Thursday, 27 July 2023


Or almost ‘noodfalspur’ until I thought to check the spelling and stopped, literally, the printing press when the spell check told me I was spelling it in Dutch, which I speak more of than German which I am, and which wouldn’t have made any sense because on the signs on the motorways the warning ESCAPE LANE is written in German, Italian, English and French, only — and not in Dutch, which I’m not.

But it’s actually in French that the name makes the most sense: voie de detresse but the name was taken so I took the next best and then asked its taker to make me my label, my first! which makes sense in other ways too but first I’ll explain the first part: the distress.

In twothousandtwentyone I moved cellar threedaysbeforeharvest and by ‘cellar’ I mean tenyearsoflifestablity and an actual cellar to a garage with nothing but a press. The shortest version of the story is that I called some friends who at the time weren’t really friends who the next day found me a garage, bought me a wine starter kit comprising of 2 buckets a sieve a ladder a yellow thermometer and a bug light and lent me a tank. The next-length version is that they emptied the garage and it was a chai by the time I got back from learning how to drive a truck and had picked my first tonne of grapes the following day.

(These are 228L of they).

If wine is meant to be made with good vibes then don’t buy mine because this vintage was powered by adrenaline and when I needed to generate more of it: hate. Not that it was all bad! Like the little engine that said ‘I can I can’ I learned I could — and did — despite the considerable odds: I made wine on the closing door of a breakup in a garage and the people busy buying it selling it representing it now basically tell me it’s great.

So, this Rousanne also has a bit I think of Viognier that I don’t tell anyone about and also some random planted together red and when I pressed it directly it came out on the darker side of pink and I remember posting about this on Instagram with the caption ‘white wine making going gr8’. 700 litres of it went with the Cinsault to make Day Glow and these 228 went into a barrel I bought from Aurelien who had bought it from Fred and when I went to pick it up had to drop someone off at the Emergency Room because he cut open his finger. More distress! 

Ok so what else. Well the barrel stood in the corner in a garage in Langeac for 12 months in which time it was never topped up for no particular reason between the door and my press which was, as I have written, Jérôme Saurigny's press, bound to be my second press to then became my only press, and this and the fact Jerome has a fat cat I love (and Aurélien too) and that he skates (and Aurélien too) and that he’s great (Aurélien you are too!) and that we learned we had a friend in common (guess who) thanks to a THRASHER hoodie gifted to Jérôme by you definitely know who… well in short the label is a tribute and Aurélien had to make it and he did and I love it and now you know the story I hope you do too.

Where: Hérault 

What: Direct press Rousanne and Viognier in barrel for 12 months. Bottled October 2022. 

When: 2021

293 bottles made (hence why only 4 clients got any of it) much of which has been drunk but the rest I'm saving to raise funds for life, for wine making, for grape buying, for paying for the pump I bought and haven't paid for yet and because all of this is imminent and urgent they are now for ***SALE*** at my public price. 

Put your mail here to receive my mail on how to buy or send to abracadabrawine{at} which is apparently an unprofessional email to have but who said anything about me being a professional and no I don't accept bitcoin unless someone wants to set me up an account.

And now in pictures. Goodbye! 




Friday, 19 May 2023

C'est fou le nombre des gens tu as besoin pour faire quelque chose tout seul

This is a blog and in the early 2000s when people used to have blogs these people would blog about their feelings and people who didn’t have blogs would laugh at people with blogs and if a blogger said irl they feel sad the non blogger would say something like ‘why don’t you write a blog post about it’ and they would mean this facetiously because they would not intend to read such a post because they don’t believe one should air their sadness out on the internet. Or maybe they would read it and that’s worse. 

In a similar vein I’ve often wondered why, when you watch the news, the news is always bad? When they tell us about how someone we don’t know very far away lost their child or cat or house to a fire it’s because someone at the news decided that THIS would be what they tell us and because they are the news this becomes news.

