faire du vin (to make wine in French)
rompre: to break up


littoral or coastline near Agay (c) Kristin Espinasse
Le littoral, or the coastline, near Agay. If you enjoy these scenes from France, perhaps a friend would too? Forward this post. New friends, sign up to French Word-A-Day by clicking here. Begin growing your vocabulary, illico presto! 

Today read about the fascinating process of turning grapes into wine! Jean-Marc takes us through the step-by-step process, from gleaning a nearby grape field, to stomping the fruit with his feet, to punching down the "cap" worn by those tanks of fermenting raisins

littoral(e) (lee-tohr-al)

    : (noun, masculine) coast
    : (adjective) coastal

le littoral déchiqueté = rugged coastline

Audio File: If you haven't yet, you may listen to Jean-Marc's story, below, in French. Enjoy his recording:  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

Mercredi dernier, je suis allé courir avec Maxime. Notre parcours nous a fait traverser 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.

Last Wednesday, I went for a run with Maxime. Our itinerary had us crossing the magnificent Domaine de la Nartette vineyard, a property belonging to the French Coastline Conservancy (an organization with the mission of protecting the coastline from all "real estate pollution" by buying land) and situated in the Bandol  appellation.

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.
While passing by a beautiful parcel of old Mourvèdre, planted on slopes, I noticed there remained a lot of grapes, in spite of the fact that it had already been harvested.
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).
I just couldn't resist contacting the person in charge, to ask him for the right to glean the grapes. After his agreement, I borrowed harvesting crates and some buckets from Chateau Pradeaux (one of my favorite vineyards), which had just finished its harvest, and we collected enough to fill a 500 liter tank (or roughly 400 kilos of grapes).
Comme je n'avais pas de fouloir, j'ai du utilisé mes pieds pour fouler les raisins.
As I didn't have a wine press, I had to use my feet to tread the grapes.
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.
The fermentation began naturally even though I had planned on inoculating the tank with a few liters of fermenting wine that Château Pradeaux had kindly given me.
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.
Since, I manually dunk the "cap" (these are the grapes and the stems that have pushed up toward the top of the tank, during fermentation) every two days, so as to extract all that the grapes have to offer.
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. 
This tank will eventually produce around 300 liters of wine, once the alcohol fermentation (or transformation of sugars and yeast into alcohol) is finished. It will then be put into a 225 liter wine barrel and any leftovers will serve to fill the barrel when it loses a little wine each month, around 1.5 liters, or what we call "The Angels' share", for it is the angels who drink the evaporating wine. It will measure around 13.5%, which isn't very high but is very interesting.
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. 
In fact, most of the grapes being "baby grapes" that were not collected during the harvest because the grapes were not ripe enough, this explains why they were left in the vines. As a matter of fact, there is a beautiful acidity in this wine and that delights me, someone who has a very Bourguignon palette.
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.
Today there are some lovely aromas of red fruit (cassis) after the blackberry notes it had at first. It ends with pepper aromas, so typical of Mourvèdre wine. I really like it and it will be, whatever happens, a very special wine since it is the first Bandol wine that I have ever made.
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...
One day I will need to find a name for this wine... Perhaps you can help me with this. I really love everything having a "maritime" connotation. To your keyboards, then... 
To comment on Jean-Marc's story, click here. You may use the same link to name this new wine. To see some of the names readers have submitted, check the previous comments box.


In other news... Timber! Attention à l'arbre qui tombe! Jean-Marc and neighbor Jean-Mo are busy felling a few pines not far from the front porch. The men are soaking wet, but the rain doesn't seem to bother them. 
La Ciotat 8.16.03 047
Ma fille et moi (2003). Random photo -- don't miss the story Le Frisson. Click here and thanks for reading!
Best Tips for Learning French
In this post from the word a day archives, readers share their best tips for learning the language. Don't miss it, here

Where to Rent a Car in France?
In this post, readers tell where they go to reserve a car rental. Click here.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
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.


Trésor Perdu (des Rivages de Bandol)

Fils Prodigue

(For what was lost is found, & the other obvious meaning)

Jackie Pace

Name: SEASHORE for your new wine

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

FWIW, the image meant to show in the frist space is a blank for me, as e-mail and on line. "Images intégrées 1" us what I do see.

Making me all the more curious what I missed.

It is amazing to see grapes mashed by foot. Always heard about it, never saw it.

It is nice how people in vineyards share with each other.

Hope the 300 liters of wine turn out great!

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Maybe Calanque or Calanque de something. If there is a black currant taste, then Calanque de Cassis

Debbie Ambrous - www.AFrenchOpportunity.com

I will be interested in hearing more about the wine you salvaged from the remnants. I would call this one "remnant" (What is the French word for remnant?) for the remaining grapes. It isn't a sea theme, but meaningful anyway. I never knew how much work was involved in wine making until I read "The Ripening Sun" by Patricia Atkinson. I felt exhausted just reading it! I am more interested than previously. I hope you have great success.
Debbie at www.AFrenchOpportunity.com


"Perles de la sirène"

"Étoile de la mer"

"Chateau de la Siréne"

"Prince de la mer"

Sea, wine, thinking of fairy tales ...!


Pour toujour toujour JULES

Since this will be an 'inhouse wine' only, I could last forever.



