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Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France [Paperback]

Caro Feely
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

4 Jun 2012
‘Delicious.’ I licked my lips. The wine filled me with joy. A picture of a vineyard drenched in sunlight formed in my mind. Sean drew me rudely back to the lounge of our semi-d. 'How can they be in liquidation if they make wine this good?’ When Caro and Sean find the perfect ten-hectare vineyard in Saussignac, it seems their dreams of becoming wine-makers in the south of France are about to come true. But they arrive in France with their young family (a toddler and a newborn) to be faced with a dilapidated eighteenth-century farmhouse and an enterprise that may never, ever make them a living. Undeterred by mouse infestations, a leaking roof, treacherous hordes of insects, visits from the local farm ‘police’ and a nasty accident with an agricultural trimmer, Caro and Sean set about transforming their ‘beyond eccentric’ winery into a successful business as they embark on the biggest adventure of their lives – learning to make wine from the roots up.

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Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France + Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog: Sniffing Out the Perfect Plot in Provence + Son of Serge Bastarde: Mayhem in the Antiques Markets of Rural France
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (4 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849532575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849532570
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Caro Feely is a certified wine educator that writes part time from the organic vineyard and wine school in France that she owns and runs with her husband Sean. Part Irish, part South African and now part French she is passionate about wine and life. Caro grew up on a sugar cane farm and spent fifteen years working as a business and IT consultant with multinationals like IBM and Accenture before following her dream to make wine in France.

Product Description


'In this beautifully written tale of passion, caution, guts, Caro Feely takes us on her heartfelt journey as she and her husband breathe life into an old Bergerac winery, while she and her husband Sean resuscitate their own.' (Alice Feiring, Author of Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally)

'A must read for anyone who's dreamed of owning their own vineyard, at times gritty, at times joyful, Grape Expectations is an inspiring story of how one couple changed their lives.' (Jamie Ivey, Author of Extremely Pale Rose)

'The farm was just outside Bergerac, the cathedral visible from the house and the local school just a walk through the vines. It made no money. The troubles in buying the farm were a taster for what was to come - but they survived and now know that the route to good wine is by starting at the roots' (Connexions France)

'Captivating reading for anyone with dreams of living in rural France' (Destination France)

'… an enjoyable way to learn a bit more about winemaking while staying warm and dry. Reading it between helping with the harvest at different vineyards really helped to bring the whole process to life.' (English Wine Lovers)

Really liked Caro's book; it's not the usual fall in love with France story, it's warts and all - including horrific accidents! Definitely the best - and most realistic - tome coming from the "year in Provence " genre. (Joe Duffy, Irish radio personality)

I was moved and delighted by this book, which has vast and useful amounts to say about wine and the passion of wine-making, about France and the great adventure of family life, and above all about the trials and challenges that build a marriage… splendid book . (Martin Walker, Bestselling Author of the Bruno, Chief of Police series)

Filled with vivid descriptions of delicious wines, great food, and stunning views, this is a unique insight into the world of the winemaker, and a story of passion, dedication, and love. (Bookalicious Travel Addict Blog)

I was completely caught up in this memoir, wondering if the Feelys would ever be able to make their dream come true… This book is bright, passionate, inspiring, informative and absolutely delicious. I would highly recommend it to anybody and everybody. (Breadcrumb Reads Blog)

If you are among the throngs of wine lovers who have harbored fantasies of owning a vineyard and living the glamorous lifestyle of the chatelaine of a wine domain, then you might want to read "Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France." (PG Plate - The Forks Blog)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations 13 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First read about this book in the Mail.Enjoyed the article so bought the book,I was sorry when I reached the end and hope there is going to be a sequel.What an amazing family,most would have given up,pleased the Feelys carried on. Have just ordered some wine and would love to visit.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By SuzieB
This book is a super insight into what it takes to make a good bottle of wine. It is essential reading for anyone who likes wine. Easy to read and entertaining it makes one appreciate all the hard work that goes into making a glass of red or white. It has me convinced never to buy a bottle of non-organic wine again. If you ever had a dream of buying a property in France with vines to make your own wine - read this book before you commit yourself!

Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly interesting and enjoyable read 28 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This non-fictional read is about a couple who escaped the rat race, and along with their young children travelled to the wonderful French countryside and bought a vineyard; a rather run down and dilapidated vineyard at that. This in itself was quite eventful for them.

