I moved to France in the winter of 2019 with a heavy heart and a desire to lock myself in and hide. Luckily, the world is more open to the discussion of mental health and loss these days.
And thus, I must share.
I lost my beloved father in the spring of 2018 to a heart attack and then spent a year caring for my grieving mother. I had to leave my dream job at UNTI Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA in order to be back in the New York area. I quickly found employment with a French wine importer and distributor in New York City, which became a grueling and soul sucking six months. I will never be sure if it really was the job or my depression, but it was the most difficult work I have ever done.
Imagine the sweltering summer days of the big city with its sunbaked smells of millions. You are dressed like a salesperson in a navy structured dress with low heeled dress shoes. Kicking your ankles behind you is the rolling black bag filled with six bottles of “bang for your buck” French wines. You hope the melting heat of the pavement won’t affect the recommended temperature of those wines. After 30 mins of walking you have arrived in front of the bottle shop and you step inside with expectations. The manager is called and shakes your hand. You give your spiel and push the numbers. He says he will think about it and ushers you back out into the furnace. You call the next stop, a restaurant, and they cancel your long awaited appointment. Then you cry and pass it off as sweat.
I quit that job a week after Paul proposed to me. He was a true romantic by asking my mother beforehand. We were staying at the lovely seafront property of my Aunt and he woke me up at 6am when the lobster boats head out for their day on open waters. He then asked me for my hand in marriage on a rocky beach overlooking the sunrise.
The first month in Cruscades was solitary by design. I kept to myself and took long walks and long naps. It was a culture shock indeed. But little by little Paul and I started our big project.
We rented our building on Ave. Des Corbieres and started the work. It lacked a floor, water and electricity. The walls were black and the smell was musty. It took a whole year and lots of helping hands to arrive to where it is today. We thank all of those who gave us their time, their manpower, and their support.
In 2019 we were not officially Clos Du Cers, and so we did our last growing season and harvest for the Cave Cooperative in Ornaisons. One big change we did make was starting the conversion to organic viticulture. We partnered with ECOCert and with their guidance transitioned to 100% organic.
On October 12, 2019 Paul and I were married by my American pastors at the glorious Abbaye de Fontfroide. We were surrounded by 110 American and French loved ones from throughout our lives. That is the number one argument I give people for having a wedding… imagine all the people from your life in the same room, sharing stories and glasses of wine. It is magic. My mother walked me down the aisle and I will never forget it. These memories are our life… that is it.