se chamailler

faire du vin (to make wine in French)

Jean-Marc Espinasse
Jean-Marc, a.k.a. Chief Grape, about to pour his wine at Shakespeare and Company bookshop, Paris, in 2010. Listen to Jean-Marc read his latest story--click on the soundfile link just below. And thanks to those who tried to guess what kind of dress Jean-Marc was wearing in this post. Answer: un boubou (another boubou story, here). Thanks to Millie for helping us with the French verb for flattening wood: raboter, as illustrated here

faire du vin [fer-doo-va(n)]

    : to make wine

Audio File: Listen to the following story, written and recorded by Jean-Marc :

Tip: first listen to the story, while trying to understand the French words. Listen a second time while reading the text, in the column just below: Download MP3 or Wav file

A Day in Chief Grape's New Life...

a wine-maker  takes a break from a pressing work schedule... to chill out by the sea  

*Read the English version of the following story, here.

Mercredi dernier, je suis allé courir avec Maxime. Notre parcours nous a fait traversé le magnifique vignoble du Domaine de la Nartette, propriété appartenant au Conservatoire du Littoral (organisation qui a pour mission de protéger le littoral de toute "pollution immobilière" en rachetant des terrains) et situé sur l'appellation Bandol.

Images intégrées 1

En passant à côté d'une très belle parcelle de vieux Mourvèdre plantés en coteaux,  j'ai remarqué qu'il restait encore beaucoup de raisins, malgré le fait qu'elle avait déjà été vendangée.
Je n'ai alors pas résisté à contacter le responsable pour lui demander le droit de glaner les raisins. Après son accord, j'ai emprunté des caisses à vendanges et des sceaux au Chateau Pradeaux (un de mes domaines favoris), qui avait terminé ses vendanges et nous avons ramassé de quoi remplir une cuve de 500 litres (soit environs 400 kgs de raisins.
Comme je n'avais pas de fouloir, j'ai du utilisé mes pieds pour fouler les raisins.
La fermentation est partie naturellement bien que j'avais prévu d'ensemencer la cuve avec quelques litres de vin en fermentation que le Château Pradeaux m'avait sympathiquement donné.
Depuis, je plonge manuellement le "chapeau" (ce sont les raisins et les rafles qui sont poussés vers le haut de la cuve pendant la fermentation) tous les deux jours de façon à extraire tout ce que les raisins peuvent offrir.
Cette cuve va finalement produire environs 300 L de vin une fois la fermentation alcoolique (transformation des sucres et des levures en alcool) sera terminée. Il sera alors mis dans une barrique de 225 L et le reste servira à remplir la barrique lorsqu'elle perdra un peu de vin soit environs 1,5 L par mois, ce que l'on appelle "La part des Anges", car ce sont les Anges qui boivent le vin qui s'évapore. Il titrera environs 13,5%, ce qui n'est pas très élevé mais très intéressant.
En effet, la plus part des raisins étaient des "grappillons" qui n'avaient pas été ramassés lors des vendanges car les raisins n'étaient alors pas assez mûrs, ce qui explique qu'ils ont été laissés dans les vignes. De fait, il y a une très belle acidité dans ce vin et cela me ravi, moi qui ai un palais très Bourguignon.
Il a aujourd'hui de jolis arômes de fruits rouge (cassis) après avoir initialement eu des notes de mures. Il termine par des arômes de poivre bien typiques du Mourvèdre. Je l'aime beaucoup et il sera, quoi qu'il arrive, un vin très spécial puisque c'est le premier vin de Bandol que j'aurai fait.
Il faudra, le jour venu, trouver un nom à ce vin... Peut-être que vous pouvez m'aider à cela. J'aime bien tout ce qui aura une connotation maritime. A vos claviers donc...
Help Name Chief Grape's New Wine!!
Jean-Marc is asking, in the last line of his story, for you to help him name his latest vintage. He loves the sea, so a maritime theme would be neat! Other things my husband loves: oursins (sea urchins), color (Domaine Rouge-Bleu!), nature, family and friends. Click here to name Jean-Marc's next vintage.