As someone who started her blog in whatever you call the 2015s other than ‘late’ I too concentrate on the bad because I write about how I feel which is not to say always bad, though often enough, nor that good things don’t happen too, they do!, they’re just less easy to dramatise or in other words, less newsworthy. But today I thought I would try to write about how I feel (grateful) about something true that is good in order to balance out the overwhelming feeling (sad) that I can’t do this alone which is not even entirely true because I’m not really alone-alone, even if I'm writing that I feel I am, because as you may already know and will now read, there are so many good people who are good to me and who help me.

I’ve written before that no one makes wine alone and maybe I’ve talked about the note stuck to the wall of the toilet at rue des belles caves that says in French It’s crazy the number of people you need to do something on your own and while I’ve never been one for reading material in bathrooms I know few truer words. Next thing to say is that when I learned someone I knew was having a baby alone I thought isn’t it a bit selfish to take on something like this on your own when you know the people around you will take it on themselves to help and then I realised what I’m doing is exactly the same. My wines have my name on them but the truth is no label in the world would fit the names of everyone who has actually made them — and you thought abracadabra was long enough. 

And by ‘made them’ I mean the people who had their hands and feet and back in them literally and painfully and enthusiastically even though they were as tired as me but also those who have supported me mentally, generally, in person and over voice messaging and when I call and say I'm sad and also those who have gifted me things from olive oil candles sardines posters coriander silk scarfs wineglasses to stroopwaffel and Dutch cheese and bien sûr things to drink and cooked for me and paid for hotels and meals and bottles I could never dream of affording and who have taken days off and booked holiday time out and given me encouragement and time time time and carried things with me and carried things for me and move my shit from cellar to cellar to cellar with me and actually found me a cellar in my time of need and another who helped me build one and those who came from far and from off the internet just to help me and lent me spare tanks their tireuse their gas tank their chambre air (someone at a fair in Montpellier this year literally gave me the shirt off his back) gifted me a fucking pressoir and — recently — brought me wood and built me a table because I didn’t have one, just because they’re good. 

So you see, it’s not all bad.

Photo, P.S., is not current! This was me in harvest nineteen.

P.P.S thank you. I hope you can all find you in here.

(Still would like a partner though.)


Monday, 8 May 2023

And we ate the zoo

To name some epic dinners I haven’t been to: Jesus’s last supper, the banquet where Cleopatra drank her pearl, when they ate the zoo and the last vendredi soir at le Saint Eutrope — which technically I have been to, but not to the one in the wilds of my imagination where it’s me who gets to choose the menu. 

Luckily I couldn’t. Luckily no one could. Luckily the impossible task of limiting an unlimited number of best of-s was left to the only people I would trust blind to be able to. What follows is therefore a fantasy menu cherry-picked from reality, my memory and my phone’s memory, no small amount of GB has been taken up preserving what is now history! The ancient Egyptians had their marble-carved hieroglyphics, we have chalk-scrawled blackboards that go:


Vendredi soir

To start, after the gen-to for apéro:

Dipping radishes because otherwise it would be dipping fingers in the anchovy butter. 

Also with:

Vitello tonato i.e. sandwich filler q: who invented veal via a spoon?

Followed by:

A citrus mosh-pit, or Punterella, agrumes, stracciatella on a plate to match. 

(Keep the spoon.)

Followed by:

Bao, Chinese for goose-down pillows stuffed with crisp-fried belly fat and slivers of face mask cucumber and always one bao too small, better would be at least two.

Followed by:

Pizza fritta. M O R E and A L W A Y S and WHY NOT ALWAYS and one to go to ease in to the hangover the morning after.

Accompanied by:

Any of the non-fried variations that go by the name of fougasse. Yes we’re accompanying fried dough with non fried dough, add extra pied mutton if it makes you feel better. 

Followed by: 

A boubaisse-y base of fish pierced by lemon in which swims hand rolled black pasta. 

Followed by: 

Tripes. The Sichuan ones. You are our source of coriander in Auvergne. 

