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La Treille (c) Kristin Espinasse
Trellised vine in the town of Sarrians.  Never miss a word or photo, subscribe to French Word-A-Day

la treille (treye) noun, feminine

    : trellised, climbing vines, vine arbor

le jus de la treille = wine, lit. "the juice of the vine"
treillage =lattice work

Audio File: (the francophones are absent... so you are stuck with my pronunciation of the word of the day... listen at your own risk!) Download MP3 or Download Wav

Les vendangeurs doivent cueillir les grappes qui pendent à la treille.
The grape-harvesters must pick the grapes that hang from the trellised vines. 


Old sign-2

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

A storm is brewing outside my window and the vines just below are whip-roaring. Stirred up by the southern wind, they will soon lose their leaves to autumn.

My mind moves back to a smooth summer day. I am watching my husband train his vines. No commands are needed (as with the dogs): no sit (assis!), lie down (couché!) or gimme a paw! (donne la patte!). Iron and string are all that is required to get the vine branches to follow the wire.

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(Jean-Marc took this photo yesterday morning... on a Sunday drive to Rognonas for Max's first basketball game of the season.)

I love watching Jean-Marc tend to his vines, especially the unfruitful ones. It takes a lot of love to care for something that produces nothing... except good shade! The vines on our back deck, therefore, give ombre offerings, shady splendor on a hot summer day. 

Now in their third year, the vine branches are spreading out into a great, leafy parasol with the help of the off-duty vigneron (grape vines are his day job, climbing vines are his leisure).

I watch Jean-Marc reach up, up, up to the pergola above. Nothin' doin'. He must come into the kitchen for a chair and step up to these vines in the air. Next, he begins tucking in and weaving so many vagabond vine tendrils, which then continue on track to the end of la treille.

What satisfaction on the vine tender's face after helping so many errant ones 'step' back into place.


 Le Coin Commentaires

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome. Click here to leave a message.

Jean-Marc's latest article! When not writing for his Rouge-Bleu blog, Jean-Marc is penning posts over at Bonjour Paris. Read the first here!


French Vocabulary

 assis! (asseoir) = sit

couché! (coucher) = lie down

donne la patte! = give (me) your paw
l'ombre (f) = shade

le parasol = umbrella

le vigneron (la vigneronne) = wine grower 

la treille = vine arbor

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And finally...

The grape crush goes on....

Daniel (above and below, left) and Alexis (far right) returned last night to help with the crush. They were out there, knee-deep in grapes, until their dinner turned cold on the table.... Thanks for all your hard work!



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


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Derek Hodkin (an Englishman in France)

je suis desole Kristin mais . . le langue Anglais est peutetre un peu different au langue American mais . . 'their' means 'belonging to' while 'there' means somewhere else! Am reasonably sure that this is the same in both languages . .but the pictures are good and usually the script but the occasional slip makes it more human!!



Ellen Fetu

Gorgeous photo of the arbor framing the distant mountains, Kristin...wow. That should be framed and up on your wall! (along with dozens of others...but this one struck me) Chapeau!


Kristin, my e-copy of Bonjour Paris had already arrived when today's FWAD came, and Jean-Marc's article was the first one I read. It's so good that I shared it on my Facebook page right away! He truly makes a great case for organic viticulture,not just on the basis of "going green," for Earth's sake, but for the quality of the wine itself. Very well written, too, en anglais impeccable! I only just noticed the link to his interview on France 3, on his blog and enjoyed that program a lot, too (altho they didn't let him talk enough. You should link that here for your more fluent readers. I've been subscribing to some of France Télé's on-line highlights, but recently, France 3's video clips are no longer accessible outside of France, so it was nice to find a link I could use.
Here in St. Louis, we've been having our first 30's F, & first frost warnings! Surprisingly early this year, esp. given we had a record warm summer.
Mary Kissane

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Your post this morning transports me back to Provence even as I ride the train into NYC ... back to work after a 10 day vacation in France. I love the image of the grape leaves forming a parasol.

My mother, Portia, keeps saying that the highlight of her vacation was the evening you and Jean-Marc came to dinner at the farmhouse outside of Vaison. What a wonderful evening it was for us. We know you two were exhausted from la vendange and still had work ahead of you in Chateaufneuf-du-Pape but your love for writingb and storytelling and Jean-Marc's love of tending the vines, harvesting and making wine shown through that night and filled the room. Une souvenir we will never forget. Merci, merci! When Margaret and mom headed off this morning on their drive home to North Carolina from New Jersey, mom kissed me three times just as you had taught her. So you are very much with us in spirit.
Suzanne, Margaret (Maggie) and Portia

Cheryl in STL

What a lovely pergola and the view is just beautiful! And such nicely trained vines! ;) I also read Jean-Marc's post in Bonjour Paris and have shared it with friends. Bravo, Jean-Marc!!

Looking out at the dappled light coming through the still green leaves in my woods leaves me deceptively unaware of the cold awaiting. It is cold here in STL today and it's way too early.