Corrections to the French text in this story are most welcome, here in the comments box.
Related stories:
Glaner - don't miss the "gleaning" story. Ever seen Agnès Varda's film. Click here for this, and more on the topic of salvaging food in France!

Ange - Angel. More about Paris's most famous bookshop, and the great character who ran it. Read it here.


A view of the back of our new home. For a pretty view of the side, don't miss this post. And here's a view of the living room, in case you missed it. More photos here.

What is Smokey saying? Something about GMOs? Or something else, entirely? Add a Smokin' thought bubble here, in the comments box.

Leaves of change (c) Kristin Espinasse
Leaves of change, in Villedieu (Vaucluse)

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


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Bill in St. Paul

I think Smokey is saying: "Hmm, the mayonnaise is past it's use-by date. Maybe I can have it? I'm sure nobody will mind."


For the new wine, I suggest "Odyssey" or "l'Odyssée"..
Beyond the timeless and compelling maritime story of coming home, provides a secondary definition as 'an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest.'
(Trademark considerations are left as an exercise for the user.) :-)

Margaret in Mississippi

Smokey may be asking, "Does that light EVER go off?"

Cyndy Witzke

Smokey is saying, "Let's see, what to have for lunch..."

Tom Mann

Kristi and Jean-Marc,

I suggest "Fruit de Mer" as a name for the new vintage. I hope you are all doing well in your new home, which looks absolutely lovely. Perhaps we will visit you while we are in Cairanne over the holidays in December and January.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut tout le monde

Merci, Jean-Marc, pour l'histoire.

It's great practice for us learners

Peut-être le nom du vin "ne déchets pas rouge" va bien

Debra Saturday

names for new wine:

~ Les Ballades en Mer
~ Le Vin Perdu
~ L'Ange Souffle
~ Le Coteau des Anges
~ L'Ange Murmure
~ Le Souffle des Anges
~ Reve de Mer
~ Reve Bleu
~ La Cuvee Perdue

my hubby and I had fun thinking of names...thank you for the chance to make history!! :)


Très bonnes idées ici! Mon contribution: "Vin des Anges"


Aux Pieds de la Mer


Le Vin Bandol Bleu
Le Vin Espinasse Bleu
La Mer Bleu

Congrats on the new of luck to you both in your endeavors...I hope the new home will further inspire your creativity and keep you sure would for me!!!!

William welch


La bandolette
La Mistralaine
Cuvee DES Oubliettes
la belle du sud
Le soleil rouge
Larmes DES Anges

William from Arles

vicki ford

Thank you for your wonderful story..
name ideas..
For your Mere.. Mer Michele..
For you mother in law..Jus de Jules..

Rhina Badia

How is Smokey liking the new house? I have missed seeing him in pictures lately. Wish you all the very best in your new home! Cheers, Rhina (Glen Ellen, California)

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for these fun and creative names for Jean-Marcs wine. I cant wait to hear his response! 

Rhina, Smokey is loving it here. The other day he and his mom chased a rabbit through the forest behind our house. Im so glad the cotton tail out ran them both!


By the time I got to my task here in the western U.S., David had already suggested my idea, so I second it! it seems like "pied" or walking has to be in the name. "Marchant sur la mer"

BTW, I love reading J-M's french stories. More please!

beth g.

"hey!! we're almost out of grey poupon!!"

Sheryl in Denver

How about "Maree Rouge"? The tides are changing in your lives, who knows what the next tide will bring in....

Jean Hay

Smoky is clearly asking: mayonnaise, ketchup, Yuk...

Chateau Oie

Mistral de la mer
L'élixir de la mer
Le Orsin chatouillé
L'esprit Orsin
Le vin charmeur
Massif de la mer
Les restanques belles

Polly Adkins

The obvious would be Domaine Orsin Rouge


You lucky guy! The wine sounds very tasty to me because I love the deep reds. My first thought for your name would be, Les Sirenes from mythology...those part women part bird who lure the mariner! I'll give it some more thought, too.

