October 20th, 2008

Hi All

Its been a couple of weeks since I last updated you all on what’s what, so here goes.

Wine first: The rose is settling and clearing up nicely – going to be a lovely fairly true pale pink, as its the combination of 30% grenache (more orange-oriented) with 70% Cinsault (red-hued). And the flavors are following the color – bright red fruits (strawberry and cherry) with citrus undertones. I thinbk its going to be good.

The reds are finishing secondary fermentation – the “Cuvee” is done and gets racked today- and the Cote du Rhone red should finish by Wednesday- then racking….and then we wait for a month or so for things to settle..and voila..WINE!

By the way – they have an interesting twist here on what to do with the refuse from the winery. All the by-products, both the skins and seeds from pressing as well as the lies from racking – MUST be sent to one of the local distilleries for their use in making marc and eau de vie, etc. Not only is it mandatory, but there are reporting checks and balances to ensure that what you say you had is the same as what the distillery receives. Its a real symbiotic relationship – and also one that makes use of what would otherwise be landfill. Someone’s been thinking……

House next: Not much new – we’ve started on the second bedroom (room with a view) – hole is in the wall for the new window, and we’re starting on the new walls. New front door is due in by end of the month. So no new pictures this week

Everything Else: Not much new. Made it safely to and from Seattle (with the stop in San Francisco for the VISA). Nice visit (way short) with family and friends – and hurrying back to look after the wine…after all, it IS my job.

Now that I am back, VISA in hand – my first thing to do was to go and apply for a residency card – you can’t live here without it – you can’t get it until you have a VISA, and then you HAVE to apply for it within 1 week. And it takes a month or so to get, so I am not yet quite street legal – but getting closer.

And I have spent a couple of mornings with Julien (M. Marignane) going from one Wine Coop/Agency/Customs Office / Interested Party to another – seems like we’ve been to 6 or 7 – to get various required registration numbers. Turns out you need one for reporting winery operations, and another for paying the taxes on said operations, and another for knowing where the winery is, and another for who’s AOC you are in,and another one if you sell to stores, and another if you want to export …and on …..I will tell you, however, that there is NO WAY I could have accomplished what we did in those mornings on my own. With him beside me, as the previous owner – with all the previous records – it was a no-brainer to get things transfered over…and of course every one was very helpful. But – I would never have known even where to start. And Julien just said ..” well – we go here, and then here, and then here”…and it was done…..like…magic. I am very lucky he has stayed to help – and we have come to be friends.

AND THEN, today I went with my accountant to the MSA – which is the Medical Insurance office – and found out that I don’t have all the right paper from all the right agencies from when I bought this place..?!?!?!? One more group – the DDA – apparently needed to be involved and wasn’t, and they have to give me ANOTHER different registration ID number…..which will make like about 25 of them I have…..and then I can go and register for health insurance -to get another number (26th?) – -but, of course, I need my residency card too…..which I won’t have for a month…..so………..WOW – LOTS OF PAPER. But I am getting closer to being a real person here.

On a brighter side, some friends from home are in the area (biking in the Luberon – two valleys over). They came by this weekend and we spent some time in Chateauneuf-du-Pape tasting wine and telling tales. They got to meet my friend Jean Marie Royer – a fabulous winemaker in Chateauneuf. (By the way – if you spot his wines – Domaine Jean Royer – snatch them up – he continues to get great reviews and his wines are wonderful.) Had a great dinner up at the ruins of the chateau. They’re a great group – and it was nice to see familiar faces.

Well – all for now – I need to get to racking – the barrels are calling. More soon.