The Heart of Wine Country

Most of my life has been completely alcohol free. I admit I tried to drink with my friends but hopelessly, I could never keep up. Less than a few sips will, to this day, render me completely inebriated for about 15 minutes, and then I am tragically ( as in Scarlett O’Hara with the plague) sick, for 3 weeks. 


So here I am living the life in France, in the heart of all things wine no less, and my wine experience is limited to tasting. For those of you that know, true tasting is done with a swirl of the red elixir twice and then spit into a bucket. No, swallowing is not the norm. The opportunities I’ve had to taste wine here have been few with the Bed and Breakfast end of the job taking the energy that it does. The most amazing realization about France is that even the most uneducated human souls here know their wine. I’m so pleased to see the traditions and culture that are normally reserved for the monied travellers in North America, are commonplace with every French person. From the strength of the wine to the soil the grapes are grown in, are all important to the average French citizen. 


This last summer The Boss and I took our seasonal staff on an outing to St Emilion, to experience how amazing France is and how deep the culture goes, right down to the roots of the vines. We wandered the streets of St Emilion, had lunch in the village square, explored the jewelry and art shops of this gorgeous UNESCO Heritage site, then toured an old family run vineyard. Not just any vineyard but a Grand Cru high ground, small estate vineyard. We toured with a lovely guide who answered a dozen or so of my random inquiring minds questions, and then she brought us inside to taste the wines. The Boss of course, a born Frenchman, is already skilled in wines but I was absorbing every sound, smell, and taste of the experience, along with our newbie staff. I may have been more excited about the tour than they were. 


Everyday seeing, doing, experiencing something new, is a necessary adventure for me. My photographer eyes are always calculating the scales of light, distance, and focus, looking for that moment of emotion that appears and disappears with the blink of an eye or the click of a shutter. Even when the camera is sitting on the desk resting ... my eyes are always watching for that moment to freeze in time. I could say I’ve been to St Emilion more than a few times now, but it will never get old. There will always be an un-surveyed view or vista that I missed the first 10 visits. When I was asked if going to this little gem of a town over and over will ever get old, I have to ask in return, The Heart of Wine Country will always be old, but haven’t I always admired the classics? Come on an adventure with us! We’ll start here 


A Bientôt!


Coleen Grey