Gwyn Ganjeau

what creative ideas!! I love word play, but it's hard for me in another language. I'm trying to imagine a play between 'mer' and 'mere.' Is there a French idiom/saying with the word 'mere' that could have 'mer' substituted? It would evoke family and sea. The only example I can think of at the moment is "La Mer de la Famille'... get where i'm trying to go? or maybe it's a saying about the sea where 'mere' is substituted.

what a fun process. i think naming something is a very profound exercise and i can't wait to see what it is!!

Mary L. Holden

I don't speak French, but I love France, wine, grapes, great writing, beautiful photographs... and this came to mind for a name for the wine: de raisin de la rive. There is a plant, the sea grape, that is very salt resistant and is used along shorelines to protect sea turtles. There is some poetry here I suppose, but I must get back to work! Thanks for the diversion!

nancy v

Smokey is thinking "What does a guy have to do to get some steak?"

Love your new place! A lot of work - moving - but a new adventure is always fun.


I think Smokey is saying:

Je voudrais pommes frites avec le ketchup et pas avec mayonnaise!!!!!

Cynthia Gillespie

I am sitting here in Bandol looking out at the grey-green sea trying hard to come up with a bright name.

L'Aubaine, L'Aubaine Rouge, Le Phare Rouge, L'Aube Rouge

Alors, je continuerai...

Ronni Lester Ebbers

Hortensia Rosé
Pivoine Blanc
Géranium Lierre Rouge

Joanne Ablan

Doué de Vie

Brigitte Castellan

Le pied marin! (pied de vigne, naturellement!)

vicki ford

How about a little French/Spanish name:
Band-Ole..(sorry that my computer will not put the accent on ole)..

vicki ford

How about a little French/Spanish name:
Band-Ole..(sorry that my computer will not put the accent on ole)..

Susie Q. Finley

For the name of the wine how about

Reve de Matelot
Susie Q. Finley


Loved this description of the 'birth' of a new wine. For a name I propose...Des Anges de signify a gift from the angels.

bonnie poppe

Moursin glanée perhaps?

Chief Grape

Thank you so much for all your inputs
I will digest them and will offer a poll in the next weeks
My offerings are :
- Oursin Violet (Violet is à mix of red and blue colors and it is the best one to eat)
- Mericius (combinaison of "Mer" and "Ericius" which means urchin in Latin
- Rouge-Bleu sur Mer



I read every word of Jean-Marc's post, despite the fact that I have an aversion to reading anything that describes a how-to process, such as making wine. It was well worth reading.

This guy was obviously meant to be a wine maker. Even without his vineyard, he found a way and did it. It's really a story about how the talent within us finds a way to express itself, like a plant pushing up through the soil, through cracks in the sidewalk, through a fence. It WILL, it WILL. And so will Jean-Marc.

And you will too, Kristi. You will write more wonderful things, without a doubt. It's just IN you.

As for a name for the wine, I like Odysee, and I like Sirenes even better. Maree rouge sounds good but unfortunately has undesirable connotations, as some people think the tides can be harmful to people. I haven't thought of anything yet myself, but will post again when I do.

edith schmidt

Maybe "Oursin Bleu?"
Your mom could have fun designing a logo.

Edie from Savannah


Here are the corrections to the French text :
- Château (accent circonflexe oublié sur le a)
- environ 400 kilos, environ 300 litres, environ 1,5l, environ 13,5% : no s when environ is an adverb
- j'ai dû utiliser
- bien que j'aie prévu (bien que + subjunctive)
- quelques litres que le château m'avait donnés
- une fois la fermentation terminée
- cela me ravit
- des notes mûres.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story; have a great weekend.

Kathy (near Sacramento)

"Maree rouge" gets my vote! (Except as I repeat it to myself in English it makes me remember that on the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida coast "red tide" will make people think of red algae blooms that kill many fish and leave them dead and stinking on the beaches. So on second thought...... Sp much to consider when coming up with a good name!) Also like "oursin bleu" but it would certainly have people who didn't know the back story scratching their heads.


I like Glaner,or a varieation thereof, for the grapes themselves and for your gleaning of life in all your stories. I love all the pictures of your new place. It is. to me, a dream to be is such a wonderful place and close to the sea.

Pierre Howard

J'offre "Brume des Cotes"


Merci pour nous faire comprendre comment vous faites du vin. Est-ce que ça chatouille quand on foule les raisins avec les pieds nus? Et pour le nom de votre vin, soudain je pense à...étoile de mer, la méduse ou bien loup de mer.

