parlez vous francais?

Saturday morning I harvested the grapes at home. About 200 pounds of Syrah and Grenache. The first thing to do is remove the bird netting, which is a disgusting dirty job. It’s so dirty that I don’t usually wear a shirt I want to keep when I take the netting off.

About half way through the project I was thinking, “I’ve never heard the French term for bird netting, or pruners, or twisty ties.” All things essential in growing wine. You here wine people say “cuvee”, fruits “noir”, and “terroir” all the time, but never use French for the dirty parts of wine making.

At that point I decided to rid my speech of French wine terms. No I’m not going to start calling Pinot Noir, New Pine, but the terms used in wine growing and wine making. There’s no need to use the French words, English works pretty well, and even when we have a word like ‘terroir’ that doesn’t translate well, I can say “the environment the grapes grow in especially the soil. Not as clean as terroir, but it works.

Maybe I’m on a crazy crusade, but I want wine drinking to be fun and un-intimidating for people. Using a foreign language to describe basic things doesn’t help on either account. It just intimidates people and makes wine seem more mysterious than it is and wine more difficult to learn than it should be.

So out with the French terms.

By the way the, the grapes went into the bin (‘cuvee’) just fine. I picked out the bad ones (‘triage’) and decided not to bleed off any excess juice (‘sangee’). It’s fermenting away just fine right now.