Thanks again for sharing your Provence with all of us!

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut tout le monde,

A big atta-boy to Jean-Marc for his Bonjour Paris article. It presents aspects of the world of wines and wine tasting of which most people are ignorant. Thanks!

I am unable to view the France 3 video. I must not have the proper media viewer installed…… any suggestions?

À bientôt

Carolyn Wade

As always, I enjoyed your note immensely!

What a treat to read Jean-Marc's first article, too. (Did he mean "mutate"?) I'd never thought about irrigation as a literal watering-down of the wine before, but he makes a great point!

cynthia in the french alps

Here in the French Alps they are starting their harvesting. I love this time of year and will love it even more in about 2-3 weeks when the vineyard leaves change color.


Hello Kristin,

I never thought of my vine (the one and only we've got in the garden) as being “treille”, but, as it is a CLIMBING VINE, I believe it is indeed → “UNE TREILLE”! Why didn't I think of the word “treille”, when I planted it in 1995, against a 'trellised' panel = “un treillage”? (the English word for that type of panel should have given me a clue!)

The plant was about 50 cm high at the time and I thought it would eventually cover two trellised panels in an area in front of our large aviary, giving a lovely green foreground to the colourful & joyful flying scenes in the background. In doing so, the big aviary wouldn't look like a gigantic 'cage' too easily spotted by the sparrow hawks!

“Ma treille” has now spread over 5 trellised panels and stretched on the top of the beams of a pergola, built 30 centimetres above our aviary. The aviary has gone - when our own children were at Uni, we gave away all the panels and accessories, plus our fifty five birds to a young and enthusiastic family and we helped them to build a new home for our birds.
I planted 3 different types of Acer and a Choisya in the aviary area, and on the other side of the vine, I added a common Myrtle and a Star Jasmine at each end. My husband built a curved wall at the back.

The beams and posts of the pergola are still there, the acers are doing well and “LA TREILLE” keeps expanding. I now clip it drastically once a year and make sure it's not invading other climbing plants. The grapes are much sweeter than they used to be.

The plant is a “Vitis Vinifera Brandt” and grows very well in my garden in the South of England. Grape picking took place last weekend. (I couldn't possibly call the event “la vendange”, as this is such a 'mini' harvesting! Anyhow, I gave away the nicest “grappes de raisin” to our new neighbours and to some good old friends. I (manually) pressed a good 6 litres of juice, (will all be drunk by the time we leave for Biarritz in a few days'time).


-> The view from your arched pergola is superb!

-> Lovely painted poster! (wondering how old it is). Merci Jean-Marc for spotting the poster and taking a photo that provided the 'word of the day' which connected so well with my little world on the other side of the Channel.

-> Mille mercis Kristin for the photos of the jolly trio, busy 'crushing'!
“Fouler les raisins avec les pieds” (this is what I think I understand ... is that right?) may be hard work, but certainly 'fun for the boys'!

-> I am unable to see the France 3 video. All I can see is a photo of Jean-Marc, and one sentence on the screen.

-> Plenty more to read about "a crush on Etna" in Jean-Marc's blog

-> and ... I must read the article in "Bonjour Paris"!

-> Vocab list: a bit puzzling to see three 'dog orders' here. Have I missed something?

joie  carmel,ca

Sitting under the pergola watching the distant clouds with a glass of wine in my hand would be heaven.
I now will go read the article in "Bonjour Paris" and maybe send it to a couple of wine makers around here. We are finding more and more that are "organic" here. We do have a problem with the wild boars in the upper valley. One year (about 15 years ago) they almost completely wiped out a vineyard of chardonnay...


Kristin, your pictures are beautiful (always!),but the view (and the pergola) is gorgeous!
THANK YOU for reminding us of the wonderful lesson that everything/everybody has worth and a purpose! (grape vines having leaves that only produce shade!)(and lovingly recognized for just that!)
A non-related question: do you brush the dogs' teeth?(I think you might've mentioned this subject in an earlier blog-?- but I am just now becoming acquainted with writing comments). We are firm believers in brushing;aside from improving quality of life,(chewing), it really helps to decrease bacteria under their gums(which can cause heart or kidney problems).My brother,who was a vet,showed us how to do it.
Bon journee!!!!!!!!!!! -Natalia



You will have to send some pictures of the leaves turning there. I love Fall! Here is is 95 one day and 55 the next, and I am not kinding. Virgina has odd weather at times. Therefore we have all been sick with a cold. Your blog lifted my spirits though. Take care and stay well.


Denise in the Pacific Northwest

Bonjour Kristin et tout le monde:

Oh those grape-stained hands and clothes - I know them well. :) It is so nice to see the vine growth on the deck cover, as well as the beautiful view. I will check out Jean-Marc's article toute suite.

To Derek: Kristin was correct, je pense, in her use of "their." She was referring to the workers' dinner, which was indeed "theirs," as opposed to referring to the physical location of the plates - "there."

