Hello to All

Been a while.  I have a few new things to share.

Vineyard first:

Vineyards in the area are all doing well.  We’ve had seasonably warm (70’s and 80’s) weather together with a few thunderstorms, so the plants are thriving.  And, of course, so are the weeds.  I have been watching from afar as the folks at Domaine Saint Prefert tackle ‘my’ vines.  Looks like it is going to be a good crop – flowering went well, with no heavy rain or wind to disturb the flowers turning into fruit.


I have the 2010 Cotes du Rhone in bottles, and some I have labeled and ready for sale.  Labeling has been a hand-done process this year – many of you may know that my neighbor had been letting me ‘rent’ his labeling machine – but he and I are no longer close since he got upset ( can you say temper tantrum) when I sold the vineyards to someone else………

The 2010 Ombre du Chateau will be following it this month.  With friends arriving from Seattle, I have a great opportunity to put them to work helping me label/capsule bottles (they have a surprise coming….).

Sales continue to languish this Spring and into Summer.  I cannot think of a good reason why, but its way down from last year, and even the year before that. Good think I don’t have to make a living off of it..

Tour Business

The touring business is starting to grow a bit.  I have conducted 5 so far, with reservations for 3 more on the books – all since the first of May.  So I am pleased with the way it is starting out.  And so far its all by internet.  I have flyers printed up, but have not yet distributed them into local hotels, etc., because I am about to off on vacation for a couple of weeks – seems like putting up flyers..and then not being here….not cool.  So as soon as I get back – out they go (again, perhaps with help from my friends…..).


Lots of news on the personal side.


So – I had to go to Paris to do it.  Its the ONLY school in France that both teaches the course and gets the examination in English. That meant having to go up to Paris more than once to get it done….as it turned out it meant 3 trips.  First was for 3 1/2 days – intensive studying for the written exam (its REALLY TOUGH) and then to take the exam.  And, of course, they CANCELLED the exam at the last minute.  So, I had to go back about 2 weeks later.  And because the exam is in the morning, I had to go up the day before- again.  Passed it with flying colors !! YAY!!  NOTE: as many of you may remember, back about 18 months ago I tried it in French and failed miserably, so this was a BIG deal to get that behind me.
SO, written exam in hand, its off to driving – 8 hours required before the school would put me up for the test.
ASIDE: You who know me, know that I am now 62.  I have been driving legally and otherwise, since I was 11 1/2 – so call it 50 years of experience…..and I am required to take driving classes and an exam..really ??!

So – Off I go for the driving part.   Did a couple of hours the day the written exam was cancelled – and then a couple more the day of the exam…and then 3 hours the day before the driving test.  So I got in 7 out of 8.  Intensive stuff – particularly to un-learn some of the bad habits we all get into.  I mean, come on!! – full 2 second stops at stop signs ??  Who does that!?!?!

Show up for the morning test, and I am thirs in line.  So I  wait for about an hour (test takes 25-30 min).  Finally get behind the wheel with the examiner and off we go.  20 minutes later we’re done…and I’m good to go!! Whew..finally.

BTW – the LAW is that once you have received your Carte se Sejour (Residency card) – you have to have a driver’s license in a year…for me its been 3 1/2..oops…………

Next up – – NEW CAR

With the re-focusing of the business into the touring area, its seemed like the old Kangoo just wasn’t gonna cut it.  A little small…..a little light on the luxury…and no AC…and summer is coming…..and it’s gonna be hot….

So – I stepped up and bought a ‘new’ vehicle – a 2009 Nissan QASHQAI.+2.  Its their French/European crossover model.  The one I bought holds 5 comfortably and 7  in a pinch.  Its nicely equipped with most of the bells and whistles – AC, Bluetooth for phone, CD/MP3 player, cruise control, sunroof.  Its a nice rig, and the one I found had only 40,000 miles on it – which for a diesel is no big deal.  Runs well – with a 6-speed its got plenty for the highway. Just picked it up in time for summer, and visitors. So when you come, I can show you around in style!!

I think that’s about it for today.  Ned to get organized for my tour tomorrow.

Be well.