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Une épreuve: Do you know the French word?

Jean-Marc in Mas des Brun wine cellar
Jean-Marc in the early days at Mas des Brun near Bandol

Today's Word: une épreuve = a trial, a test
Synonyms for the French word épreuve include adversité, malheur (hardship), and even calamité. Now for the cheerful antonyms: bonheur (happiness), réussite (success), joie (joy). Every one of these nouns describes our 10-year stay at two French vineyards. For years Jean-Marc has wanted to tell the story of his rise and fall as a vigneron. Now, 18 chapters (36 published installments) later, we are making good progress. Mille mercis to our active mécenes or sponsors, terms synonymous with those who are purchasing our book. We greatly appreciate your support.

Soundfile: listen to Jean-Marc read the following:
Dans le livre que nous écrivons avec Kristi, je parle des différentes épreuves rencontrées dans nos deux vignobles. In the book we are writing with Kristi, I talk about the different trials encountered in our two vineyards.

Excerpt from our memoir, The Lost Gardens
St Cyr-sur-Mer, July 2017

Using the leftover wine cartons initially used to bottle my first and most probably last vintage of Mas des Brun, I am boxing the almost 2,000 bottles accumulated for the last 25 years.

Each of them relates to my wine path, bottles bought, exchanged, produced during our numerous life changes, some bottles have actually moved 8 times! But, like my family, they have faithfully followed me for my wine passion which, during all these years, has given me so much joy... and pain.

I really thought this place was the terminus of our many moves. In 2012, after almost 6 years of hard work, starting and orbiting Domaine Rouge-Bleu, we had found our promised land, the one where to eventually build my dream vineyard from scratch with an existing magnificent centenary olive grove, next to the Mediterranean, next to my family, friends, roots...

I was so sure about keeping this place forever that I remember boasting to those around me that this place was priceless, that I would never consider selling it, not even for 10 times more than it might be worth! This was when I had the feeling of being "King of the World," the conviction that nothing could prevent me from raising Mas des Brun to the same level of Romanée-Conti. My future wines would be the nec plus ultra of Bandol! In those early days were the times where I felt so "high"....

Packing up our wine bottles, I don't feel down. This very depressing period is already behind me. I just want to get ready for another move, which is still uncertain (and which will depend on the goodwill of the French administration...)...and finally "turn the page".

     *    *    * 

Below is a list of Chapter Titles to give you an idea of the book's contents, and the sub-themes in the story, including marriage, sobriety, and faith. To purchase our book, click here.


Kristi's narrative Jean-Marc's narrative
Chapter 1: In Limbo Chapter 1.5: Turning the Page
Chapter 2: A New Domaine and Doubts Chapter 2.5: A Dream Reignited
Chapter 3: Relationships: The Jar Analogy Chapter 3.5: A Mythical Summit
Chapter 4: Marriage Vows Chapter 4.5: The Stars Were Aligned
Chapter 5: A Sober Decision Chapter 5.5: What if we move to the States?
Chapter 6: Time to Surrender Chapter 6.5: The Roller Coaster Syndrome
Chapter 7: The Courage To Stay The Course     Chapter 7.5: Asking My Vines for a Favor
Chapter 8: A Close Call Chapter 8.5: Finding Level Ground
Chapter 9: Writing Through it All Chapter 9.5: The Story behind the Lunatic Label
Chapter 10: Adieu Doreen Chapter 10.5: Mas des Brun-Too Good to be True?
Chapter 11: Moving? Again? Chapter 11.5: Who Needs Meds in Paradise?
Chapter 12: The Big Move and our Pagaille Chapter 12.5: Paradise has too many Trees
Chapter 13: A Mas and a Marriage Chapter 13.5: Hurluberlu? 
Blog excerpt: Mom Visits Blog excerpt: So Much for Anonymity
Chapter 14: Staying Sober at two Wineries Chapter 14.5: In Memory: A Touching Dedication
Chapter 15: Laisse-Moi Faire! Chapter 15.5: Moving Mountains
Chapter 16: The Garden of Healing Chapter 16.5: First Whispering of a Wineshop
Chapter 17: Double Trouble Chapter 17.5: In the Eye of a Cyclone
Blog excerpt: A Sobering Intermission  
Chapter 18: Pot in the Potager? Chapter 18.5 (coming up next!)

bougainvillea at mas des brun
View from a 2nd-floor window at our vineyard. When we moved to Mas des Brun in 2012, this bougainvillea was a dying stub (frozen the previous winter). What a joy to watch it regenerate.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety