Hi all

Its been about six weeks since last I updated you all, so I have a number of things to let you know about.

House: Absolutely nothing new…..have been totally focused on the vineyard and the wine, and have spent no time at all even thinking about the house. And, lets face it, I spent more than I had planned to get it into shape, so I am just going to live with it ‘as is’ for now. And since there is really nothing major left to, I’ll just pick away at the details. Of course this is another way of telling you that the house IS ready for company…..hint. Spring has started to arrive, and with it some of the trees have started to show it, so things are starting to get pretty as the weather warms up.

Vineyard: We finished the winter pruning, and the digging-up of the dead vines over the last couple of weeks. We did a fairly heavy pruning this year (as you can see by comparing the two photos). Notice how the result does look like a goblet – hence the name.

I still have not quite mastered the back-hoe…my multi-hand coordination doesn’t exactly match with the professionals!! So it takes me a bit longer…but I did get about 350 plants pulled up…ready for replanting next month.

We will fertilize next week, and then start the spring / summer plowing program (once a month or so until July).

WINE: Bigger news on the wine. As I told you last time, the rose had passed through the ‘judging’ without any issues, and was ready for bottling. But we missed the window of bottling truck availability and had to reset until mid-March. Well – we got it done yesterday! We bottled all the rose (about 900 bottles), with labels, and boxes, etc. So we have wine to start selling.

I am actually quite happy with the way in which the rose turned out. It is a very nice, dry, yet fruit-forward combination of cinsault and grenache. With its very salmon-pink coloration, it is really quite nice.

We also bottled about 650 bottles of the red, but without labels or capsules. We still have not resolved whether the red will be a Cotes du Rhone wine or a Vin de Table. But, in the interest of getting the bottling folks to do the job for me, I needed more than just the small amount of rose to make it worth their while. And, in bottling without label or capsule, the wine can be labeled for whatever its future use – including potentially exporting to the US (hint to Tamara..).

And I can also use it for the Open House – New Release party which I am holding on the first Saturday in April. I sent out about 250 invitations to M.Marignane‘s previous customers, friends, winemakers, etc. I am looking forward to seeing what the reaction is….”Portes Ouvertes” are not typically done here, but it seemed like a great way to get the name out there, and to let people know the domaine was back open for business……we’ll see………

Personal: I received a preliminary, temporary ‘Carte de Sejour‘…my residency card!! It is good until mid-May. The real one I should get as soon as I get a physical this week – just another in the long list of things required..which seem to crop up one at a time. The last latest wrinkle was that they needed a copy of my Birth Certificate, which of course I had to send away to get…always something. But at least now I am street legal and can come and go from France without issue!!

That’s all for today – I need to get out into the vineyard and get the netting up on the small plants…they are a favorite food for the local rabbits (les lapins) who eat the new growth (yum) and stunt the ability of the plant to develop. So we put a stake into the ground at the side of the plant, and then wrap the stake/plant in a plastic mesh …makes them into ‘look but don’t eat’ .

Be well out there.