calanque & bilingual post, by Jean-Marc



Only 5 years ago we were renovating a 350-year-old farmhouse and beginning to care for a vineyard in Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes. Then, last August 30th we moved... only to begin again! Our new home is already cozy—no major work to be done. Jean-Marc will begin planting his dream vines in 2013. Read on, in a letter from Ex Chief Grape.  (Photo taken in 2007, after realizing his first mis-en-bouteille, story here.) 

 la raison (ray-zon)

    : reason (there many senses of the word, see examples below)

la raison d'être = literally "reason for being"
avoir ses raisons = to have one's reasons
pour une raison ou pour une autre = for one reason or another
perdre la raison = to lose one's mind
raisonné(e) (adj) = wise
raisonner = to reason with
avoir raison = to be right 
pour des raisons médicales ou religieuses = medical or religious reasons
raison de plus! = just one more reason! (to do/not do something)

To add a term or expression to this list, click here and share it with us here in the comments box. Thanks! 

 * A Letter From Ex Chief Grape *

Note, the following letter, in French and in English, has been speedily translated. Feel free to offer corrections, here in the comments box. Thanks so much! P.S. photo captions are by Kristin.

Chers amis,
Dear friends, 

Un mois après avoir déménagé dans la région de Bandol, je voudrais vous donner les raisons qui nous ont poussé à changer notre merveilleux quotidien de Sainte Cécile les Vignes.
One month after moving to the Bandol area, I would like to give you the reasons that pushed us to change our marvelous Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes daily life.
Il faut que vous sachiez que mon premier choix d'installation viticole a toujours été d'être dans cette région de Bandol. En 1999 et en 2004 j'ai essayé d'acquérir des vignes, sans succès... Le choix de s'installer en 2006 à Sainte Cécile les Vignes pour créer le Domaine Rouge-Bleu n'a pas été un choix par dépit mais un vrai choix de cœur.
What you should know is that my first choice for a vineyard set-up has always been to be in this region of Bandol.  In 1999 and 2004 I tried to aquire some vines, without success.... The choice to settle, in 2006, in Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes, to create Domaine Rouge-Bleu, was not due to a lack of a better choice,  but to a "following of the heart".

Néanmoins je n'ai jamais perdu à l'esprit mon choix originel. Amoureux de toujours des vins de Bandol et du Mourvèdre, je suis également un homme qui aime profondément la Mer et cela explique en très grande partie mon choix.

However, my heart never forgot my original choice. Having always been in love with Bandol wines, and Mourvèdre , I am equally a man who loves the sea and this explains the greater part of my choice [for moving].
Capture plein écran 03102012 103815
Whoever forgot their orange shorts at our place.. is now having an "aha" moment! --Kristin
En dehors de ces raisons de fonds, je dois avouer que j'avais besoin de souffler un peu après 6 intenses années à gérer entièrement (et tout seul) 9 Ha de vignes tout en vendant, depuis notre tout premier millésime, la totalité de notre production en bouteilles
Apart from these basic reasons, I must admit that I've needed to take a breather after 6 intensive years running a 9 hectare vineyard entirely on my own, all the while selling, since our first vintage, the entire production in bottles.
Vendange 2007
Jean-Marc, at his own first harvest. He looks like he's gone through the wine press, and he may have felt that way, too! I've never seen him work so hard.

Le fait d'avoir trouvé de merveilleux partenaires (Caroline et Thomas) qui vont continuer à développer notre "bébé" est fantastique. Aujourd'hui, ce n'est plus une seule personne mais trois forces vives qui s'occupent de notre vignoble, où Kristi et moi avons gardé une participation financière et ou j'espère bien rester le plus actif possible, notamment dans la distribution à l'export
The fact that two wonderful partners (Caroline and Thomas), who will continue to devolop our "baby", have been found is fantastic. Today, it is no longer one person alone, but three live forces who take care of our vineyard, where Kristi and I have kept a small part, financially, and where I hope to stay as active as possible, notably in wine distribution and export.
Capture plein écran 03102012 105632
Thomas, Caroline, and Jean-Marc. I just swiped this photo from Caroline and Thomas's FB page... Look up "Domaine Rouge-Bleu on Facebook or click on "three live forces" in the paragraph above. --Kristin

