We felt that our cups were overflowing when we welcomed wine producer and author Caro Feely onto the Girls Do Coffee Show on Ex-Pat Radio to talk about her new book Glass Half Full. Full to the brim of fun, yes, but Caro’s wine knowledge is firmly rooted in reality and years of hard graft.
Caro and her husband Séan have been working out of Chateau Feely in South West France for twelve years now and the ups and downs of their lives have been faithfully recorded in a series of three books…Grape Expectations, Save Our Skins and the subject of this most recent book launch, Glass Half Full.
Throughout the series of books, the reader is presented with the full story, the obstacles as well as the successes, the disasters alongside the celebrations and, having travelled through what Caro calls ‘the Valley of Despair’ with the couple, we are only too happy to celebrate the highs with them too.
The journey for the Feely family has not been an easy one and the decision to go organic and then bio-dynamic on their vineyard set them a goal that would prove challenge for a number of years. That they are up to the task is quite clear…their dynamism and can-do attitude is laid out on every page and Caro radiates the same positivity in conversation.
Even with the difficulties that they have encountered, their commitment to the organic method, which means leaving behind the pesticides, weed-killers and systemic fungicides that are par for the course in the majority of vineyards, comes across loud and clear. The benefits are clear too, not just to those who imbibe but to the plant-life and wildlife on the vineyard too.
Caro described orchids growing on their land that are only able to develop with the presence of some ‘friendly fungi’. Orchids are rarely found in the run-of-the-mill vineyards where fungi of this type are simply poisoned out of existence. Whereas the chemical-free environment of Chateau Feely encourages the development of the orchids along with a wide range of other flora and fauna.
The idea of holding back on chemicals for the good of Nature seems an obvious one, doesn’t it? The next step, when you are picking up a bottle of wine from the supermarket, is to think about the effect of chemical residue on us.
Caro can add the title of accredited wine educator to her portfolio of wine-producer and author and these rôles all provide an opportunity to get this message out there. If all this has sharpened your appetite for discovering more about the Feely family and their organic wines, take a look at their website www.chateaufeely.com where you will find information on buying their wine, staying in gîtes at the property, attending wine school at Château Feely.
You can start though by picking up one of Caro’s books and taking that journey with her and her family through the vines, through the Valley of Despair and out the other side. And if you feel as though the best accompaniment to a good book is a glass of wine, better make sure it’s the best in its field.
Deborah Alexander – www.reflective-writing-group.org