Saturday 30 December 2023

the year in retrospect (but basically you can skip to May bc that's when life started bc that's when I got my chai)

December is for looking back and forward and not for looking at the high numbers on the scale or the lack of numbers on your bank account. It’s the time of the year I feel to be on-repeat giving the run-down to my parents' friends what I’m up to, when I have to admit to my parents that once again I haven’t done all I’d planned to do and the moment for me to write personal and unattainable to-do’s with the safest start-date there is: next year. 

December is also the time of the year I have to renew this very hannahfk domaine name or in other words, the time of the year I wonder why I do. I'm hanging on bc recently someone told me blogs are (again?) cool. And bc I wish I wrote more. So here! It's not writing-writing but some words on my year in review.

Note 1: this isn’t my annual harvest report. The 2023 report is coming! It's by now tradition that it's late! In the meantime here are harvest reports 2021 and 2022.

Note 2: I will start in February because January was shit.


* I present at my first tasting! Which is not true because in 22 there was the Volcanic tasting in Geneva and since 2020 there's the summer tasting we do at Orfenor but neither of these are tastings in the loire which is obviously where I had to do a tasting to feel the ‘my first tasting’ feel. It was jammed, I ate 5 pieces of the best gallete de roi I ever had, I peed maybe once and I will be back! 3 Feb!

Started painting the 3,700 bottles I sold this spring. Also most of my clothes. I am open to collabs. I am also open to sponsorship from (or suggestions about) paint brands that actually stick to glass. 

* ‘Made’ a logo! Made new labels! I’m ABRACADABRA now, to the huge relief of all the French people on the phone who don’t understand me spelling ‘Fuellenkemper @ email address'. 


I found a chai!!!! It’s an old cow barn but to me it’s a flat floor, high voltage electricity and ONE space with ONE key and it’s for ONLY me.

* Learned how to stack a pallet and stacked my first pallets. Thanks to Stefana for the diagram and to Pascal for showing me how to wrap them. 


* Finished painting 3,700 bottles spread on the floor over three different locations. Friends came to help label. One of these friends made me a table. I wrote about gratitude for the wonderful people I meet through my wine here. 


The day after the fête du Chassignolles tasting not at Chassignolles but in a dark theatre in Clermont I drive to the new chai to pick up the key to find out there was no key. But there’s space! I will take until mid August to complete moving into this space. 

Biiiig thanks to Rita-Rita for helping me move the first tanks.

* Speaking of the fête and tanks: I pick up my first tank with a door! Paid for with funds from the fête! 

Mid May:

There’s the Spring Tasting in London which is great and I return hungover but on a high. The next morning there’s a bottle delivery of 7 pallets and knowing I have to 1) fill them  2) pay for them and then 3) move each and every one of them to the new chai makes me cry.

* Bottled my two barrels of cab franc volatility from 2020 with Lisa! Thank you Lisa!

Mid June: 

Bottled two of my 22s, both to be released in spring 24:

1) AcQUeUx - DEux (cinsault in magnum) 

2) bAsTeT (carignan-bourbulenc not in magnum)

Moved these 2,000 +/- bottles and a fair few gas tanks worth of other stuff too. Particular mention to the in-house engineer at Belly Wine for help with one particular move. I wouldn't have been able to move my press without both of you.


Drove a flatbed Toulouse-way to pick up a new, very old, quite big, seriously heavy, press. Here are some take-aways from the day: Turns out I didn't need to be nervous about driving a flatbed. Also turns out one should measure the height of the ceiling AND of the door frame before buying very hard to manoeuvre things that need to fit under the ceiling AND through the door, and of course I didn’t! So it stayed outside and while offloading it Aimé almost died. 

* Threw the party of the year. Everyone came, including a surprise. Danced until 09h. THANK YOU FELIX! The press is now inside.

* Oh oh!!! And my pump (!!) arrived!!! 

Mid July: 

Bottled 2000 more 22s:

1) dEAd cAt sTraT (xarello - macabeau. Release spring 24) 

2) OccULLLLtt 22:22 (mauzac - grignolino, release winter 24)

M***-d them.

Rest of July: 

Continued moving bottles (to cut a long move short, in short I moved 6,500 of them plus personal stock).

Continued moving everything else.

If ever I have to move again I will only do so after a really big sale.


* Set up the new cellar to host the best harvest team ever.

* Moved liquid in liquid form, 2000 L by gravity, alone. The night before I learned high voltage plugs are not uniform and that my brand new pump didn't fit the wall. I panic! Electricians are on holiday, it's August. I sit on one of my new plastic chairs and cry to Stefana on the phone.

16 August


18 August 

Harvest starts. 


* Harvest ends the 15th in the Ardèche chez Gerald which for me is fun because I end where I started. 

* We bottle the remaining barrel of Λ b Λ Α n Α Θ Α n Α Λ b Α in my ex-garage. It will be released in winter 2024. I know everyone hates this cuvée name, I'm not sorry.

* 2/3 of my old work spaces are now officially empty.

* We have an end of harvest party for the Auvergne vigneron on 22 September. Nicoline picked sunflowers and I drink long-promised margaritas and don't last later than 12. HBD to YOU j-dawg!!


* I move the last 700 bottles I have to move and work space 3/3 is finally empty. I try to forget how I already moved these 700 bottles to this space a year ago but obviously I have not forgotten it.

* I get an official stock check by the douane! To the person who denounced me: feel free to reach out so I can thank you personally for your concern.

30 December:

It's the end of the year and I'm getting antsy about the things I haven't done and the cost of things I have. I blew up a barrel (even if an empty one) and have 800 litres that stopped months ago at a density of 1001. I turned 1000L of souris into 2000L which isn't so bad when you know the risk I took could have made it into 4! I still feel overwhelmed and make very avoidable mistakes but all in all, considering I consider this my third real year, things are really getting better. Some context. Maybe you don't remember, but last year this time I was writing about building a temporary cellar! 

Review complete. 

// Massive thanks as always and forever to everyone who helps and supports me and drinks me and reads me and buys my wines from me and distributes me and lends me material when in need. Thanks to those who make me laugh and for listening when I cry and for your patience and encouragement and advice. Thank you also to those who have come from so far and have become close. Rarely, in a way, do I work alone.

See you next year.

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