Braise and John, harvesting the grenache. Read John's letter to his grandson, Vincent, in today's story column, below.

~~~Cara Black will be at the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore in Paris!~~~
If you are in Paris on September 25th, don't miss this author. Cara will be reading from her latest book, "Murder on Rue Paradis". Further details at the RW Books blog (

la gamme (gam) noun, feminine
    : range; variety, gamut

And this note from Dan: "Gamme" can also be used in music for "scale". (For example: "Travaillons la gamme de Sol", "Let's practice the G scale").

Audio File:
Hear my daughter, Jackie, read this example sentence. La gamme... Le paysage provençal... ses raisins, ses tournesols, ses champignons, ses cerises... toute la gamme de couleur couleurs. Download gamme.wav. Download gamme.mp3

Would someone like to translate the sentence? Thank you for adding your interpretation to the comments box!

Journal, sketch and keep notes in Francophile style with Moleskine: check out the Paris Notebook

Terms & Expressions:

  toute la gamme = the whole range
  haut de gamme = high end, luxury (product)
  bas de gamme = lower end (of product line)

Vignettes from our Vendangeurs*...

John-writing The following is a letter from one of our voluntary harvesters, John Boruff. He wrote it to Vincent, his two-year-old grandson back in South Bend, Indiana. I hope you will enjoy it and will share it with a "little someone" that you know. John writes:

Dear Vincent,

There are many colors to see here in the Côtes du Rhone while picking grapes during the wine harvest.

The leaves on the grape vines range from pastel to deep 
vert.* Hiding among the leaves on the vines are clusters of violet* grapes waiting to be picked. With black gloved hands, using rouge* and jaune* clippers, I snip the grapes from the vine. The harvested grapes are then put into a black bucket to be carried and emptied into a red and gris* tub or a big orange trailer. The full tubs of grapes are carried to a little white truck with a yellow top. The tubs are lined up on the flat bed of the truck to be returned to the farm. If the v-shaped trailer is used, the trailer is pulled by an orange tractor with a black cab with a gray cap enclosed in glass. The v-shaped trailer has an auger in the bottom used to empty the grapes from the trailer.

Once the grapes arrive at the farm, it is time to crush the purple fruit to make the juice that goes into the white vats used to make the red, blanc,* or rosé* wine. Vincent, you would have fun checking out the chrome knobs on the front of these vats.

Tuyau The grapes from the field are pumped from the big orange wagon through a long red hose into a chrome drum which rotates within an orange frame. The wine juice drips from the rotating drum into a long orange metal pan. Another red hose is used to pump the juice into the vat to begin the wine fermentation.

Vincent, there is another process to de-stem the grapes before pressing. I will tell you about that when I return home in just a few days. By the way, the rainbow-colored wine harvest is being watched over by a golden retriever dog named "Braise".*


Comments welcome here and mille mercis to John for sharing his letter to Vincent!

In children's books & music:
  The Grapes Grow Sweet: A Child's First Family Grape Harvest
 In music: Songs in French for Children

le vendangeur
(la vendangeuse) = grape harvester; le vert (m) = green; le violet (m) = purple; le rouge (m) = red; le jaune (m) = yellow; le gris (m) = gray (grey); le blanc (m) = white; le rosé (m) = rosé wine; la braise (f) = embers

SmartFrench Audio CDs: a step by step approach for understanding French

The Roads to Santiago: The Medieval Pilgrim Routes Through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela. According to legend, St. James the Apostle preached throughout the Iberian peninsula. His bones found their way to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela and today many pilgrims make trips to the shrine. This fully illustrated book covers all the routes to this holy place from Paris and
Spain. Providing readers with historical context for the routes, it showcases all the stunning monuments and magnificent landscapes along the way.

Words in a French Life: Lesson in Love and Language

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