We will never forget
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French for "from scratch"

Jean-Marc Espinasse Wine Spectator

Taken from The Wine Spectator magazine, the line just above, inspired today's expression...

from scratch

    : à partir de rien, de zéro

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence Download MP3 or Wav file

Créer un vignoble à partir de rien, c'est pas commun aujourd'hui.
Starting an estate from scratch has become rare around here.

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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

When our alarm rang at 5:45 this morning I mumbled "Good night!" in French.

"Bonjour,"Jean-Marc replied. The creaking of our armoire, a wedding gift from 20-years ago, was a splash of cold water to my face and now my mind was percolating away as my husband pulled on his threadbare jeans and searched for a warm enough shirt. Early mornings in the vineyard are cold, even if the nearby beaches are already hot with Bardot lookalikes.

Thankfully my husband has eyes only for vines. That is why we call him Chief Grape. I waited until Chief left the room to stretch out over his side of the bed. It's not fair to rub it in, when you get to sleep in.

Next I heard our coffee-maker, which sounds just like Jean-Marc's prehistoric tractor. Both machines hum like dinosaurs! Come to think of it, this all must be music to my husband's boyish ears--a thundering overture for his daily grape adventure.

Just like a kid Jean-Marc ran back into the room this morning, to share an exciting discovery: an article about his labors in the Wine Spectator!

"I can't wait to read it!" I cheered.

Returning to bed now, with a cup of Tyrannosauras Joe, I clicked open my email to search for the link Jean-Marc had promised to send me.

I found it, and a whole lot more. My husband's note read:

Thank you for making my dreams come true

I Love you


*    *    *
Here is the link to that wonderful article on Jean-Marc and I leave you with a few photos taken over the years, just after today's sponsors.

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Jean-Marc's first harvest (at his own vineyard). He was stick thin, having put all his weight into his first cuvée.


He gained back those kilos, along with experience as he continued to make his prize-winning wine


That serious look! His mind is so often on his grapes.


Serious look and seriously cramped working spaces -- all in the name of wine!


2007, in a cramped kitchen full of harvesters. That first year was the most trying, as evidenced by the scarecrow figures smiling back at you. Jean-Marc was NOT blessed with a vineyard wife, a tough broad who works beside him in the vineyard, then hurries back to the kitchen to make lunch for the entire crew. But that didn't stop Jean-Marc from making the leafy crown you see above, and naming me Queen of Harvest--La Reine de la Vendange--an award given to the one who tries, all the same. It was generous and thoughtful of Jean-Marc to write me that note this morning. But it is he who made his own dreams come true, with all that hard work and determination. So proud of you, Chief Grape!

Kristi at harvest
2007. In need of a good strong cup of Tyrannosauras Joe. 

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Thanks for sharing this post, and for reading the article about Jean-Marc.

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