A bientot for now -


Hi Kristin, I've just noticed I started reading your newsletter as from what followed the photo of the wall with the poster
-> 'I love watching Jean-Marc tend to his vines ...'
so, I totally missed the first 2 paragraphs with 'dog orders'. Finding them in the Vocab list, without any context, was of course rather puzzling! Oh dear...


Bonjour Derek, Thanks for the edit. I fixed it before Denise saw it :-)

Denise, great to see your note. I'll never forget your grape-stained hands!

Newforest et ami(e)s, thanks everyone for your comments. I've got to run to the stove to save some burning meatballs: just wanted to check in and say merci.

Natalia - we do not brush their teeth... but you've given us good reason too (heart, kidney).

Oh, and Herm... I could not access the link from my computer either. I'll see if Jean-Marc can figure something out...;

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

I so loved your view on the vines, the unfruitful ones needing love too! This, your sweet story and lovely pictures were much enjoyed today!

Mike Hardcastle

Your accent sounds fine to me. Nothing wrong with a foreign accent, I was told the other day that my English accent (which I have been desperately trying to lose for years) was charming. So her's to a little less than perfection if it makes for better listening.


Coucou, Daniel! Un petit oiseau m'a dit que je dois vous laisser un petit message...je voulais vous dire que vous etes tres beau et que cette americaine qui est moitee francaise aimerai bien de vous parler...haha! Je rigole...mais si vous etes celibataire, je m'appelle Kimberly=) A plus!!! Bisous x


Bonjour Paris:
Most interesting article from a passionate vigneron who loves Mother Nature!

About the France 3 vidéo:
I had another go, but, no success.
When I click on "Revoir les émissions", I get several titles, and one of them is:
Emission du 25 septembre 2010
Jean-Marc Espinasse est un viticulteur qui fait un vin admirable à Sainte Cécile les Vignes.

and that's it!

Margaret in Durham (sigh!)

Missing you and Jean-Marc and all of Provence! What a treat it was to visit with both of you. I will catch up on the posts I missed while we were busy visiting the villages and markets.


Newforest: video update: Jean-Marc has no idea how to fix it! He will try to have it converted to a Youtube clip....

Suzanne and Margaret, I finished off the leftovers that you thoughtfully tucked into the "doggy bag" for us :-) The poached turkey with raisins, capers, pine nuts, and lemon was delicious--but your company, and Portia's, was missed. (I love your Mom and her stories! Kiss, kiss, kiss!). So thankful for the friends I have met "grace à" word-a-day.

Denise in the Pacific Northwest

Ah ... so much for the lapse of time. :)

Cheers -

Marianne Rankin

Kristin, although there is un petit quelquechose on the audiofile that indicates you probably aren't a native speaker, your accent isn't as heavy as you might think. It's certainly not glaringly American. In particular, I think you have "gotten" the French R, which is unique and difficult.

I'd love to have a treille in our yard. Next year, if it's not so hot, maybe I'll try one.

Pat Cargill

I enjoyed the pictures today - certainly of the grape-stained stompers and the view under the pergola is lovely. Thanks for the sweet story.

Jennifer in OR

Lovely. Jean Marc's photo and the crushers smiling faces...


Spelling mistake in my first post:
"Ma treille" is a "Vitis Vinifera BRANT" (no d before the t).

It has a very decorative foliage with superb Autumn colours all through October (the leaves were my main interest at the beginning) and bunches of tightly clustered small and sweet black grapes. Clipping in March, just before the buds start to grow, then chopping a few bits here and there in the Summer seems to be ideal for ma “treille”.

By the way, the last drops of our six litres of "jus de la treille" pressed on Sunday were drunk last night! Still a few lovely bunches of grapes to enjoy eating before our trip to France.

If you have a sheltered spot facing South West in your garden (South East is probably OK) and a pergola or any adequate support (made of wood, wires...) that allows the vine tendrils to wrap themselves around and give the bunches of grapes the possibility to hang in the sun, why not try to plant “une treille”? All the best Marianne!

PS had a look at photos from previous years and found some vine leaves in gorgeous colours on photos taken as early as beginning of October and as late as mid November.

Mille mercis again Kristin for the word TREILLE that rhymes with soleil... and bouteille and for all the beautiful photos.


the word "TREILLE" also rhymes with
-> "corbeille" (basket)
-> "oreille" (ear) Mmmm, may not be inspiring, but what about -> "abeille"? (bee)

-> and it rhymes with..... "merveille"! (marvel, wonder)

Kristin Espinasse

Newforest, the words rhyming with treille are so helpful! I think I can finally say the word without hesitation: treille... bouteille, soleil, abeille, oreille, corbeille... Merci beaucoup!


Sorry Kristin,
I could have added:

- les orteils (toes)
- le sommeil (sleep)
- et ... l'oseille (sorrel, and slang for money)
- et ... les groseilles (redcurrants)

- mais toi, en finale, n'oublie pas le mot

Jean(ne)  Pierre in MN

La Treille brought to mind the place in Pagnol's books, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Treille. The films are still wonderful, and Kristin's treille is too.

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