Today was a long day! I started bright and early at 8 am and worked in the vineyard until 12. Our job was to go to each vine and remove the leaves that were lower that a foot above the ground. At first it wasn’t too bad, but then the sun started getting really hot and the Cabernet Franc vines were very stubborn. Lunch was a nice break from the sun, and I was relieved when Philippe told me I wouldn’t be going back out there in the afternoon. Instead, Laurie, Antoine and I did labeling of the bottles. I never realize how much I took that job for granted! After that, we had to move some barrels into a different room since there is another wedding reception there this weekend. Every weekend I’m here they’re booked for a wedding! It’s a really nice place though so I can see why people would want to have a reception here. Tomorrow I’m up bright an dearly (again) to head to Spain! We are taking the grandmother and her sister to their flat, and then we are staying at someone’s house for the weekend. I’m excited to relax on the beach!! It should be a good weekend, and I can’t believe I only have 15 days until I’m home!
Tuesday, July 9th: Tuesday I got an important job to do!!! I was told to fill up the oak barrels with the wine. First I had to sterilize the barrels with some sort of sulfur compound, then I got to fill them. It was tricky at first, making sure the wine was to the very top but didn’t spill out (that happened a few times) but eventually I got the hang of it. When I started on the last row of barrels, I ran into a bit of a problem. When I started filling the first barrel, it started leaking. I told Antoine, but he told me to keep going, so I did. When I finished the last 6, all of them were leaking. I knew the next day was going to be interesting having to clean it up!! Tuesday night I ended up eating dinner with the grandmother next door, and her 2 sisters. They were all very nice, and dinner was amazing! I also had some of the best cheese ever… They’re all about the cheese here, so I fit in great on that aspect!
Wednesday, July 10th: Wednesday was another BIB day, or bag in box day. I was in charge of folding the boxes, while Antoine filled up the bags with wine, and Laurie put said bags in the boxes and closed them. It was a long day, but I usually don’t mind the BIB’s. Wednesday also was Louise’s birthday. She just turned 12, and we had a really nice lunch to celebrate! The night was uneventful (she was at her mom’s) and I got to bed at a decent time.
Thursday, July 11th: Today was a good day. I got to do some bottling, and then I got to work out in the vineyard some! They just planted some new vines this season, so my job was to tie the vines to the post to make sure they are growing straight up. It was so cute to see the baby vines; they were precious! Tonight some of Philippe’s friends came over for dinner and we had a good time and some good food. Well it’s off to bed for now! I’m excited for this weekend, since I’m going to Spain for a few days.
I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in so long!! But I will give you updates of every day so far.
Thursday: Thursday I helped Antoine (a guy I work with) and Laurie (some girl I work with) fold boxes, fill bags with wine, put those bags in the boxes, then close them; they’re called bag in box. Pretty much the cheaper version of wine. It took a while, but I think they were grateful to have me there, since it went faster with 3 people than just 2. Thursday night we went to Little Italy with most of the coworkers, and the food was really good! As was the wine, since Domaine de Montels (where I’m working) provides the wine at that restaurant. Afterwards, we went out for drinks which was a new experience for me, since I’ve never had drinks with a boss before.
Friday: Friday was very interesting! Philippe (the host dad) owns another vineyard about an hour away from the one I’m at now, so he took me and Laurie out there to help with the wires. Our job was to move the wires up a few notches on the poles, and then make sure the vines were in between them. This allowed the tractor to get between the rows of vines. It was really hot, and I’m realizing more and more how much work is actually put into maintaining a vineyard.
Saturday: Philippe left to go scuba diving with some of his buddies, so it was me, Louise (the 12 year old) and Sophia (the cousin) who were left to fend for ourselves. We went to the open market Saturday morning, where Theirry (Philippe’s brother) was selling their wine. I was the one who had to drive, and that was definitely an adventure. Thank god I know how to drive a manual, but the roads here are smaller than 1 lane in America, and it was very nerve-racking. After the market, we walked around Montabaun for a little bit, then headed back and hit the pool. Louise went with her mother for the night, so it was just me and Sophia Saturday night; it was pretty uneventful.
