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Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
Discover the vineyards of Domaine Terre de Mistral in Provence

During my immersion course in Provence with Virginie, I had the chance to experience an incredible wine adventure at Domaine Terre De Mistral, right in the heart of Provence. This region, famous for its stunning landscapes and exceptional wines, houses this unique vineyard that offers more than just a wine tasting in Provence.

1/ Discovering wine in Provence

Virginie, always thoughtful, booked a private tour for us at Domaine Terre de Mistral in Provence. We immediately dove into the fascinating world of Provençal wine-making. The estate is just a 5-minute drive from her place. As soon as we arrived, our guide, Lorette, passionate about Provence wines, welcomed us to reveal the secrets of their vineyard.

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
The wine barrels of the Domaine Terre de Mistral in Provence

2/ The mysteries of wine-making in Provence

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
The vines of Domaine Terre de Mistral in Provence

Our adventure began in the middle of the Provence vineyards, where we learned how wine comes to life, from pruning the vines in winter to harvesting the grapes at the end of summer. The harvest date varies depending on the weather. She shared the history of the estate and her family. She also gave us details about the different labels. It was very interesting.

We spent time outside observing the vineyards, at the foot of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. We then descended into the cellar via a small narrow staircase.

We discovered the wine barrels, sheltered from time and the Provençal climate. The room was indeed humid and cool to keep the wine at the right temperature.

Each barrel was labeled with the type of grape variety and its year. Discovering this cellar was a real privilege as I felt like I was sharing the secrets of a Provençal vineyard.

3/ Wine tasting in Provence

The visit continued with a tasting of the wines from Domaine Terre de Mistral. Lorette offered us different wines to taste according to our preferences.

I prefer rosé and red wines. Virginie prefers white and rosé. She likes red wine but generally prefers the others. She also particularly likes the bottles from this estate because each bottle is named after a family member of the vineyard owner. It felt like sharing the story of this family.

Lorette thus catered to our tastes. I started by tasting the rosé and Virginie the white wine. I particularly liked the wines called Malou and Thomas. I generally like sweet and fruity wines. Once we discovered the Provençal wines we liked the most, we moved on to the workshop to create our own wine.

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
Tasting and choice of different grape varieties

4/ Creating our own wine in Provence

The highlight of our visit was the blending workshop. Lorette had already set up all the necessary equipment for us to create our own wine: a sheet with the names of different grape varieties, a pipette, glasses, a test tube, a pen, and a spittoon.

In front of us, four glasses were filled with different grape varieties, giving us the opportunity to create our own Provençal wine. The four grape varieties were muscat, sangiovese, syrah, and grenache.

We had a pipette available to take wine from the different glasses. We could then pour the chosen grape variety into a test tube and choose another wine to continue our blend. I did various blending tests. I mixed the different grape varieties and then just two.

I opted for a blend of muscat and syrah, a choice that reflects my personal tastes with a typically Provençal touch

We chose the name for our vintage. Lorette created a label with the chosen name and attached the label to our own bottle of wine.

We returned to the vats. We filled a larger test tube with the grape varieties we had chosen.

Using a funnel, we filled our bottle. The last step was to place the bottle on a conveyor belt so that the bottle could be corked.

And so was born my own wine, now known as Cuvée Lonnie.

Our vintage complete, we went to the restaurant at the Domaine for lunch.

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
Blending of grape varieties for bottling

5/ The vocabulary related to wine

A wine experience = une expérience viticole

A wine = un vin

A vineyard = un vignoble

A tasting = une dégustation

A private tour = une visite privée

A guide = un guide

A vine = une vigne

A harvest = une vendange

Weather = une météo

A label = un label

A cellar = une cave

A barrel = un tonneau

A grape variety = un cépage

A bottle = une bouteille

A rosé wine = un rosé (you can also say une bouteille de rosé which means a bottle of rosé)

A red wine = un rouge (you can also say une bouteille de rouge which means a bottle of red wine)

A white wine = un blanc (you can also say une bouteille de blanc which means a bottle of white wine)

A workshop = un atelier

A blend = un assemblage

A pipette = une pipette

A test tube = une éprouvette

A funnel = un entonnoir

A vintage = une cuvée

A vat = une cuve

A conveyor belt = un tapis roulant

A cork = un bouchon

6/ A wine journey in the heart of Provence

Unique experience in Provence: Becoming a winemaker for a workshop
Virginie and I and our own wine creations

This visit to Domaine Terre De Mistral was a revelation about the complexity and beauty of viticulture in Provence. More than just a simple visit, it was a magnificent experience that will remain etched in my memory as one of the highlights of my stay in Provence. I really had a lot of fun and learned a lot.


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