For mains:

Anything cooked 7+ hours for 2+ to share in a pot with a knife stuck in it — but with chips beef fat-fried, please.


Dessert! I’ll have two. The baby fist mushroom bun soaked in as many measures as you like of your choice of rum, and the bavarois which, as a suspected dyslexic, was for YEARS a mystery to me until this January when someone ordered it and I realised I've lived 34 years never having been intimate with an upside down puddle of barely solid cream.


Le Saint Eutrope was the local for everyone, from near, from far, from Paris. As much for those of us who live ‘close’ in Auvergne for whom everything is far as for those passing through from the other side of the world. Good things come to an end, so I've heard! Tomato season, the last luggage-squished slice of leftover birthday cake, my tolerance for early mornings which re-sets to zero with the end of the vendange. But still, there aren’t many places for which I’d drive 200km round trip for lunch and not infrequently stay for dinner when I do. Time for me, I suppose, to drive less and put my eggs in different baskets. Time for you to open something new — soon! But change nothing. Or maybe serve more bao. Maybe fry it? Serve chips and ice cream with it? Ok ok, time to move. Cheque please. And my pizza fritta to go.

Thank you!! 

In 2019 I wrote about le Saint Eutrope and it started like this and if you're feeling nostalgic the rest you can read yourself:

"Some kids get the itch to become astronauts but when I’m grown up I want to be Harry Lester." 


Monday, 24 April 2023

'Naturall' 2023 on disposable

Salon 'Naturall' on disposable w/ my equipe

+ friends

+ the day after.

— 5 February 2023, Anjou.

I wrote about seeing my name on the poster for this tasting here.


Monday, 20 March 2023

My piercing healed so well because I cried so much and other bad cuvée names (+ a domaine name change! I’m ABRACADABRA now)

If I needed a sign no one cares, then the fact I can count on one hand the number of people who asked ‘Hey Hannah, why did you name your wine Y’ is just that.

Thanks guys, love you too I’ll have my hand back. 

No one seems to care – much, and never will as much as me, so I figured I should do what my mom and friends say and get on with it so I can get on with other stuff... So I did and thank god! Because now I have the time to take pictures that take too much time like the admittedly rather nice one above.

I thought names matter a lot. Consider the aura-stripping power of a bottle poured from a sock! Drinking wine blind is like using crutches, drunk, in pitch dark except someone also just spun you around and kicked away the crutch. But we do it because labels and names tell us stuff, and because sometimes these things can matter too much. (I think there are also people who think drinking blind is fun?)

Giving a name to a thing — a fear, a thought, a wish, an intention — (can) make(s) it (more) real, so one should give with intention. Or not! What does your cuvée name say about you? How personal is bearable, how much is yuck?* How much is a misplaced call for help? Must one just ‘feel’ it? Has the wine been made in the spirit of it? Must there be a hidden meaning to it? 

The new nonchalant me has decided rien, none, no, not.

The new me has chosen names because she liked the sound of them. The look of them. Quelques-uns refer vaguely to opaquely personal stuff but most do not. Two I’ve stolen from the books of an author I love, three describe the look/feel/texture of the bottled stuff (one of which, d’ailleurs, is another book rip-off), and there’s one I cannot pronounce and wish everyone who wants to order it — the Chardonnay — luck!

The new me has also chosen a new name for me (so busy!) because my real name is not a wine name: and this is a fact that was confirmed to me this February when I saw it on an actual poster, which was weird. Besides looking out of place next to the likes of Babass, Balagny, Bouju, Bruyere for reasons more obvious than not starting with a B, ‘Fuellenkemper’ is just too officially… me? And my wines I feel are not — and probably won’t until I learn how to make what I want.