A part des fautes que Lavender a trouvées, j'en ajoute quelques unes..."parcours nous a fait traverseR"; la PLUPART au lieu de "plus part".
Non, je ne suis pas surdouée. C'est le français que j'ai appris... il était une fois.
A propos de Smokey, il se demande "qu'est-ce qu'ils trouvent, les humains, de délicieux dans ces bouteilles?"
ou bien "Avez-vous du Grey Poupon?"

Alice Dent

J'ai pensé a trois noms:

Bon Voyage!

Le Navire (ou Navire de Guerre)

Le Bâteau Ivre

Dick Kahane

"Les pieds dans l'eau"


Merci pour la générosité avec laquelle vous continuez à nous partager votre vie, dès les aventures en littérature jusqu'aux aventures en viticulture. On apprend beaucoup!

À propos de noms possibles pour le vin, j'offre:
-Domaine Bandol des Anges
-Domaine des Anges
-Domaine Chegrappe (inspiré par le sobriquet "Chief Grape")
-Domaine Sol Rouge
-Domaine Oursinguine (combinaison des mots "oursin" et sanguine")

En attendant les prochaines postes, je vous souhaite un non weekend et une excellente continuation dans la nouvelle vie à Bandol!

Harriet Provence Van Eps

Naming your vintage nouvelle/veau
thinking of:
Put on a red dress mama and wear your wig-hat on your head;
I recommend the following:
"l'homme à la robe rouge".

I double dog dare you as I think that Jean Marc looks really good in a dress. I vote for men wearing dresses. Very sexy too! And I would NEVER argue with them!
[email protected]

Judi Boeye Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

Le Bon Goût de la Mer

Côte de la Mer Bleue
Domaine Espinasse
Bandol, France

Côte de la Mer Violette

Kristin, your mas and photos are lovely as always - and Jean-Marc's story and love of wine-making is just wonderful.


Beautiful pictures and a wonderful post!
THANK YOU both for starting our weekend off to such a super start!
Bon journee!!

Kevin O'Brien

Le vin doit etre appele 'Les Orphelins' - parce que les raisins etaient 'abandonnes' par l'autre vigneron!

Mary Jo Kolb

I loved the part about the evaporating wine going to the angels. How about "Les Restes des Anges" for a name?

Thanks as always for your stories, beautiful photos, and glimpses into French life. Although I'll never speak it fluently, reading your newsletter is a delightful way to keep trying.

Martine Baboin

Bonjour et pourquoi pas 'LE GLANEUR' c'est là d'où il vient, c'est simple, doux et si romantique! Comme j'aimerais en goûter! Je vous souhaite bonne continuation!


La Mer Tranquille is my suggestion.

I love hearing from Jean-Marc, and of course the pictures are great.

Lisa A.,Los Angeles, CA

Clos De La Mer
Sirène De La Mer
Bleu Marine
Nouveau Bleu
Bleu De Nouveau

Bonne chance!

Diane Young

un nom peut-etre: Les Amis Marins

How exciting to be making your first Bandol wine! Bonne chance/

Smokey is thinking, "now's my chance to grab something I like while they're immersed in winemaking"


L'Odyssee (first post) gets my vote, what a fab name!


Such fun, thanks for inviting us to participate; here are a couple more:
Bleu pas deux; Bleu acte deux :)
Cheers & happy searching

Sheri Murphy, Bethlehem Pennsylvania

Amour dela Mer

Janine Cortell

So many great suggestions already Jean-Marc.
Here are mine:
Etoile du Littoral or Domaine du Littoral
Thank you for such a fun blog.Janine Cortell


l'ivresse Bleu


Smokey pense que je ne sens pas umami.

joie in carmel,ca

I think it is time you include your name in the wine. Can you do that if you don't actually grow the grapes yet?
Vin Epinnase de la Mer

Blair Pessemier

Passage en Mer


How about " La danse de la Mer " ?
Enjoying this post from New Zealand (da la mer)

Joanne Ablan

Délice de Marin
Doué d'Amis

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