S'emballer: Jean-Marc's heart after the 2019 Ironman Barcelona
Art and Contretemps, and a walk with writer Catherine Berry

Fournisseur: Photos from the Grand Opening of Jean-Marc's wineshop!

Inauguration window shop hours le vin sobre jean-marc espinasse la ciotat

On Thursday, October 10, my friends, suppliers and other guests came to the official opening of Le Vin Sobre La Ciotat. (See the French translation and listen to Jean-Marc read his words, below)


Today's Word: le fournisseur

    : supplier, provider

Click here to listen to the example sentence in French:

Le Jeudi 10 Octobre, mes amis, les fournisseurs et d'autres invités sont venus à l'inauguration officielle du Vin Sobre La Ciotat.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

This story is dedicated to our longtime friend Pascale Gauthier-Keogh, who could not be at the grand opening, but who helped enormously in getting the word out about our new wine shop. Merci, Pascale!

Here in La Ciotat there was quite a turnout for the inauguration of Jean-Marc's new wine shop, Le Vin Sobre. I drove to our cave à vin with friends Julie and Dan, visiting from Nice, and we arrived early enough to see the fournisseurs setting up. Our friend Lionel Alphand of Brasserie Alphand was already serving his beer-on-tap in front of the shop, and inside we met Stéphane from Maison Matthieu, busy preparing cured bonite (a kind of tuna) and said bonjour to Olivier from La Cave à jambon.

Olivier la cave a jambon la ciotat le vin sobre jean-marc espinasse
Olivier from La cave a Jambon
Lionel brasserie alphand le vin sobre la ciotat jean-marc espinasse
The wonderful Lionel Alphand, center, and our friends outside the wine shop

Another guest arrived and quietly introduced himself. Anthony Stagliano, from the service de la communication de la Ville de Ciotat, took photos and video clips throughout the event and made the extraordinary (and extraordinarily helpful!) video of the night's celebration, and we are so grateful! Merci à Anthony ainsi que La Ville de La Ciotat!

Friends began arriving, as well as vignerons and those representing our favorite wineries. Fanny was here from La Mascaronne! And there was Eric from Château de Pibarnon and also Jean-Christophe from Domaine du Paternel as well as Harry from Domaine de La Mongestine, where our son Max is currently completing his work-study.

inauguration vin sobre la ciotat max espinasse
our son Max and friends Marianne and Michel, and Nicolas

Christophe, Jean-Marc's shop assistant, who worked day and night to get thousands of bottles and stock into place, and most of the associates were present at this grand opening, including fondateur Fabrice Dammann who began the Vin Sobre Wine shops (there are now four, including ours) almost 20 years ago.

Jean-Marc called me over to meet the mayor of La Ciotat, Patrick Boré, who had arrived with several people from the mairie. Next, Jean Marc gave a touching speech before opening a giant 3-liter bottle of Billecart Salmon champagne for everyone.
As guests sipped bubbly, including me (sparking water) a reporter from La Provence who was taking notes turned to me ...
and posed a question that everybody's been asking...

D'ou viens le nom Le Vin Sobre? Just where did the shop name come from?

I thought about just how many times a day we get asked this question and it is time to set the record straight, or
mettre les choses au clair...

No, it has nothing to do with one of us being abstinent (as those of you reading our memoir-in-progress have guessed), it is, according to Le Vin Sobre founder, Fabrice, simply an amusing play on the words vin et sobre, wine and sober. 

I find it endlessly amusing, too!  This humorous and ironic twist--this vin, this sobre, could be the story of our lives.


l'inauguration = grand opening, unveiling
le vin sobre = (literally) the sober wine
le cave à vin =wine cellar (also used for wine shop)
ainsi que = as well as
la mairie = town hall, city hall
abstinent = teetotaler, non-drinker
d'ou viens = where does it come from?
mettre les choses au clair = to set the record straight


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


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Looks like a fun evening

lynda house

Looks amazing! What a tremendous achievement! Another new exciting chapter!


Bravo! It looks fabulous..loved the video also!

Cheryl in STL

Félicitations on such a wonderful opening and such an exciting endeavor! And thanks for sharing the video!


Bonjour, Kristi,
J’ai vu le vidéo. Le Vin Sobre est aussi une épicerie fine. Il vend plus que le vin et le vidéo nous montre bien le bel intérieur. J-M, quand a -t-il devenu un si bon marchand? Mes compliments à vous deux. Le Vin Sobre sera un grand succès!

Gail Accuardi


Carolyn Chase

The support of one's community is critical, not only to the success of a business, but a well rounded life in general - a mutual investment in one another. So glad to see that you had such a wonderful crowd for the opening, and wish for you the continued success of le Vin Sobre.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi and Jean-Marc,
Looks like a fun time! Congratulations and best of luck with your shop!


Congratulations - wishing you much success.

Audrey Wilson

A successful opening by the looks of it ,giving a fore taste of more success to come ,I'm sure . Bonne Chance Jean-Marc !!!

Suzanne Dunaway

FELICITATIONS!!!! J'espère que vous aviez beaucoup de succès avec le magasin du vin et je suis très désolé que nous n'habitons pas a Ciotat pour essayer tout les vins!



Our dear Kristi and Jean Marc,
Thrilled to see this wonderful night!
Wishing you all success and everything happiest always!
You so deserve it!
Natalia. xo


I'm confused--who is Fabrice? You say he is the founder--is he the ownre? I thought Jean-Marc was the owner. Is Jean-Marc then the manager, or is he a partner in the business?




Bravo!! What a wonderful turn out. You all must be so happy! Looks like a fantastic event. Best of luck to you and Jean-Marc!!


Best of luck in your new venture!! It looks quite enticing!!

Kitty Wilson-Pote

SUPERBE!!! Found the cool 90-second Inauguration video on Ville de La Ciotat's Facebook page -- terrific!

Love the website for the 'Le Vin Sobre' shops, too!

Félicitations a Tous!

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Teresa, this most elegant shop of Jean-Marc's is a franchise in an equally elegant chain of vintners and other fournisseurs!

Anne Umphrey

I missed seeing a photo of Jean-Marc in his new wine shop at the Grand Opening.
Congratulations. May it prosper always.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Your whole family seems to be in such a good place right now, which makes this reader very happy! ♥️

Chris Allin

In the video I recognized your friend Eric, (Chateau de Pibarnon) from some of your previous postings. Such a wonderful group of friends and community you have.

Cynthia Crane Story

WOW! Really exciting. Major congratulations. Warms the heart.

Karen Cafarella

So Exciting.


Judy Feldman

Congratulations and best wishes to you & Jean Marc on this exciting new venture. And, thanks for explaining the name!


Kristi and Jean-Marc, Congratulations and best wishes to both of you in this exciting new venture.


I wil talk about this stuff with fellows after new york to niagara falls tour.

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