June marks the 11th month of the virtual Wine Book Club, and the subject of this month’s WBC is ‘La Vie En Rosé – A Very French Adventure Continues’ written by Jamie Ivey, a former London-based attorney turned wine dream chaser living in the south of France. La Vie En Rosé is published by St. Martin’s Press and can be found at most bookstores or Amazon.com for $24.95.
La Vie En Rosé – literally translates to ‘the life in Rosé,’ also loosely translated as ‘life thru Rose colored glasses’ – is a follow up to Ivey’s first book, Extremely Pale Rosé, which tells the story of Jamie’s previous summer in France in search of the palest Rosé. Although one doesn’t need to read Extremely Pale Rosé to follow La Vie En Rosé, reading Ivey’s first book will provide added context in to his passion for Rosé and the origins of La Vie En Rosé.
La Vie En Rosé chronicles the journey of Jamie, his wife Tanya and their friend Peter, as the trio attempts to turn their passion for Rose into a viable business – a wine bar which sells only Rose. The book provides interesting insights in to the challenges associated with trying to start a business in France (or any foreign country for that matter), attempting to master the nuances of the French language, and dealing with the generally finicky French public. As with most ‘romantic’ notions of moving to a foreign country to pursue a dream, Jamie’s journey doesn’t begin as well as expected starting on day one. What was supposed to be the first day of business for La Vie En Rose in the town of Aix, turned out to be a practical joke by a local bar owner who promised space on his terrace for the summer. From there, the fate of La Vie En Rose was uncertain as the trio moved from one temporary location to another setting up shop on any restaurant or bar terrace that would provide them space.
As the story comes to a close, Jamie reflects on the irony of worrying about the location of La Vie En Rosé throughout the summer. The trio finds success not in a ‘brick and mortar’ location, but in a small stall in the heart of a French market. (this of course is the prelude to Jamie’s next book, Rosé en Marche)
For me, La Vie En Rosé was not a book about three people roaming around France chasing a romanticized dream of starting a wine bar with a wine list composed exclusively of Roses. Instead, this is a book about a guy, along with his wife and a friend, who had the courage to dream and take all-out action to make their dream a reality despite imperfect conditions – overcoming fear, uncertainties of the French wine market, and bouts of self doubt along the way. So many of us have (or had) dreams that lie dormant because of fear – both the fear of failure and the much harder to explain fear of actually succeeding.
“… we’d fallen in love with France the previous summer and couldn’t shake the idyll of living and working in Provence. If we didn’t have the courage to do it now, when we were young, then would we ever do it?” - La Vie En Rosé, p. 20
Given my travel schedule, I have a lot of time in airports and on planes and trains to read, and of the 11 books I’ve read this year, La Vie En Rosé is my favorite. I have the deepest respect for those who pursue their dreams with singular focus and stay committed despite challenges. Also because I too harbor similar ‘romantic’ dreams of leaving the grind here to pursue similar endeavors abroad.
Le Vie En Rosé is a perfect read for summer.
Where are they now? Subsequent to the release of La Vie En Rosé, Jamie wrote his third book, Rosé en Marché – Running A Market Stall In Provence, which tells the story of a year spent working in the Provencal markets selling Rose. Jamie, Tanya and their daughter are currently living in France near the village of Lourmarin, selling Rosé and working on his forth book about missing vintage wine.
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