Enfin et accessoirement, même si notre vue fantastique sur les Dentelles de Montmirail et le Mont Ventoux étaient une vrai source de bonheur visuel, le climat et le Mistral ont participé, à moindre mesure, à mon désir de changement.
Finally, and as a side note, even if our fantastic view of the Dentelles de Montmirail and le Mont Ventoux was a true source of visual happiness, the climate and the Mistral wind participated, just a little, toward my desire for a change.
Mmanm's photo's 151

Les vendanges 2012 sont maintenant finies à Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Toute l'équipe de vendangeurs dont j'ai eu l'honneur de faire partie a fait un travail fantastique.  Les vins que Caroline élabore sont dans le même esprit que ceux que nous avons fait dans le passé. Nous vous remercions pour votre soutien, qui plus que jamais maintenant, est très important pour nous.
The 2012 harvest is now finished at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. The whole harvest team, which I had the honnor of being a part of, did a fantastic job. The wines that Caroline is making are in the same spirit of those we made in the past. We thank you for your support that is, now more than ever, so important to us.
Jacques morin kristi caroline
Picture of Kristin and Caroline taken by Jacques Morin

Home now, near Bandol! Jean-Marc, back from the calanque, where he hunted a few sea urchins. He is using scissors to open them.

Quant à la famille Espinasse, elle s'installe avec joie dans cette merveilleuse région où j'espère produire mon premier millésime en 2013.
As for the Espinasse family, they are settling, with joy, into this marvelous region where I hope to produce my first vintage in 2013.
Ex Chief Grape
. .
A new sight for us--so different from all those tractors—would be all the surfers! 

 Jean-Marc arranges rose on a bed of oursins / sea urchins (c) Kristin Espinasse

Jean-Marc, back from hunting for oursins, or sea urchins. Read the story, here, and learn about one of "Chief Oursin's" favorite pasttimes! 

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Carol Folino

Best wishes to all of you in your new home!


I wish you all the best as you continue to follow your dream. After our vacation this year, I can understand your draw to the sea. And after a brief encounter with a fairly mild Mistral, I can understand how that factored into your decision.

Best to the entire Espinasse family. I know you will succeed at whatever you do. I am so happy that you are able to follow your heart.

Marti Schmidt

ONWARD AND UPWARD ! Best wishes for continued success.
Marti Schmidt


Your passion for the grapes comes through in every word! I wish you all the best!

Ann Mah

Félicitations! J'ai hâte de déguster votre premier millésime de Bandol.

Lillian Kennedy

Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving pleasure to so many through your words (as well as your wines and life.)

David Simmons

« Le vin entre et la raison sort. »

(Proverbe français)

Larry Griffith

I go to Bandol occasionally to do some metal detecting in the sea (near the casino). Perhaps you will see me down there. If so, say hi... Perhaps I will be on a hunt for someone who has lost their jewelry (bague,etc) as I now belong to an organization to assist locating lost jewelry. [email protected]

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Merci beaucoup for sharing your thoughts. One must follow the heart if possible. Good luck to you and your family. We look forward to trying your new wine in the future.

Bill in St. Paul

Thanks for the explanation and best of luck on the new vineyard!!

Martine NYC

This story is so inspiring for the courage involved in making such a huge change. It is beyond reasonable to listen closely to your heart."On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur..."as Saint-Exupery says.
The pull of the sea is futile to resist: if you grow up with it, you need it nearby.
I would like to follow your example and create a life that suits me more, wherever that takes me. Thank you, Jean-Marc and Kristin, for the fine writing and example.

Sharon Marchisello

"Quand à la famille Espinasse, elle s'installe avec joie dans cette merveilleuse région ou j'espère produire mon première millésime en 2013.

As for the Espinasse family, they are settling, with joy, into this marvelous region where I hope to produce my first vintage in 2013."

Don't you mean "Quant a" instead of "Quand a"?

Best wishes for happiness in this next chapter of your life.


Change is good. Sometimes it is simply necessary to listen to the heart, even when it seems to defy logic and reason. Life is just too short to live within the status quo.

And... now you're closer to the paradise of Corsica! So whenever you guys are ready to take a trip across the water and try out some wines and muscat from the Patrimonio area, feel free to let me know. I will gladly introduce you to my various cousins here who have their vineyards in the village. (In Patrimonio, that is...)

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin and Jean-Marc

Jean-Marc - bonne chance avec votre nouvelle entreprise

Kristin - The shadows in the "urchin hunting" photo showed up with such detail. The hand with the camera is awesome. Of course, you planned the whole shot beforehand. . . right?

A la prochaine

Deb & Gary

It's been a joy also to watch your story unfold. You've been so generous in sharing with so many of us and we are inspired by your willingness to seize new opportunities as they arise. We're trying to follow your example and our hearts!

Suzanne Codi

What a wonderful story, and so glad that avec un peu de patience et beaucoup de travail, your dream came true! And you are all young enough to start all over, and have fun in the process! And I'm definitely with you, would much rather have an ocean ( or sea in this case) view than a mountain one!
Best wishes in your new venture! and we look forward to the Bandol wines!!! Bisous xox

Alyssa Ross Eppich

Bravo! Jean Marc for your perseverance, and bravo, Kristin, for understanding your other half so well. I did the same thing for my husband(where work and location were concerned) six years ago and we have never looked back.Our move from from New Hampshire to our dream place here in Maine turned out to be the best move we ever made. Bonne chance, encore! Je vous verrai a French-Word-A-Day et j'attends avec impatience vos permet de degager davantage de vos vies de raisins que vous aller ! Thank you for allowing us to take the trip with you and your family, Kristin.

Marcia Douglas

So excited for you all! So, Jean-Marc will be growing a new type of vine, different from what he grew previously?

Jan Acorn

Merci beaucoup pour partager votre histoire et les raisons pour le déménagement de votre famille. C'est toujours bon de suivre la coeur.

Pauline Kneebone

Greetings and best wishes to you both and your family in your new home and new vineyard, sounds like you are already in beach mode though! With the sea so close when will the work get done? Enjoy, it looks beautiful. I look forward to your postings ,learning some French while enjoying reading about your life and family. Merci, from Pauline in Western Australia.

Kamara Alyicia

Christine and Jean-Marc I've been following your posts for about a year now. I' very happy for your family. I love the sea, J'aime la mer aussi. Best Wishes, Success and happiness to you and your family.


Dear Kristi.
How can Jean-Marc, be ex-chief grape? If he would now be considered "nouvelle" chief grape but he seems to already have vines. What a lesson in pronucation for today..my tongue is going to need more coffee.
Just read "Unexcused Absences" blog. They watched grape harvest in Burgundy. That wine sells for $4000. a bottle. But you will have a wonderful Bandol Rose in a few years. Our best to Jules.


Be Happy!!!!!


I was just about to write a quick note to check on you....Glad that things are settling down. Can't wait for more updates. Best. Mary

Sophie Day

So glad to know that you will continue to follow your passion for wine making. I hope to some day taste one of your Bandol wines. Bonne chance!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you all for the cheers and kind wishes! If it were not for Jean-Marc, my life would be so boring! As Mary said... That passion...! 

Sharon, thanks for the helpful edit!

Hampton, I am with you -- JM will always be Chief Grape! 

Larry, what a great idea - helping those who have lost their jewelry. I lost my wedding band in Les Arcs... but that is another story! Has anyone else here lost a treasure?

Marcia, That is a question for Chief Grape. He can tell you what kind of grapes he will grow -- my guess: mourvèdre!

Thanks again for sharing your stories here. It is fun to read your words.

edith schmidt

It's important to follow your dreams!

Edie from Savannah

edith schmidt


Lovely photo of sand, surf, flowers and mountains in the background. I alway feel more relaxed after I've been to the beach.
We live about 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and have a vacation cottage we get to go to from time to time. It's a welcome change of pace.

Edie from Savannah


You had me at the ice plant, but your hubby's shorts set the tone for the day....colorful joy!


I would like to know more about the Safer concept. Kristin wrote the Safer reps were at your closing. Looked them up on the internet...?land redevelopment?

Mary Keates

It makes life so worth living when,even the enormous inconvenience of moving all your "everything", has to part of the dream.
Having less to care for,really is so worth it .
Again,so happy and relieved for all of you!
I want to live near the water again...The East river doesn't count!
One of these day,when the grand babies are older,I will move again.
Peut etre a Bandol oui!

Sandy in Boulder

Felicitations to you, Kristin and your lovely family. We had as you may recall hoped to assist in the harvest this Fall. Alas, we will be on our way to following our dream of living full time in S. France in November.
Of course, we look forward to meeting you all at long last and sharing a glass of wine and chat. We too love the sea and fell the pull to be in proximity to it.
It takes such courage and hard work to follow one's heart and dreams. The rewards are so worthwhile.
We wish you every happiness and continued
success in your new home, location and endeavors.
To your hearts bliss and dreams come true.
A bientot.
Sandy and Terry
Boulder, CO

Diane Young

Merci, Jean-Marc, pour les raisons. C'est tres important de suivre votre coeur. Eh, bien, c'etait la raison pour votre mariage a Kristi, n'est-ce pas? Bonne chance, toujours, a la famille Espinasse. Regardez la mer et pensez de Debussy. La vie belle.


Quelle vie merveilleuse!!!!

I live vicariously through y'all. Would love to be right there sharing in such a life.....

Totally understand Jean Marc's need to be pres de la mer! Cannot live away from the coast...

s from St Simons


Thank you for the lovely letter explaining your decision to move. I sensed Jean-Marc's need for a break when we met in NYC in March. Now we have two reasons to celebrate ... the continued production of great wines from Domaine Rouge-Bleu and the anticipation of great new wines from the Bandol area and the mourvèdre grape! Visiting you made me fall in love with the Haute Vaucluse and the area around the Dentelles. Maybe your move will help me fall in love with the area around Bandol. I have longed to visit the calanques.

Vicki, San Francisco Bay area

Thank you, Jean-Marc, for your explanation and for your courageous example of following your passion, even when it involves moving out of the comfort of a known quotidien. And praises to Kristi and the children for gracefully allowing you to do so. Not all families are so supportive! I want to follow my own passion and move to France for 6-12 months to immerse myself in your beautiful language; I hope my husband will be as receptive as your family. Since you are remaining involved in distribution, will you be coming to the US in 2013?

As for your love of the sea, we are kindred hearts; I could never live too far away from it!

Best wishes with your new vineyard!

Sherry in Kentucky

How lucky you both are to live with such passion for what you do and for your life together. We thank you for sharing so much of it with us. Jean Marc is not only an artist with the wine, but a very good businessman, also. I am now very much looking forward to watching the new vines develop, designing new labels, coming up with new names, and hopefully coming back for a tasting near the sea. So much to look forward to. Bonne chance.

Judi Boeye Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

What a wonderful life -it's almost dreamlike for me! Enjoy every minute and thank you Chief Grape (always will be Chief Grape to us)for your wonderful story of dreams and passions and DOING. Many dream, few DO!!! Congratulations to you all for taking a chance on a new life!

dorothy dufour

Dear Kristen,
As usual I agree with all of the above. Also
I know what such a move involves, with all
its reasons and/or improvements, having left
a life in rural Quebec after 6 years to return to my roots on the west coast, and the climate
figured as well. LUCKILY my husband came too,
with no serious regrets. Bonne chance a tous!

