En vrac + most visited pages at French Word-A-Day
Tirer sa reverence & Jean-Marc's quiet tribute

Planter des Vignes + photos of our growing vineyard!


Baby vines are capped in red wax. The leaves will soon burst through.

Bonjour! Mostly pictures for you today--an exciting phase 2 in the story of our Bandol vineyard, "Mas des Brun." Enjoy and thank you for reading. (To see the videos, visit my instagram page.)

planter les vignes

    : to plant vines

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Planter les vignes. Mon papa et mon frère plantent les vignes.
To plant vines. My dad and my brother plant vines. 

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

Last night 5000 baby vines were delivered to our home. Jean-Marc helped pile them onto the tractor-wagon before backing the tractor into our open garage.

"Do you think we should try to hide them?" I asked, having recently heard about local thieves. They will steal anything! a neighbor recently complained. Pots of paint, dirty gloves, broken tools!

Suddenly our stash of mourvedre looked like a tempting heist! Jean-Marc assured me not to worry, but I had to smile when he got up in the wee hours of the night to babysit his new vines. I got up earlier too, and after two cups of coffee felt as wired as a motherboard. 


I couldn't wait to see all the action in the field. There, in  the old oliveraie, Jean-Marc was about to plant his second parcel of vines. He had carefully planned it out, going as far as to uproot century-old olive trees (a difficult decision; the trees have been replanted elsewhere).


Our son Max, who is working more and more on the vineyard, had an exam and couldn't come until after lunch. So he sent his friend Antoine to help. 




Jean-Marc received non-stop telephone calls, making it difficult to concentrate on his task!


 "Au pif"--or measuring the rows "by guesswork". We were so lucky to have this professional and in demand team. The man in the middle is the boss, and his specialty is planting vines in tricky spaces--this century old olive grove is a special, very very special place to plant! Il faut respecter les arbres!



 Baby vines lines up and ready to go into the ground (you can barely see them on top of the earth. First, a hole is "drilled" with the paou (Provençale word for the "T" tool you see the man in blue holding).


The precise tool for planting grapevines.

Vines in bag

 Those sacks of precious vines.


 It is always a pleasure to see French traditions like this: the little wicker picnic baskets that the three men brought with them for their lunch.

Part of the planting team, flanked by Jean-Marc and me. These three men were so serious and quiet during the planting... and then suddenly chatty when the work was done. And what an honor when they said, on leaving, "à l'année prochaine!" (see you next year). We will need them more than ever, during phase 3... when our vines will travel up the side of the hill. 

See a video, here, of the entire equipe, or team, taken just moment ago before sunset. A toast to their hard work!


  • La Mère Porteuse: When Jean-Marc got his first vines and babied them like a surrogate mother.
  • Veuve de la vendange: find out what it is like to be married to a passionate winemaker, in the story "Crush Widow".

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 COMMENTS WELCOME and thanks again for reading.

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


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Sue Lennox

How danged exciting to get that second planting in and work with those interesting-looking professionals!

Priscilla Fleming Vayda

How exciting! The planting of the new vines. Loved the photos and commentary. Thanks so much Kristin. Can hardly wait for the harvest! and maybe one day a tasting of the wine.
Priscilla in La Nouvelle Orleans


That sunset you catch in the first video looks so beautiful. A lot of hard work but it will definitely pay off. Bon chance.

daphne mackay

For some reason, the last photo reminds me of "Under the Tuscan Sun" and the group of Polish workers who were so sweet. How lovely they will be back. I, too, loved the wicker baskets in the truck; so beautifully simple. Once again, I have been transported...Thank you! While I am commenting, want to tell you I bought all three of your books, read them over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed them. I especially loved the stories of the wise older man imparting his wisdom about plants. He reminded me of my uncle who bred rhododendrons in Nova Scotia. He was an inspiration to many and shared so much of his knowledge with anyone who was interested.

Karen Cafarella

How very exciting. The video is breathtaking!


What a wonderful immersion into the world of wine making...early steps. Looking forward to each step of the journey to les vins Bandol du Mas des Bruns.

Chris Allin

Such tremendous spirit, energy and optimism...Bravo!

