPS: If that's not enough to get you to buy a bottle... well, then, check out our dashing French wine maker, just below.

Dashing French Winemaker. (photo © Annabelle Storfer) 

Did you miss yesterday's word (crapaud)? See it here.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety