There followed a series of disasters: the stock market crashed, leaving their small holding as their sole source of income; the first red wine harvest turned to vinegar; and Patricia's husband returned to Britain, unable to cope with the stress and never returned. Patricia Atkinson, whose only knowledge of wine up to that moment was "that it came from a bottle" and who had not a word of French, was left to salvage their life savings from the vineyards.
What follows is a remarkable story of struggle and transformation whereby her tiny four hectare plot has become a major estate of 21 hectares, where her Clos d'Yvigne wines have won awards and been adopted by wine merchants throughout the world, and where she has been hailed as a superstar by UK wine writers.
©2004 Patricia Atkinson; (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks
"Remarkable...an extraordinarily affecting read." (Daily Mail)
I picked up this audiobook because the narrator, Juliet Stevenson, is one of my favorites. The topic was of interest - a couple buys a home/vineyard/winery in Southwest France. This is not written in the Peter Mayle mode and not an escapist yarn -- the author is brutally honest as to her struggles, lack of preparedness in many of the situations she faced, relationship difficulties, and cultural differences. It was pleasant and at times, very poignant. I would say that - as a memoir of sorts - this is written in the vein of telling a story, superficially. The author goes from 'vendage' (harvest) to the next year's vendage in the matter of 2 pages. She rips out a parcel of her vineyard, after commenting early in the book that it would take 4 years for her to realize production from the new vines, and voila (a terms she loves), 2 pages later she wins a 'Coupe de couer' from Guide Michelin for her wine from the new vines! So in a sense, it was as if she was rushing to finish the book. I did enjoy the story, I did love the narration, and I did go back to relisten to it inorder for the entire context of the story to make sense - it is easy to get confused in the storyline because author Atkinson has a tendency to skim over large swaths of time in a matter of sentences. Despite this, I did find it to be well written, enjoyable, and it ended before I wanted it to.
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