Bill Facker

There aren't enough words to give Jean-Marc a proper congratulation on this incredible undertaking .. "Congratulations" seems so menial to the accomplishment! In appreciation and awe at your accomplishment, Jean-Marc .. Salut!

Don Read

Wonderful! I feel like I am there!

Mike Young

I've lived much of my life in the wine-growing part of South Africa. It's wonderful to see your pictures of how it's done in your part of the world. Thank you for sharing them with us all, Kristin

Cathia Gantz

Thoroughly enjoyed the planting day events--thank you for the photos. By American standards, those men ALL look teenagers from the neck down--very fit!

Jann feldman

I love every single post! Thank u for letting me live vicariously!

edie schmidt


Wishing you well with this exciting chapter in the growth of your vineyard!

Edie from Savannah

Bill in St. Paul

How exciting! I can't wait to try the first vintage.

24/7 in France

Such a great adventure - bonne chance!


This is very exciting, Kristin! Thank you for sharing this very special story with us, and through photos, nonetheless. I feel as though I took part in the planting. Well, you know, without the actual physical work involved. ;)

Anne Woodyard

So very exciting - we'll look forward to seeing these babies next time we visut!

N J Barbour

This was great to see! Thanks so much for sharing it.


Our dear Kristi,
Wow!I knew planting vines(and creating a vineyard!)was A LOT of work,but I honestly didn't envision exactly how much.
Your wonderful pictures say it all!
This will give me newfound appreciation the next time I enjoy a lovely sip--and thank you,JM,and
everyone who helped create this special treat.
Natalie Xo

Vance Anderson-Inks

How very exciting to "be there" at the beginning, and then watch everything start to grow, take shape and mature. Bless all the little shoots, may they grow and glow.


given the picture captioned "Jean-Marc received non-stop telephone calls" I have a suggestion for a gift that will let him make calls AND continue to work. Bluetooth headset.


Great photos! Thank you so much for sharing! I am so excited & happy for you both...can't wait for the harvest! I wish the wine could make it to Lafayette, La. Or at least to New Orleans, La...I would happily drive 21/2 hours to buy it! J' aime beaucoup du vin!
Bonne chance! And thank you for saving the olive trees!

Eileen deCamp

Congrats to everyone on this new vineyard! Love the photos!

Cynthia P. Lewis

What an important and exciting day! Your wonderful photos allowed all of your readers to appreciate and enjoy the day, too. Those ancient olive trees would have some fabulous tales to tell if they could send in their comments. Thank you so much ... best wishes!

Georgia from Northern CA

Congrats to all the hard working people I saw in the photos and video! I never have seen the beginnings of a vineyard. This was most interesting! I trust you will keep us posted on the developments! Someday, I am sure you will be posting about the first wine!

adeline richarson

Encore une nouvelle aventure! Thank you for sharing it with us!
Good-will, hard-work, skills, experience, motivation, implication, dedication, friendship, team-work... all of these combined to give birth to a new vineyard! Palpitant et émouvant! This is a fantastic example of what willpower can achieve! I will use it with my trainees! Good luck & best wishes to you baby vines, you definitely are in very nice, caring & loving family!

Heather in Arles

It was fun to get a preview on instagram but thank you so much for this - such a fascinating and wonderful event! Bravo à tout l'équipe!

Sue jean

This is one reason I get very impatient with people who refuse to pay over a very small amount for a bottle of wine. What you have shown is only the beginning of so much work and care that goes into wine making.

Audrey Wilson

Makes you appreciate the dedication which goes into that glass of red,rosé or white. I wish you all succes with these vines
From the Cotes de Roussillion .

Nancy Lobalbo

Oh Kristin! How exciting to see all the action in the vineyard! Your photos and captions make me feel that I am right there! I am hoping to get to see the real thing before long. We are spending 3 weeks in Aix en Provence and environs in April this year and we will try to pass by!

Carolyn Dahm

It's very exciting to see your new vineyard beginning! Best of luck with your beloved vines Jean Marc. We can't wait to visit you and Kristi one of these days and taste the result of all of your hard work! Felicitations!!!

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