Dorothy Dufour


Our dear Kristin and Jean-Marc,
Your wonderful post and pictures fill us with smiles and wishes for your continuing "happily ever after"!!!
Your loyal readers at FWAD are so privileged to be part of your lives.

Pat Cargill

It is so nice to hear from you and understand more about your new venture. Wishing you all the very best by the sea.

Anne Denny

The second to last photo could be ice plant in bloom in Arizona, except for the beach and sea! Glad to get Jean-Marc's explanation of the motivation for your move, and we wish you and the whole family happiness and success in your new home.
Anne & Jack Tucson Arizona


All the best in following your heart and dreams!! How absolutely spectacular. Very inspiring story and I loved the surprise unfoldment of your journey to the land by the sea.... Aloha, from the land in the sea.. Hawaii

Vivian Langley

Tres interessant; j'admire le changement de foyer. Bonne Chance. Vivian


I hope Jean-Marc will not again be entirely on his own in the operation and marketing. He will have not time for the sea in that case!

Denise Givens

Kristin, all the best on your new home and new life. As someone who lives in a small coastal town very near the ocean, I completely understand Jean-Marc's desire to get back to the sea. I can't imagine ever leaving now that we are finally near enough to see, smell, and hear the ocean every day.

We're hoping to see Rouge Bleu wines at the Wine Bottega in Boston soon!

Wishing you the best,


Fred Caswell

Thanks, Jean-Marc, you are awesome!

Fred Caswell

Great photos, as usual, Kristi -- thanks!

Have an appointment with my vascular surgeon 3 days from today. Will let you know the consequences as I still hope to see you & your famille once more. Have you any suggestions as to a good time for one or two(Nancy) to spend some time with the Espinasses after the New Year?

Affectueusement, Fred

TIsh Tyler

Jean-Marc - merci for your letter and Kristin - merci for the translation. In my eagerness to find out the decision behind your move, I just read the letter en anglais! Now, to go back and re-read it en francais.

I am always happy to get my French Word-a-day emails and always enjoy the photos!

Tish from Powhatan, VA where it's hot and humid!


En voilà des raisons pour lesquelles vous avez déménagé. JM doit être tellement content de pouvoir enfin réaliser ce qu'il voulait tant faire.
Bon courage à toute la famille Espinasse!
Et que de succès pour Thomas et Caroline à Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes. Merci pour les photos, Caroline est aussi belle que toi, Kristin.
Kristin et JM, vous avez mal placé l'accent grave dans deux phrases suivantes:
"Toute l'équipe de vendangeurs dont j'ai eu l'honneur de faire partie à fait un travail fantastique."
"Quant à la famille Espinasse, elle s'installe avec joie dans cette merveilleuse région ou j'espère produire mon première millésime en 2013."
Dans la première phrase ...toute l'équipe...a fait (a venant du verbe avoir n'a pas d'accent grave);
dans la deuxième phrase, où = where , avec accent grave.
En plus, Raison, c'est un nom féminin, donc "pour des raisons médicales..."

Karen from Phoenix

Blessings to the whole family. I look forward to hearing about the new adventures in wine.

Diane from Brunswick, Georgia

Jean-Marc, you did a fantastic job of sharing your dream. Bandol sounds like Part II. I wish you and your family continued success and mutual satisfaction. I'm not sure why you call yourself "Ex-Chief Grape." Once a Chief Grape, always a Chief Grape. You are just taking a short sabbatical.

Diane from Brunswick, Georgia

Oops. I forgot to say how difficult it would be to choose a favorite photo from this edition. As much as I like landscapes and nature, I love seeing pictures of the people who are a part of the "Espinasse adventure." Kristin, your skin is absolutely beautiful. It must be a part of your inner glow.


I am so happy for you and your family. It looks absoulutely beautiful there. Jean-Marc looks happy in the pictures. I am looking forward to reading about your new place as well as seeing the pictures you send.

