Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: Glass Half Full: The Ups and Downs of Vineyard Life in France

Glass Half Full: The Ups and Downs of Vineyard Life in France Glass Half Full: The Ups and Downs of Vineyard Life in France by Caro Feely
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When we reach into the cupboard for a glass and into the fridge for the bottle that has been chilling, most of us never consider the amount of effort and worry that has gone to get that perfect glass of wine. Any number of factors through the year can affect the quality and quantity of grapes that get harvested, you need the right amount of sun, rain at the right time and to keep a careful eye on the vines as they flourish and grow. But a late autumn thunderstorm can bring the horror that is hail and you can see all your hard work shredded in moments.

Chateau Feely is the vineyard that Caro Feely runs with her husband Seán. Buying the estate was a decision of the heart rather than the mind, but they have become established as an organic and biodynamic vineyard with recognition and awards for their wines as well as running a successful business with wine tours, holiday accommodation and vineyard experiences. Whilst their wine is created in balance with the environment, the strains of family life and the business and along with the added emotional roller coaster that Caro is going through begin to show. They conclude that they need their first member of staff.

Glass Half Full is the third in the series of books by Caro about the pleasure and pain of running your own vineyard. It is full of stories and anecdotes in the larger context of overall life it is as readable as the first two books. It has happy moments and sad moments, as you would expect with any book about family life. She is open about her fears and aspirations for the business in this book, and we get to read how the mental and physical effort required takes its toil; it takes long days of work to grow the business. There are positives too, living in a small community just outside Bordeaux and the delights of French cuisine are an important part of the story. She hints at another book in the pipeline, so that is something to look forward to.

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