Kathleen from Connecticut

Pres de la mer...can't do the accents on my IPad


julie camp

Fascinating experience well told. A name for the wine: Beau Cadeau. -julie-


Enjoyed this account. Perhaps

Le miel de la mer or

Neptune Noir


The wine's name: La petite sirène souffle
[little mermaid's breath)

liz g.

such a delightful story, thanks for sharing. some suggested names:

le capitaine tresor-the captain's treasure
le passager clandestin peu-the little stowaway
voile pourpre-crimson sail
tresor vole-stolen treasure
tresor cache-hidden treasure

judi dunn

Jean-Marc... Your story was charming and I applaud your writing talents! I will offer two names... AME DE LA MER...... 'soul of the sea'..... or AME DE BANDOL.....'soul of Bandol' ....Amicalment,
Judi Dunn.. Tallahassee, Fl.


A few more names to add:
Baiser sirène [Mermaid's kiss], Or
Baiser de la mer [Kiss from the sea] or Baisers Mer [Sea kisses]

Gwyn Ganjeau

au pieds de la mer (since you stomped the grapes)!

Gwyn Ganjeau

oops, i don't think i intended the 's' on pied...

John Abeles


David Navarre

I'm thinking that since these grapes were rescued by a Frenchman, supported by an American, something in reference to Operation Dragoon would be appropriate. Operation Dragoon was the invasion of Southern France in August of 1944, which involved both French and American troops. French troops liberated Toulon and Marseilles, and assuredly Bandol as well. Though, since "dragon" is the French word for "dragoon", perhaps "La Liberation"?

Bill Facker

Big Toe Rouge ... Aloha, Bill :-)

Susie Q. Finley

How about "Brume de la Mer"?


Loved your adventure with a new wine, Marc!
How about La brise de la mer?
Best to you on your new wine!


la part des diables


Que c'est formidable et utile d'écouter votre récit, Marc, de ce qui s'est passé après la vendange, aussi bien de le lire en français et en anglais! Une bonne leçon pour aujourd'hui donc félicitations à vous deux de l'avoir créée aussi bien pour avoir pensé à se profiter des grappillons et suivi votre inspiration jusqu'au bout, à la barrique et aux bouteilles!


Domaine Belle Mer


Loved this post. What an interesting story! Will you sell this wine or even be allowed to? Love the whole idea of it; saving something that would have been wasted. And I wasn't expecting that large quantity of grapes. Jeez. Who helped you pick all of those? You are a real go-getter, that's for sure.





Excellent translation. Thanks!
I liked Oursin Bleu in the previous comments. You might also call it Littoral, like today's post.


Peut-être: Be'be' Bandol

Robin Everett

How about
Le Marin de Maté?

Loved the post! It was truly smashing;>)


Lovely description of your wine making passion.
I'm curious. Does the land by the sea slope up
to hills with vineyards growing near the water?
I'm eager to see more photos.

nadine goodban

"le bandolier" ....

Bonne chance à tous !

Cynthia Lewis in Salisbury, Eastern Shore of Maryland

Mille mercis for this wonderful FWAD which even had videos!! I wouldn't miss these adventures of the Espinasse family for the world.

I'm not adept at suggesting names, but I'm certain that you will choose the perfect name for your very first Bandol wine. Best regards.

P.S. ... such a sweet, sweet photo of Kristin and Jackie.....

Chief Grape

Thank you all for your offerings. I will digest them and probably set a poll with the ones that speak the most to me.

Gena Evans

Joyau de la cote????? Jewel of the coast

What fun to choose a name for your find!

Christine Webb-Curtis

Kristin and Marc,

Wonderful description. I think Ame de la Mere evokes pleasant thoughts without even taking a sip.

As it happens, the Agay area is our hands-down favorite beach place in France. Our boys have jumped off the rocks--probably in that same cove in the photo--and kayaked around the bay. We visited Bandol last week and enjoyed our day. See penattheready.com for my post.

We're in France through end of year.

Best regards,


Rosemarie in Louisville, KY

How about: 'Domaine JMK' (which could stand for Jacquie-Maxime-Kristin or for Jean-Marc-Kristin) for your winery and 'Maratime' for the wine?

Amanda Anderson

"La part des Anges" caught me by surprise. Just smiling thinking of all of the rosy cheeked angels resting on the clouds after partaking of your husbands delicious wine :)

Amanda Anderson

In regards to naming the wine.....it seems like it came about with the "Seaside Collaboration" of many talented and giving people.

barbara michels

Some of my names were already picked; so how about "cadeau de la mer", "vignes d'un marin"; or "les levres de la mer".

Jo-Ann Taylor

I suggest "Maritime"


commencement a la mer
le debut a la mer
d'abord a la mer
quelque chose avec le debut et la mer combine'


Loved this post!! Beautiful and fascinating story. Very vivid to the imagination. I love the devotion you both have to your passions, each other and your family. It is inspiring to read how you took something left behind and made it into something special.

George Edwards

Cuore de Terra

Delia Bourne

How about Siren's Call?

Jeff Johnson

La Mer Qui Souffle

Suzy, Madison, WI

I would love to sample some when it is ready! Peut-etre, côtière découverte?


How is '%' pronounced in French? I heard 'day-gray' when J-M was reading the alcohol content of his new wine.


Coucou JM, une petite erreur dans le premier paragraphe: "Notre parcours nous a fait traverser" (pas: traversé)


Captain Jean Marc, the proper name would be "Angels Share", of course. (Don't know how to write it in French. Have never heard this before so loved your sharing the story.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)