Evening market in Montlaur

Our friends Alex and Luc invited us to a market/barbecue in Montlaur on Tuesday.  We brought wine, as usual. They have a big organic garden produce veggies…radishes, strawberries…etc.  The sausage and potato chip were not produced in their garden but they do give a certain ballance to the photo.

Barcodes !

I recently got a “we need barcodes on the bottles” e mail from Doug, our US importer and distributer.  I have to admit I had mixed feelings about the whole barcode thing.  

On one hand, I thought “wow, we are for real now!” People will be carrying the bottle above to a check-out counter somewhere and it will be BEEPED through.  What a step.  
It’s an even bigger step when I think about my first trip home with 24 of our bottles in my luggage.  Their labels had been printed on our printer at home and glued on the bottles with milk (an excellent glue by the way).     On the other hand, we — the milk labelers – have BARCODES! We do EVERYTHING the long labor-intensive way.   It’s a shock to be so efficient, so modern.  At least the shock was tempered by the fact that the first batch had to be barcoded by hand one by one because we had already printed barcode-less labels….not so efficient, not so modern!



I had to go to Toulouse yesterday to deliver wine.  That is the official story and I’m sticking to it.  The details are admittedly a little more fun.

Didier and I met a very cool couple when we were selling wine at a farmers’ market at the Cité de Carcassonne. They both had bright colored glasses frames – he had a waxed mustache and must be thirty, thirty-five maybe.  So daring!

So the daring couple liked our wine.  We liked the daring couple.  It also happens that the daring couple is opening a restaurant in Toulouse…you see where I am going with this…

So yesterday, I drove 160 miles (round trip) to deliver 4 bottles of wine – free samples, to Mr. waxed mustache, we can call him Philippe, because that’s his name, and fab orange glasses, Sarah. Their restaurant is totally under construction.  Its official sign is taped to the window with scotch tape. (see photo)

I am loving this.

I went to such great lengths to get our wine to Sarah and Philippe because I had a cunning plan. I had not come to Toulouse alone…

en terrace

It had been 12 years since I had spent a day in Toulouse.  I called Alice and Kat weeks ahead of time. We figured out how to get all of our blonde girl-children fed at lunchtime without their moms and we were off.


We went to a café to have lunch under beautiful shady trees. We drank Perrier and cold rosé and ate quiche and meat pies.  I will spare you any incriminating photos of the many pairs of gorgeous shoes that were tried on.

So all in all it was very hard work (while Didier was in Douzens, spreading 20 tons of compost on the vineyards with a rake)!….

place occitanie
and then to top it all off we had ice cream

Cowgirl picnic

Saturday we were invited to a picnic organized by a friend who raises cattle…you know, a cowgirl. We met up with her in a tiny village in the back of beyond and then followed for at least a half an hour up a dirt road to the plateau where she has her cows.  I’m thinking picnic. Blankets on the ground. Sandwiches. I was a little off.

We ate lots of raw beef with capers.  THE beef… from THE cows (see photo with the future cowgirl).  It was memorable.
We had to taste a lot wonderful (mostly) local wine… Domaine de Beaujeu , our Ventilo 2011, Petites Mains from Domaine de Regazel, a wine from Augergne and a Merlot from Domaine de Roquenégade.  
which took awhile…
Meanwhile Lili’s answer to the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” was rapidly changing from “painter” (the usual response) to “cowgirl.” 
Lili vachère

And just because it’s beautiful, the view from the composting toilets.  I’m thinking that I might want to be a cowgirl too when I grow up. 


Vue toilettes sèches

Kids at cocktail hour

  nina olive

Friday night wine was opening night for the Caveau du Clos in Lezignan. We had left some samples with the owner and thought we’d check the place out… all four of us.  There were petit fours and sparkling rosé.  Delicious sparkling rosé.  I will have to send out spies to find out what it was.

Nina, because of the many cocktail hours she attends, likes olives.   Here she is pearched on Didier’s wine glass making a face that I took to mean “it’s sour, but I like it”.  One thing about local wine  events – in the under 6 category, Nina is never alone.

little leg

There was Margot, who was there with her parents – and her fancy shoes.  Georgeous chubby legs- wine glass….

petits sous le vin

and then there were the children under the shelves of bottles hiding out.

Children and wine… who knew? Ah the frogs…

Here comes summer !

It’s that time of year again! The Ventilo rosé 2011 email ad campaign for friends of Colline de l’hirondelle is back (politically correct as always). We started with 200 cases…after day one we’ve only got 171 left! to be continued…

stormy sky in May

We raised  trellis wires on the syrah on this wintery May afternoon.  I’ve even got the polar fleece tube scarf on.  It’s pretty cold if I’ve got the tube scarf on.

Whole aside on the Sorels – they’re the boots in this fetching shot of me.  Thank you to the fancy lady who gave them to the second hand store in Westport, Connecticut.   I found them and knew that I would have happy feet in the vineyards all winter but I had no idea I would be wearing them at the end of May.  That said, it rained all afternoon in Cannes… all the stars in their fancy garb got drenched! No me, I’m dry and toasty – I got my Sorels!

feet feet Blog Post Mai 2012

A little of what you missed

We even had the elementary school harvest grapes ( with their little scissors – that don’t even cut paper – and their plastic beach buckets ). I took the liberty of picking a photo with my child in front so I won’t have to send release forms around the village. The line of children was impressive – the whole school hoofed it over to the vineyard and then made little pots of yummy grape jam with hand drawn labels. 

CT Tastings!

Freezing cold outdoors views of the famous Fountainhead wine shop in Norwalk CT!

Here’s the whole family in Fountainhead wine shop with Mark our buddy … a card-carrying member of the Colline’s American team! And yes all of those bottles are ours.  The Colline takes the US by storm!!

…so Did set her up for her close up with the wine named at the same time she was.  ( Lili actually wanted HER to be named Cocolico – that was Lili’s contribution to our LONG list of names for Nina.  Lili was convinced that Cocolico was THE name for her sister so her parents – to avoid sadness and scenes decided that the Lili’s beautiful name would be perfect for our new wine – Thanks Lili) –>
Such a close up.

In very good company – with our friends from Peterson Winery!

Lili with the wine she named. (Cocolico is a mix of cock-a-doodle-doo and the name of the little red poppy so common in France – with a flashy orange label the color of the California Poppy! Such a story!)