Follow your Dream Presentation for Women in Wine Expo in Porto

Follow your Dream

Caro Feely, co-founder of Chateau Feely, author of 6 books, Accredited WSET Wine educator and RYT500 Yoga Teacher was invited to speak at the Women in Wine Expo in Porto May 8-10 2024 about Chateau Feely and her books. The themes were Vineyard Confessions, following your dreams, and relaxation.

Presentation for Women in Wine Expo in Porto

Caro Feely’s recent talk at Women in Wine Expo at the WOW centre and Rebello Hotel in Porto, was titled ‘Vineyard Confessions’ and covered three key themes.

  • Follow your Dreams
  • Why Organic? Biodiversity and Nature’s Magic
  • From Stress to Zen with Yoga

Follow your Dreams

In ‘Follow your Dreams’, Caro told the story of taking Oprah Winfrey’s advice, a story told in Saving Sophia.

Herewith the excerpt from  Saving Sophia

‘As I browsed the magazine, a framed message from Oprah Winfrey jumped out at me. It went something like: ‘Create your vision of where you want to be in five years. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Imagine everything, where you are, what you’re doing, what you’re feeling, who you’re with, and write it down.’

It made so much sense.

‘We have to do this,’ I said to Sean.


‘Create our vision of where we want to be in five years,’ I replied, and passed him the magazine.

‘That’s chick stuff, I’m not doing that,’ he said.

I twisted his arm. Pen and paper in hand, we settled into opposite ends of the sofa facing out to sea. We thought for few minutes, then wrote, putting our souls into the exercise. When we exchanged our page of dreams, they were almost identical. We pictured ourselves on a farm in France, with vineyard and winery, gardens for self-sufficiency, and two dogs. We disagreed on most things, which made our matching visions even more incredible. We had discussed the idea in passing many times; Sean’s grandparents were winegrowers. On a trip to France, we had fallen in love with the place and its vineyards, but we hadn’t dared to take it further.

When we gave form to our dream that day, we didn’t have the financial means to do it. We had no formal wine growing or winemaking education, no farming experience, and limited French. One could say it was an unachievable, impossible idea. But having written it down, we started planning for it.

We created lists of things we needed to do to help it progress; wine classes, French classes, visiting France for research, saving instead of spending when it was a ‘nice-to-have’ or a luxury. We took tiny steps towards our dream, barely aware that we were.

We were living Goethe’s words. ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’

Almost five years to the day the Feelys moved to their vineyard in France with no dogs and two daughters. The universe had got their message and improved on it. 🙂

That was the start of the dream that lead to creating Chateau Feely – the full story is told in the Vineyard Series (to stay up to date with the ongoing story that is Chateau Feely we recommend joining the mailing list.)

Turning the farm around – from liquidation to a thriving business took a transformation of the wines to highlight the quality and terroir. This is a long game that requires building the health of the environment and the soil through decades of organic and biodynamic farming. 

The Feelys also diversified the wine range – also something that takes time, not an overnight ‘marketing’ tap of the magic wand. This is about long term committment to quality, respecting the terroir, old vines, handpicking and biodiversity, themes also touched on by Sandra Tavares in her talk on day 1 of the Women in Wine conference in Porto.


The Feelys created accommodation and a professional tasting room with many wine tour options on the organic farm, and focused to selling direct and online with the help of wine tourism which Caro covered in more detail in a wine tourism presentation the following day of the conference.

Why Organic? Biodiversity and Nature’s Magic

Caro talked about why organic is important and how balance in the vineyard – and avoiding systemic chemicals that are ‘CMR’ (Carcinogen (Cancer causing), Mutagenic (Nervous system disrupting) and Reprotoxic (Endocrine and reproductive system disrupting)) – starts with not using chemical fertiliser.  She touched on biodiversity magic, a theme visited in detail in her latest book Cultivating Change

After three years of organic farming the wild orchids came back into the vineyards at Chateau Feely. This is because the systemic fungicides had worked their way out of the soil and the mycorrizea had returned. We talk about biodiversity and the environment in section 4 of our online organic and biodynamic trail. Visit the Feely Organic and Biodynamic online trail to learn about life in the vineyard and beyond. Environment is not only orchids, birds and bees, it is also about farmers, farm workers, schools nearby and people living nearby. 

At Chateau Feely we have realised that biodiversity is key to resilience, to soil health, to plant health and to adapting to climate change. In 2023 we initiated a major biodiversity project which clients can participate in by adopting a tree or trees.

Writing Retreats and Future books

In the shoulder and low season Chateau Feely is a wonderful place to write. We recently hosted the incredible Samuel Sattin who stayed in the Wine Cottage to work on book 3 of his Unico series. Caro also hosts writing retreats – join the mailing list to receive info on these and more. Subscribers will also be first to receive news on Caro’s upcoming Climate Fiction Romance Series ‘Earth Chorus Love Song’.

Yoga – Tools : movement – breathing – meditation

Following your dream is not easy but it is passionate and fulfilling.

To manage the stress along the way Caro turned to yoga which led to her becoming a RYT500 yoga teacher and to Chateau Feely incorporating yoga in their  menu of visits and for accommodation guests. Chateau Feely also offers one day yoga retreats for residents and non-resident guests all year round. 

Three yoga tools that can help with managing stress are movement, breath work and meditation. To discover more about yoga join our yoga mailing list for a free pocket guide to yoga.

To close the session Caro moved into a short meditation.


We are passionate about wine, yoga and books and this was the perfect forum to share all of these with an amazing group of women. Thank you to Senay Ozdemir and the incredible team at Women in Wine Expo including Nelly Ward and Nadia for the opportunity to speak at this fabulous event.

You can find the full presentation here chateau-feely-presentation-2024-english-for-porto-thursday-45-minutes-vineyard-confessions.

Discover more about the Women in Wine Expo Conference in Porto and Caro’s presentation on Wine Tourism.

Find all Caro’s books, where to buy them and ISBNs.

Buy wine online.

Explore French Wine Adventures for a wine tour or walking tour .

Come and discover more with a visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay with us or do a multi day course or multi day tour .

Book a virtual experience or course.

Join our mailing list to receive our seasonal newsletter, events, wine pairing, recipes and more info on this topic at the bottom right of this page.

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