With a gun to my head I wouldn’t be able to repeat something I’ve made which begs the question: who made it then? I don’t mean mystically or energetically or ‘I’m so laissez faire philosophically that I let the grapes become the wines they wish to be,’ but literally. All I do physically is go get the grapes, put them in press or tank, then let the juice ferment. The rest, the ‘now it’s a wine people want to drink’ bit is bibbidi bobbed boo-abracadabra to me. 

Hence the new name (just the ABRACADABRA bit I mean).

It’s two letters shorter, in case you didn’t count, and unlike the quickly pretentious roads alchemy terms were taking me down — it's fun! Like me :) Plus! on posters, As come before the Bs. Not that anyone cares about names anyway.

p.s: Thoughts on the all CAPS? 

* true story about the piercing btw. 


Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Undocumented moments in wine: apparently I have to allocate mine

I’ve just started selling my wine for the second time in my life and I’ve come to some realisations. 

  • Allocations are not just for the type of winemakers I thought they were.
  • Winemakers who allocate their wines do so because they have to, not because they can.
  • Excel spreadsheets are as vital to a winemaker as, say, buckets.
  • I have over-sold my wine.
  • I can’t drink any more of my wine.

I’m not looking for sympathy — though I’m pretty sure this is the reason last week my friend built my first excel sheet (ty Théo!) — but I am still hoping someone will soon write the book on how all this stuff works. "The Novice’s Complete Guide to the Stuff You Should Know about Making Wine that’s not about Actually Making Wine" and yes I’m aware there are schools, thanks, I didn’t go.

Cue tiny fiddles, I know.

The Stuff I Should Know but don’t that I’m currently struggling with will be in the chapter on how not to seem the keeno who will sell to anyone, the asshole who sells to no one, or the idiot who clearly didn’t read the preceding chapter on recording stock (see pg. 1 ‘Excel’). While we wait, you can use me as Case Study 10000, subheading: Learn from real life mistakes [name has been changed to protect my identity]. 

While I'm here, I’d also like to make some requests. 

Let there be lists! Numbers, bullets, reminders, prompts. People like me need lists. My diet is garlic, chilli — and lists. I write stuff down even after it’s done for the satisfaction of crossing it off. I am a freak! And I'm sure I'm not alone. (Oh, add lots of olive oil). To-do lists and don’t do this-lists, I need them all. I wouldn’t even mind to have the same info re-iterated in both. Example 1.0 could go:

Do: attach price list when you ask your clients to please place their orders. 

Don’t: forget to attach price list when you ask your clients to please place their orders. 

Do: wait to hear back from your biggest buyers before you open your client list.

Don’t: open up your client list before you hear back from your biggest buyers.

I’d also like lists of ways how to say the things I want to say, but in a better, less honest, more professional way. Like, instead of ‘I was probably drunk when I said yes’, try ‘Farts! It slipped my mind, I’ll have to check’. Instead of ‘So actually you can ignore the mail I sent you three minutes ago asking what you’d like to buy (no prices attached) because I realise now that I have negative amounts of Gamay’ it would be better to say… what exactly? ‘Sorry sorry sorry I’m a n00b and I’ve overso—I mean, under-estimated demand for my wines I can note you down for next life but in the meantime how about some some volatile Chardonnay?’

General question: what’s worse, telling clients no then yes or yes then no?

Is it better to ship big and far to places I’ll never go (though ahem Vortex, waiting on that invite to Tokyo) than 12 bottles to places I can deliver myself? Is selling to four bars in the south of France selling to three too many? Does the same maths apply for a single arrondissement in Paris? To Switzerland which is polite, erudite, punctual and, looking at the order, thirsty; but if I’m to follow the advice and allocate proportionally: tiny? 

Do I reserve for my ‘non-wine friends’? To trade with my winemaker friends? I’ve already drunk a lot of traded wine on credit (to ‘trade’ in French is to ‘troc’); the bottles I owe are marked in red and BOLD in my stock.