Sunday: Sunday, Sophia left really early to catch her flight back to the U.S. so I was left to fend for myself. The grandmother and one of Theirry’s friends came over and invited me to lunch at Theirry’s house, which was right across the street. I had a salad, grilled eggplant (which was delicious), some sort of meat… (don’t ask), bread, and ice cream. It was delicious!!! After lunch, I stayed for a little while and just laid by the pool. Theirry’s friend (I can’t remember her name) was super nice and she told me if I wanted to go shopping or if I needed something she would be more than happy to help! We had a nice chat, and I think I might take her up on her offer at some point. Jut a quick little side note; the house I’m living in is kind of gross; there are dishes everywhere, the dishwasher doesn’t work, and the soap is nonexistent, and there are ants everywhere. It was a nice break to go to Theirry’s since his house was very clean, and his pool didn’t have 100 different species of bugs living in it.
Monday: Today was ok. I worked in the shop instead of with Antoine who deals with most of the actual wine making. I had to deal with my first customer today!! I definitely had my ups and downs when it came to that. Philippe keeps wanting me to learn French, and I’m trying really hard! But I can tell he and his family are disappointed in me which is getting really annoying. They knew I had no experience speaking French before I came here, and they’re expecting me to speak it fluently when I leave. It’s also really annoying how he keeps saying the same thing over and over (in French) thinking the more times in a row I hear it then I will have an epiphany and suddenly understand what he’s saying. So far that hasn’t happened yet. Some of the customers today spoke English though. I was so happy I almost gave them a hug! (not really, but I did get very excited). I met this family from Holland who’s here on vacation for 2 weeks. They were really nice and asked me about where I was from and what I was doing here. Tonight I have no idea what’s going on (like every day/ every night). Everything here is a surprise, and it gets really annoying because there are always tons of people coming and going from the house at odd times, some taking the kids, others not…. it’s weird. But I only have 19 more days until I’m home, so I am very very very excited about that!!!! :)
The first 2 days have gone fairly well! The first day I spent inside doing labeling and meeting everyone who works there. The second day I did the same thing. I was going to go to the other vineyard owned by the same company, but it was raining so I think we might go tomorrow. I work with a girl who’s 16 and a guy who’s 26. They’re both really nice but don’t speak any english. I’m starting to pick up on some french and we have found ways to communicate which is good. I have found out that the french people here really like saying the word “shit.” The 12 year old girl thinks it’s hilarious and says it all the time. She has been starting to teach me some french too though. Today we went over some conjugation of Er and Ir verbs, and she gave me some verbs that might be useful to know. Overall things are going ok. I can’t believe only 24 days until I come home!!
I officially have made it to my internship!!!! It was a little rocky at the start, since the couple is in the midst of a divorce and it took them a half hour to get me, but I’m determined to keep an open mind! I got a tour of the vineyard, and I helped put stickers on wine bottles which were then boxed up. I’m living with the dad and the 2 daughters, 10 and 12. I found out they have a flat in Spain and he said we would go there sometime. And they have a pool at their house!!!! I went swimming with the girls and their cousin (who’s American so she can translate but she’s only here for 3 days) and we played Simon says in 3 different languages! (English, Spanish and French). Tonight at dinner the girls were teaching me some French words; so cute!!!
Another thing that’s kinda cool is that the dad seems laid back and told me to make myself at home, and that if there’s a day I don’t want to work I can “babysit” the girls at the pool which really means just lay out and go swimming all day!
One thing I didn’t know is that they have 2 vineyards. There’s one literally in their backyard, and the other is about an hour away. I think we will be going there sometime this week; I hear it’s gorgeous! I’m really excited to see what else this internship has in store for me, and I’m excited to learn more French so I can communicate better with those I’m working with.