Now Here’s Where the Muscles Come In

The first thing to do was dig, dig, dig as there wasn’t as much ceiling height in the cellar as we would have liked. This was a laborious process, not only was the ground hard and rocky, but all of the stuff that was dug up had to be hauled up to street level via those two wooden planks in plastic bins. Very heavy, sweaty work.

So I guess it was no surprise that the stonemasons stopped after digging about half a foot, protesting they couldn’t go any further because of rock. Quitting when you become fed up isn’t something to be ashamed of over here, on the contrary it’s a French perogative. At this point my workhorse of a husband picked up a pick and a shovel and began to dig and pick-axe himself, shaming the masons into grudgingly picking up their shovels again and digging a full foot alongside him in a matter of hours.

Here’s what it looked like by the end of that day – still a cellar, but with lots more head room to come down and have a comfortable tasting.

And of course Franck broke out the wine at the end of the day, so the masons would come back the next time we needed them. For anyone doing any renos here in Burgundy, take note of this essential practice.

And tomorrow will bring the next installment, when my husband and his mysterious helper perform magic and transform concrete planters into a tasting table….