Take care

Morton Brussel

Best wishes for your new home and the vinyard to be developed. I note that Ste-Cécile is in a more rural location than is Bandol.

I liked especially the photo of your old vines amidst the bed of yellow blossoms.

As for the letter, I was somewhat puzzled reading "…après avoir déménagé dans la région…", and thought it should have read "…déménagé à la region" instead of "…déménagé dans la region…". I'd appreciate being corrected.

Also the typo "a fait un travail"— not "à fait un travail". Minor details for a pleasant letter that pleased your admirers, answering their wonders.

Bill Facker

Superb! Aloha, Bill

Lynne in the NEW FOREST

Thanks for the explanation! I feel so much better now that I know it is all as you wanted it and hoped for and are achieving a dream. Good luck. But the MISTRAL ---I have sort of heard of it but please --maybe a kittle more about how it colours life for those in Provence.

Nancy and Dan Painter

Glad you are LOVING it here! WELCOME! We live in Portissol, and feel like it's Heaven on earth! Counting the surfers used to be a pasttime for the grandchildren on our bikerides along the coast last year. They moved to Embassy Brussels and are really missing the sun and the sea!
Nancy and Dan Painter


Bonjour Kristin - What a great way to keep up with my love for French wine and language. I adore where your blog is going! I've been a very bad blogger as of late as I sort out where mine is going. Yet, there are the staples - and they all seem to be in France, the wine blogs, and my crazy friends who just love wine. Yours is one of them, although I don't show my bloggy face often. Bisous! Valerie

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Thanks Kristin! Enjoy your life in Bandol! Love the picture of the flowers and the ocean.


Raison d'être is a French phrase meaning "reason for existence." Raison d'être may also refer to: Raison d'être (band), a Swedish dark-ambient-industrial-drone ...

michael Jay Perlman

Bon chance et courage.-Michael and Leslie Perlman, San Ramon, CA et Paris!

vicki ford

Bonjour Kristin,
All of your photos are beautiful and your new home looks wonderful.
You mentioned a possible "rainy day post" from the archives..and I love a letter from your Mom that appeared in the "comme ci comme ca" issue as a click to the photo after your "H" scar. You described her as having emotion and enthusiasm..an understatement..don't you think? Perhaps after her recent visit you would have more to share.
I have recently become a new grandmother and am thinking that Jules would be a really good grandmother name...Wouldn't everyone enjoy someone with emotion and enthusiasm in their life?
Blessings to you and your family,

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Merci Jean Marc for the wonderful letter. I'm so glad you're following your dream of being in the Bandol region and I look forward to hearing about all of your family's new adventures.

Bonne chance avec toutes choses!

Barbara D. de Santa Rosa en Californie

Chère Kristin,

Ici, c'est Barbara. J'ai passé un an en France à Aix-en-Provence. C'est mon rêve de retourner à France! Merci beaucoup pour l'aide que vous me donnez dans votre blog. C'est le réponse exact de mes rêves!

Mon vocabulaire est si maigre que j'ai toujours les difficultés en parlant français. J'espère bientôt de parler plus fluamment [sp?]. Encore une fois, merci mille fois pour votre blog! Et aussi, s'il vous plaît, mes félicitations à Jean Marc!


P.S. Ce n'est pas "néaumoins," au lieu de "néanmoins"?

Sandy Maberly

I'm a little behind in my reading but I thoroughly enjoyed JM's official explanation of the great move. It's important to follow one's heart and as someone who has done the same numerous times, I am in total agreement! Great that you will still have a hand in Rouge Bleu with Caroline and Thomas. I see many great things ahead for all of you! My best wishes to you all.

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

Thank you for sending me this post Kristin. Now I understand. I thought, perhaps you two had given up the vineyard dream and wondered what was next! Good luck and we hope to visit someday.

Trading Sat

Sublime lecture, merci !!!

Se Faire de l'Argent

J en veux plus !!! par ici je vous met dans mes favoris, et vous dit a bientot.

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