Les Chaises (c) Kristin Espinasse
Colorful chairs, in Cassis, remind me of diversity—and all the new faces that we'll soon see: harvest volunteers coming from as far away as London and Californie!

fût (fuu) noun, masculine

: keg, barrel, cask
: stock (of rifle), handle (of saw), stem (of candelabrum)

Audio File : Download WAV or Download MP3 and listen to these French words:

Jean-Marc a fait livrer des fûts de bière. Jean-Marc had kegs of beer delivered.


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

I stare, suspiciously, as another piece of equipment is delivered to this farm. I have my doubts, as I did when the sea cargo containers arrived... after all, this is a vine-yard and not a ship-yard!

And while we are minding misnomers, let's get one more thing clear: what we do here is wine—not beer!

I study the installation: this time no heavy cables, cranks, or cranes are needed to transfer the units from the truck's flatbed to the ground—only three sets of arms... and three beer bellies! 


 Beer on tap! Chief Grape has just had two kegs delivered! Just a little extra motivation for our volunteer harvesters, who will soon be braving the heat and all the hard work! Judging from last year's harvest, beer is the unanimously popular refresher.

                                                               Coffee anyone? Only one whisker-faced taker.

But why beer? And why not chilled wine? you ask (Don't ask!). I quit asking months ago, but that doesn't stop me from doubting:

"I do not think this is a very good idea..." I comment, sharing my doubts about unlimited draught. "After lunch, the harvesters are going to zigzag back to the grape field!" And what will this amount to vis-à-vis grape yield???


I ask Thierry (pictured above) the delivery man from Brasserie Alphand, just how many liters are there in those fûts

"Cinquante de blonde et trente d'ambrée."

"Quatre-vingt litres!"

(Jean-Marc points out that there are two kegs of bière blonde...)

I do the arithmetic: one hundred and thirty liters of beer divided by 14 days of harvest, divided by 12 harvesters.... 

What with the bad boys and their toys... looks like we're in for a rock-n-roll vendange this year!


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Smokey says Beer! The bees won't be the only ones buzzin' round here.


Smokey would like to share this French saying, sent in by his dear friend Carol, in Belgium:

La bière après le vin c'est du venin mais le vin après la bière c'est super!
(Beer after wine is like venom but wine after beer is super!) 

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