Its been an action packed couple of months since we last posted progress at The Old Winery as in goes the concrete block and beam ceiling. This will help to pull the old building together and give us a wonderful basis for the underfloor heating in the bedrooms and bathrooms. Seeing the old beams removed and the concrete ones going back in has been quite exciting.
Progress throughout this month has been in leaps and bounds with Tom and Fisher working hard every day with John our Builder who we have re-named ‘The Machine’. He has such strength and stamina, he never seems to get tired! Here he is with his son Stan…
At the side of the property is an area where a couple of smaller barns used to stand. One of then had already been demolished and we have began to bring the other one down slowly. The aim is to build an above ground pool inside this barn, can you visualise it…??
To the right hand side of this barn is a small terrace next to the river. We are starting to transform this into a raised terrace where we plan to put a table and chairs for alfresco dining! Here are pictures of before & after-so-far…
The biggest job this month has been the removal of the rotten ceiling…
John has made the Old winery much easier to access by converting some old doors into our new garage door, they just need a lick of paint…
Work on the Old Winery began in earnest Last week when we were joined by Hannah & Lucas from Colorado and Wendy’s son Tom. We found Hannah & Lucas through www.workaway.info a great website for people who want to travel and are happy to work in return for board and lodgings. They are with us for just over 2 weeks and they are fabulous people in their twenties and with loads of energy, enthusiasm and commitment.
Wendy’s son Tom has come to stay for 6 months to help us with the project and he is getting stuck in too plus John Reaney our top builder began work on the stable, it will become our garage and Fisher’s workshop.
Progress this week included:
Footings for the wall that divides the house from the garage and the beginnings of the re-enforced wall which will hold the floating stair case. Bricking up the garage window and levelling the floor in the garage.
Felling the huge fig tree where the riverside terrace will be and knocking down the archway wall to make room for the riverside terrace
What is terroir? It’s a little word with a big meaning. It sums up all the various factors the vine experiences in the environment where it is growing and in turn this affects the style of the wine. Wine without the influence of terroir will just be deliciously fruity whereas terroir driven wines will express a sense of the place where they come from.
The two most influential factors of terroir are the climate and the soil. Also included is the altitude the vines are grown at. Is it flat or sloping land? If there is a slope which way is it facing? Does the soil drain freely? Does the soil trap heat? Is there water nearby and if so is it a large body of water such as a lake or the sea or is it a trickling stream or a great river. What is the microclimate in that place? What else is growing in the area? All of these factors affect the growing conditions for the vine and will shape the characteristics of the wine. However there is one further, highly important element of terroir. Man. How is the land being farmed? Has the terroir been matched to particular grape varieties? How have the vines been pruned and trained? What yield is being achieved? Is the land being farmed sustainably and in deference to terroir or highly commercially using pesticides and herbicides?
Update on The Old Winery – Over the last couple of months we have spent our time clearing out The Old Winery which has taken a lot of work. It was full to the brim with junk, piles of rotting vegetation, mangled metal and I even found a couple of old harnesses for the horses that had once ploughed the vineyards. The stable, which will be our garage and workshop is where the horses would have settled down for the night after a hard day’s work and still has the wooden mangers and the hay racks which we will definitely be keeping.
Work starts in earnest in a couple of weeks and its time to think about raising some money to help pay for all this so its with great sadness that I have decided to sell my French house.
House For Sale in Languedoc
I bought it in 2013 when, much like the Old Winery it was a complete ruin and had not been lived in for 30 years. But it was exactly what I wanted. I have seen many seemingly well renovated properties that hide some very bad workmanship behind the plastered walls and I wanted to be sure my house was renovated to a very high standard.
It took me 4 years to decide on which village I wanted to live in and I think I chose one of the best and prettiest. Villeneuve-Minervois is just 15 minutes from Carcassonne and boasts all the facilities you could possibly want. A boulangerie, pharmacy, butcher, Spa shop, post office, 2 excellent restaurants plus a pizza restaurant and a bar.
My house description:
- Downstairs – entrance hall, study, large walk in cupboard, sitting room and large dining kitchen.
- 1st floor – 2 double bedrooms and bathroom
- Top Floor – bedroom and bathroom with shower and bath
- Sunny terrace and large gravelled garden
- Beautiful riverside setting with views to the Black Mountains
If you know anyone who is looking for a beautiful and stylish home, renovated to high specification please ask them to contact me: