se grouiller


Fall is around the corner and the grapes are landing in the baskets. Day three of la vendange.

Grape harvest update:
eight more helping hands have arrived, two of which belong to my mom... stay tuned.

(koov) noun, feminine
    : vat
    : tank, mash tun; cistern

Hear today's word and this example sentence: une cuve. On met les raisins dans la cuve.
Download cuve.wav. Download cuve.mp3

Cuve  Photo (click to enlarge): Well Wishers leave their signature on the cement cuves in our cellar.

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This is as good a time as any to begin a "Questions" section. Dorénavant,* I, or my family, will try to answer the occasional question. This week, a few of these types of inquiries arrived via the comments and inbox:

"Kristin, forgive the ignorance of this question. Is it normal to bottle last year's harvest just in time to clear the space for the current year's grapes?"

Thanks, Mike, for your question, which is in response to the chiffon post:

"Yesterday, beneath a pouring Provencal sky, we bottled our 2007 Mistral: all 10,300 examples of it (and just in time to clear the cellar for next week's incoming grapes!). "

5405  Here is Jean-Marc's answer in French (and English):

"C'est pas que c'est normal, c'est que le vin était prêt à être mis en bouteille et qu'il fallait libérer quelques cuves pour recevoir la nouvelle vendange."

It isn't that it's not normal, it's just that the wine was ready to be bottled and it was necessary to free up a few of the tanks in order to receive the new harvest.

Pile ou Face
One question down and one to go... this one, from Diane, and it is your turn, dear reader, to answer:

I heard this French phrase, "pile ou face," recently in a movie (A Good Year with Russel Crowe).  I looked up each individual word and was a bit confused.  Am I wrong or is "face" the word "heads" in English and is "pile" the reverse side or "tails" ?  So are the French literally saying " to play tails or heads"?  Or, am I wrong and pile does mean heads?  Just a semantic question nevertheless, but I would like to know the answer if possible. 

Answers to the above question, and comments on today's post, are welcome. Please use the comments box and thanks in advance.

dorénavant = from now on

Erinp  Partial harvester profile (photo, left): this is Erin (Australia). She studies wine science and knows how to measure the sugar content in a grape. She's funny, wears cool t-shirts, and got over it quickly when her computer was stolen (not two weeks ago, out of her hotel room). Rolling up her sleeves--and using Jean-Marc's PC--she re-typed her entire term paper--from memory!!!--and turned it in on time to begin the harvest with us. She'll turn 24 tomorrow. Please wish her a joyeux anniversaire! PS: I know, she's beautiful. But she's also taken. More about him in a future harvester profile.

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Thank you for reading my language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation of any amount.

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