Who do I work for if my work is unpaid and my wine over-subscribed so now I have to buy other people’s wine because I can’t afford to drink mine? Every year I say I’ll make a personal tank, not for sale but for me. What’s the difference of doing this and trying (and I’m failing) to hold back 12 bottles of each cuvée? Now there’s a price on my wine, the more I don’t sell, the poorer I’ll be (what’s funny is that when it’s still in tank you can drink what you want because somehow it still feels free).

To conclude: this is me announcing that from now on I will be allocating. This decision has been based on what my supply, demand, and other people tell me. I have learned from my own mistakes that it’s more stressful to let people tell you what they want than to tell them what they can have. I am afraid of my excel sheet. It is a mosh pit of colour with its boxes of green, caps, highlights, requests in one colour and reality another, double digit negative numbers, and it is SCREAMING AT ME. I have miscounted what I can give, underestimated what people want, and am genuinely grateful that anyone wants anything! Of course I’ve said yes. What’s ’12 de chaque’ in the scheme of things? 

Now I’m just waiting for someone to write the chapter on how to say not what I want, but honestly what I mean. That please forgive me, I wasn’t even drunk, and I'm trying to be respectful of what everybody wants, but I didn’t have excel and I'm not a professional and I thought I’d have enough because I’ve never made so much and that it’s totally my fault that your 12 has gone from reasonable to too much now the for-far orders of 120 de chaque are in. 

Email going out soon.

Love, a total no0b 


Wednesday, 22 February 2023


In three words: SO. MUCH. BETTER.

— than last year, the hell year, the what didn’t kill you bloody well tried to and probably would have managed but for the sensor on the truck that goes ‘buhbuhbuh’ when you cross the white line so you’re still here!-year. 

And what a year it’s been! 2022 I mean. No space to make wine until July, no space to live until October. It seems winemaking has more in common with childbirth than you might think in the way evolution has trained us to remember the highs. Imagine if not! There would be very little wine. Meanwhile, this year I’ve made a fuck load. 60HL = 6 thousand litres = 8 thousand bottles if all goes to plan, which requires me to find the place to stock the bottles like, now.

Another logistical problem you say? Gee whizz what’s new! Well this year I moved cellar 1 month ahead of harvest (instead of 3 days before) plus I had to build a wall! Nothing like finishing a building project the night before the morning you leave for your first grapes to make you appreciate the next month on the road.

Some other big differences:

— I ate!

— I only made two trips alone.

— I made friends!

— I now know it takes me 1h12m to unload 1.6T of Colombard on my own.

People cooked for me!!!!

— I did maybe only one decuvage as opposed to all.

— My press was outside and my tanks are stacked 7 pallets high and my new siphon is very thick and 5m long*.

— I did my first not-failed débourbage!

— Thanks to all those pallets I have been able to harness the powers of gravity which for the first few hundred litres means there was time for dancing while the siphon did the soutirage.

— I am a better driver.

— I am a better ratchet-er.

— I cried only twice.

— I did zero long macerations and think my future lies in the ease of the direct-press.

— I did my first co-ferment of red and white.

— I tried doing three press in one day but stopped before I almost died. 

— I am talking in the ‘I’ but I was practically never alone. 

— Harvest happened to the soundtrack of Flemming Dalum.

— I bought 9 tonne.

In ish chronological order: it hailed icebergs the night before I went to pick up the same Carignan on 19 August I had just pressed in July after a 10 month maceration. This, plus the fact harvest was three weeks in advance (and that Carignan is normally a late bloomer?) = time travel! So I picked it 1/2 1/2 with some just-underripe Bourbulenc and macerated the red in the juice of the other, thank you to Anna and Nick and Jude for help with the direct and first press! Neringa and friends for the second. I did this trip alone and I felt free as a bird waking up from the zombie slumber of a winter sleep, which is a mixed-metaphor or evolution on speed, but you get the picture = RELIEF TO START, RELIEF TO LEAVE. 

