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Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France Paperback – 4 Jun 2012

176 customer reviews

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Grape Expectations: A Family's Vineyard Adventure in France + Saving Our Skins: Building a Vineyard Dream in France + C'est Modnifique!: Adventures of an English Grump in 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: 2.5 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,632 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

Review

'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)

‘this woman has more steel in her than a fermentation vat’

(The Gloss Magazine)

About the Author

Caro Feely worked as a project manager and IT strategy consultant in South Africa and Ireland before trading it all in to pursue her dreams. She now runs a successful organic wine estate with wine school and gîte rental business in the Dordogne Valley in France with her husband, Sean.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SuzieB on 5 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Set Cumbria on 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 Mike on 21 Dec. 2012
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 By JulieS on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tangerina on 25 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As something of an addict of 'Brits settling in France' sagas, I thought this would be right up my street. A few chapters in, I really regret paying for this book, and I can think of many better things to do than finish it.
I've read about some other implausible ventures by ex-pats, but this beats them all! It's one thing attempting to make wine with no proper training, and another thing to do it in a place where you don't know the language... and I really can't imagine why people with master's degrees in finance and economics, but no experience of farming or even country life, could take such a risk. I suspect that the author is deliberately over-exaggerating the problems in an attempt to attract interest and sympathy.
These suspicions are enhanced by the fact that in some ways the story just doesn't hold up. When they move to their filthy hovel their children are supposedly aged 2 and a few months. The new baby is put to sleep in a house full of mice, which apparently eat her milk-stained clothes, while her mother is petrified of mice herself. This runs counter to any kind of maternal instinct I've ever heard of - I just don't think a mother would do this to her child unless there was really no other solution. As for two-year-old Sophia, she just doesn't sound like a two-year-old to me. She is described as 'toddling around', but she looks at a map of her new home with her mother. After only TWO days in France, this two-year-old is immediately packed off to school... where she is happy to recognize her name above a peg. And after four days, she declares 'I'm not going to cry today'. Sorry, is this a toddler or some kind of precocious genius?
Life's too short for me to continue with this...and there is no need to pay to read marketing tracts!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth on 20 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to learn something about grape growing and learned nothing. For somebody who gives talks in wine production it was disjointed and uniformative. She is described as a disorganised and messy person in her book always in a 'corridor of crisis'. People like that think haphazardly in my experience and the emotional aspects take over from clear and logical communication particularly on technical matters. This is fine if you just want a dramatic account of a person that has deliberately put herself in a stressful situation and then complains about it all the time. She doesn't even tell us the pruning system her grapes are trained to which is fundamental information for a book on grape growing.

She probably has an energetic and bubbly personality whose enthusiasm for wine production has seen her through some difficult negotiating situations but imparting information clearly is not her forte. Basically the writing of the book was just an elaborate marketting ploy which she is good at and which will no doubt work on emotional sympathisers who feel sorry for her but I could have done without all the anxiety and stress which makes up most of the book. If you want a comfortable read then don't bother, it's just disjointed anxiety ridden meandering. Perhaps if she had written it in diary form or used a monthly or seasonal format it might have followed a logic that we could follow rather than try to make sense of a disjointed 'corridor of stress' all the time. We might then have discovered what happened to some of her ideas and projects that disappeared from the story like her mystery building or how she managed to afford to do up half the house to let out when she was broke etc.
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