Did I ever tell you that I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time? Actually anytime is wine o’clock in France. I’ve seen glasses tipped as early as 9 in the morning, hardcore even by Newfie standards. I haven’t worked up to that pace yet but I will say this, the best wine I’ve ever had in my life is made right here in Burgundy. I’m partial to the whites and they’re enough to make me believe that my mid-life melodrama was a stroke of genius. Never mind that I’ve neither paycheck nor purpose; great wine for only a few euros, no real need to be sober and nothing but time on my hands, it’s the perfect situation.

Wine is big, no make that huge, business here and has been going on long before Jesus was even a gleam in god’s eye. Thomas Jefferson himself stocked his cellar from Burgundy wine producers whose ancestors to this day craft some of the world’s most prestigious vintages. The grand harvest or les vendages as the French call it has come and gone. Of course I was too busy sipping wine to go down to the big vineyards but even here in Semur one can connect to the art of le vin.

Just beyond this ancient door, one of my favourite neighbourhood sights, is a small vineyard owned by two lovely Americans who are part of the international group drawn back year after year to this great town.

The day after this photo was taken the grapes were picked and a couple of days later they were sitting in huge fermenting bottles already on their way to becoming next year’s wine. I was amazed by the movement in those big jars and it reminded me of one of my favourite things about wine, that it’s a living thing constantly transforming itself until the very moment it flows into my big mouth.

Our friends don’t imagine that their wine will win any prizes but when you have fruit trees all around you and a view like this while you’re picking grapes …

even a bit of vinegar would make all the work worthwhile. The best news is that anyone is welcome to this garden and everything that grows in it. It’s a perk of renting their sweet house found just down the path along the river. If you ever decide to take the Americans up on their offer don’t be surprised to see a giraffe wandering around. She’s pretty harmless, just give her a cookie and a glass of 2007 Meursault and she’ll show you every trick she knows.

You can view this great rental house by clicking www.burgundyvacationrental.net