I'm not a wine drinker, but having visited some of the vineyards in France in my school years, I was keen on reading the couple re-cap their journey, sharing with the readers their triumphs and tribulations.

I thoroughly enjoyed the author talking about the renovations that were being made on the farmhouse, and it made me want to go and help out and get stuck in too. However just when they thought they had solved one problem, another appeared in its place. All the while this was being described, I was picturing this in my mind.

I couldn't believe how stressful it was having your own vineyard. You expect it to be hard work, with the planting, the pruning and the gentle tending of the vines. You expect it to be hard work at harvest time. What I didn't ever really think about was the vast amount of French bureaucracy that is involved. These workers work so hard, only to be knocked down at each hurdle by some form that needs filling or something else that needs doing. Even filling in a form isn't straightforward. When you see the hoops they have to jump through, it makes you wonder how French wine is not far more expensive.

What delighted me was the friendliness, kindness and helpfulness shown to them by the locals and other wine growers, even their competitors.

I learnt a lot from this book about the wine making process, and what to look out for in different wines. I loved how all aspects of their life was shared with us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of an advert than a story 21 Dec 2012
By Mike
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Increasingly annoyed as it became more of an advert than a story. If I want to buy the author's wine, I will do so based on taste and expert reviews. I do object for paying for a plea for financial support. Pity as there is the bones of a good tale here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations 16 July 2012
I really enjoyed the book . I felt like I was part of the journey that the Feely family took , sharing in the triumps and the diasters and being angry at the social services organisation inspecter for placing blocks in the way forward . Feeling really good when things took an upward turn . There has got to be a sequal PLEASE .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring and easy read 10 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. It was well-written and made me lose track of time, which is the sign of a good book. As a fellow South African and wine-lover, I enjoyed reading about the Feely's adventures in France. I am inspired by their passion and their guts to follow their dreams. Even though Sean and Caro have gone through great stress, financial anxiety etc, I get the impression they are really living life to the full which is an example to risk-averse, fearful people like me!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of many 8 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
New life in France - so many on the market - Perhaps they should never have invested in this Vineyard in the first place it looked pretty doomed from the first page but managed to finish the book and wish them well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Determination writ large 11 Aug 2012
By Snue
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this heartfelt tale of a brave family who followed their dream to become organic viticulteurs and who overcame difficulties with incomprehensible bureaucracy, a lifestyle change and a steep learning curve coping with a dilapidated building, overgrown terrain and savage machinery-and all while not speaking much French initially.
Visit Haut Garrigue if you live nearby [or even if you make a special journey] and toast the Feely's success in some lovely wine. A well-written book for lovers of France and lovers of good wine that inspired me to visit them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Grape Permutations
Truthful ring to account. Full of believable practical problems in an interesting narrative. Thankfully absent are the overworked stories of quaint French characters and their... Read more
Published 1 month ago by John A. Mulgrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape book
Grape book!

Hi, just finished your book having bought it looking for inspiration for my own ambitions. The book is great, really interesting and informative. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Simon
4.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations
I enjoyed the book, it was interesting in the way it showed the difficulty of wine making the administrative red tape of life in France and the trials or married life and rearing... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Daithi
4.0 out of 5 stars Vineyard tales
I'm really enjoying this adventure and learning about what really goes into the production of a bottle of wine, from start to finish. Read more
Published 3 months ago by vicky
4.0 out of 5 stars Educating
gives a good background to wine making and the hard work it involves .
a very satisfying job to hard working people
Published 3 months ago by ROBIN BISSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations
What an amazing couple and what a story, I could hardly put it down, in fact to finish it, just had to even though it was about 2-30 am this morning!!! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Judith Benson
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations
Took this book on holiday with me, what a great read, a story of guts, determination against all odds, nearly giving up and then succeeding against the odds with hard work and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jersey Royal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book cant put it down,real life story
Fab book, really fascinating story, would recommend., once started was not able to put the book down. A really good read.
Published 4 months ago by karengronow
4.0 out of 5 stars Startling and personal changemaking insights into the world of...
Having been privileged to first hear a talk by the author Caro Feely herself, I was really keen to read her book about the first 3 years of this extraordinary enterprise. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JanD
5.0 out of 5 stars Grape Expectations
A story that really makes you wonder what problems the next day will bring.Caro and Sean keep you enthralled by the detailed journey of buying a Bergerac vineyard in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ron McP
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