I'm writing this on a campsite in the village of Villegly, just north of Carcassonne. This afternoon we're going to visit the lady who kicked off my wine journey, Wendy Gedney, who lives just up the road in Villeneuve-Minervois. It's only 10 minutes away by bus for the princely sum of one euro.
We've worked it out that it was probably in 2009 we first met Wendy, when we were staying in Pepieux, a few miles east of here and, incidentally, the end of bus route A from Carcassonne. At the time she was just starting her business and then it was mainly just a summer thing. Now she's fully integrated, I think.
It's going to be interesting catching up. For a start, Wendy's settled in her newly renovated home with her man, and she appears to have stepped back from the day to day leading of tours with her company, Vin En Vacances.
I last saw a few years ago when we worked on some publicity for her book about the vineyards of the Languedoc. She told me back then she had a plan to write a bodice-ripper novel, too. If she's anything like me, I imagine something might have distracted her along the way. All that to find out!
As you can imagine, travelling through France it's hard to avoid a vineyard or 3,000. We drove through the Loire Valley and later to Saint-Émillion, pictured in the gallery above.
The one thing I've noticed in comparison to the relatively young vineyards of Shropshire, is how mature the vines are, and how close to the ground. We've seen little or no sign of high trellising at all.
You arrive in Saint-Émillion through a sea of vineyards. Everything's green and as you drive through there are signposts to the competing domaines on either side of the road.
The town is dominated by its wine industry and I had an interesting conversation with the owner of one well-stocked shop overlooking a busy brasserie packed with people under parasols in the sunshine of a scorching day.
He was astonished to hear that there were vines growing commercially as far north as Shropshire and assumed production must be solely based on sparkling. I was happy to put him right and he was more than happy to share information about his locality too.
Coming down to the Languedoc region again, we came through vineyards even on the short trip from Carcassonne to Villegly. Much more to see, I'm sure.
I'll keep you posted.
Roy Williams is a former journalist, systems editor and has his name in small letters as the editor of a book about big data. You can see where the wine comes in...