There's a dog in there somewhere...and he looks hopeless. But there is a happy ending to this story. Read on.
TODAY'S WORD: un soulagement
: a relief
C'était un soulagement de voir que la mise en bouteilles s'est bien déroulée.
It was a relief to see that the wine-bottling unfolded well.
ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Soulagement
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Jean-Marc was highly agitated about the upcoming wine-bottling which would take place at our vineyard. In the organizational phase, nothing was working out. This began when the first bottling truck could not make it up our hairpin allée privée....
From there it was a scramble to find un prestataire, or wine bottling service provider, who could find a way up our driveway. In the end, no one could, so Jean-Marc found another way... He called our friend and fisherman, Jean-Michel. Jean-Michel had a powerful 4X4. The wine bottling machine (on its own giant wagon) could be dropped off at the local pizzeria, Chez Henri, where our friend Jean-Michel would then reel the one ton wagon up our hill! Well, that part went very well, avec une telle efficacité! Thanks, Jean-Michel!
If only the same could be said about the bottles delivery. Same problem: getting a large truck up the hill. After many tries, and much strain on Jean-Marc, he finally took the matter into his own hands. Bypassing the transport service, which was stuck at the bottom of the road, he called a local truck rental and transferred all 3000 bottles from the giant truck to la camionnette. Many broken bottles later, the relay truck arrived in front of our cellar.
Only now the race was on, at sundown, to get 3000 bottles unloaded from the van. This was done bottle by bottle!
I could not believe the scene when I arrived for the last leg of the delivery. Bottles and broken glass everywhere! Jean-Marc, having ordered the second truck, had rushed to the store to buy giant garbage bags in which to catch so many bottles coming off the second truck. Two men stood inside the camionnette, transferring bottles to Jean-marc, who caught them in the giant bags. Jean-Marc had been running a race from the store to the pizzeria back to his winery, and the strain on his face was as big as his racing heart.
I stood beside my husband with a giant bag of my own, but I could only catch half the weight in bottles. We hurried back and forth from the van to the cellar, as bottles poured out of the sky.
It was dark and cold out when the last bouteille was emptied from the truck. Jean-Marc told me to go inside. "C'est bon. Tu peux rentrer à la maison, chérie."
Thinking the trial was behind us, I began making soup and running a hot bath for the weary winemaker, who I expected would arrive any time now. Only he still had not returned from the cellar, an hour later. Fearing the worst (had all those bottles toppled over him?) I headed to the door when the phone rang. Jean-Marc was on his way in, after some final arrangements in the cellar.
After the transport disaster, there was no reason to believe the actual wine bottling--scheduled for the next day--would go well. Jean-Marc had every reason to fear more chaos, and so took out all of his soucis in a fitful night of sleep. But the big day came and went, yesterday, and it was a peaceful bottling day at that!
Our children's friends came to help us. Though Max was away at school in Montpellier, his good friend Antoine arrived, using all his skills garnered from working in restaurants. A key player in yesterday's production line, he was also a sight to behold as he glided, like Fred Astaire, back and forth from the cellar to where the bottles came off the production line. In between receiving and stocking bottles, Antoine kept the area tidy, sweeping debris out of the way and picking up broken glass from the night before.
Jackie ditched a day of school to offer helping hands. She called her friend Pauline and her boyfriend Jeremy, who respectively loaded bottles onto the machine and moved them through to ticketing. And my rockstar sister-in-law showed up, ever ready to help! Cécile's job was to construct the wine boxes in which I, near the end of the line, set the bottles coming off the conveyor belt.
Jean-Marc supervised the whole productive chain, moving all the wine in the process - from the tank, where he literally tipped the last drop out of the 2000 liter container, to the last bottle which he stacked, with the help of Fred Astaire, at the back of the cellar.
Keeping up with the conveyor belt, which spit out bottles for me to catch, I had to stop every now and then to behold la sérénité that washed over the entire enterprise, to cleanse a once-defeated winemaker. If you could only have seen the look on his face. C'était la paix.
We will keep you posted about where to find our wines in the US. For the moment, it will be available in the Spring in OR, TX, DC and Southern CA. We can also ship within France.
Please email Jean-Marc (email@example.com) for more details.
Stories you may have missed:
The Serenity Prayer in French and in English, click here
Increase your vocabulary with these words. More tools here.
une allée or voie privée = driveway
un prestataire = a service provider
avec une telle efficacité = with such efficiency
la camionnette = small truck or van
une bouteille = bottle
un souci = a worry
c'est bon = everything is under control
tu peux rentrer = you can return
à la maison = to home
c'était la paix = it was peace
Jean-Marc took this photo of his team at lunchtime, where we enjoyed pizza and a traditional Galette des Rois. To see a video of the bottles coming through the wine-bottler-on-wheels, follow us at Instagram