Round 2, 3 days later: Xarel·lo y Macabeo, picked at 11% 23 August with good friend Aaron and new friend Kara, who we picked up in Spain. Harvest was done hungover! Too much drinking the night before at the pool! Yes, pool. Cool! I was in a stress because we lost the car key, and by 'we' I mean me. Kara counted out 1.5T of grapes counted in cash because my brain is a sieve through which numbers slip. We took 11 hours driving back, hesitated to stop for lunch at Ville Mas, instead sat in gridlock traffic burning gas. Aaron drove practically the whole way, you are amazing Aaron even if you disagree with de-stemming (Xarel-lo for no principle other than I'd already borrowed Aurelien's thing). Landed late, unloaded, left the grapes to chill in the night air while we ate gas station canned olives (Spain!) and drank holiday-prolonging beers.

26 August Kara and I do a same-day aller-retour of 562 km to pick up the same Cinsault as last year which sucked, but is what it is, and what the negociant is is a chauffeur. There was man-splaining and machoism and much apologising to the harvest team who started at 7 and were still picking under a 15:00 sun. I had a hornet-swollen hand and we forgot the watermelon. Vinification went the same as last year because I liked last year’s: half direst press, half infusion.

Mauzac came next. Thirty Aug. Underripe. Like, green. Changed parcel twice = I paid practically double hours for the team and almost lost the deposit on the truck after a situation with a rock (not me). Stacked 1.7T, un-stacked 1.7T, and re-stacked 1.7T from same truck. Learned negociants should arrive with their own scale to prevent having ever to do this again! Macerated whole-ish except for not so whole after jumping on them to make them fit. Currently fermenting in Andrea's blanc barrels (with some Grignolino) to take the edge off. Big thanks to Rita for taking all the edges off.

Grignolino, Piedmont, Italy, three September and already at 14% when I get the call to ‘come tomorrow’ even though ‘coming tomorrow’ means that by tonight I need to have found a truck to rent and someone to drive 1,000+ km with, which I haven’t yet, not to mention that when I visited these vines in July I thought I’d broken the tradition and language barrier explaining that I wanted the call at 12%. Here’s hoping there’s a market for big Italian barrel wines made in — Auvergne?? The trip in numbers: 3 x pizza + 1 for the road to be eaten cold at home, 1.69T. Pumped tyres once, tanked three times, tunnel costs 80e return, drove the last two hours alone. Times listened to The Mix: many but exact number unknown. I arrived home at 3 in the morning and a friend came to meet me and drink and unload! 

Colombard, de Remi-P. Nine September. Called him asking if he had any red, said no but 8T still of this, said I’d call him back. My second, and my last trip alone! Remi’s the best. You arrive, you eat, you drink, you actually sleep. Next day your pick will guaranteed be done before 10. I was a bit stressed because I found people were pulling grapes and not cutting while I knew I had to leave them en caisse for at least a day before I could liberate the press. But arriving young, a girl, with a rented truck, I was too afraid to say anything (so at home, with things to prove, unloaded the truck myself which is how I know it takes 1h 12 to unload 1.6T alone). In the end I left them in caisse for THREE days because I was busy coaxing the Mauzac not to hurl itself over a bridge (this was where I tried to press three times a day but stopped at two / chose life) which no one tell Remi yet, please. Thank you, thank you Maureen for reading this article and arriving at this particular moment of need! 

Boudes! bébé Boudes and her annual 10 caisse of sweat and blood and love, my best, my home-grown, saved for last. Steak — grilled, friends, a bouquet and a bottle of Boudes twenty-one. (Plus a rainbow when we got home).

And so with love to everyone who helps and co-creates and is there for me, and with my sincerest gratitude: thanks.

Anna * Anne * Aimé * Aurélien * Agnès * Aaron * Freddy * Germain * Kara * Maureen * Norbert * Nick * Neringa * Neringa's friends * Jude * Rita * Victor and all my vigneron: Remi * Xavier * Salvador * Genévieve * Edourdo: MERCI GRACIAS GRAZIIIIII

*so yeah, still no pump. 2023 here I come.

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