Harvest 2019- a symphony

Harvest 2019 – a perfect symphony

Harvest 2019 at Chateau Feely started like a fine composition – the parts fitted into place like they were made for each other. There was something special this year – a passing into a new phase- more enjoyment and less angoisse (anguish). With handpicking we enjoy the people and the spirit of harvest. This year was exceptional for team, fruit and timing.

Sparkling Rose promises a beauty

Sparkling Rose – 26 – 28 August – We harvested on a fruit, flower, fruit, flower days and descending moon according to the biodynamic calendar – about as perfect conditions and berries/ juice as we could wish for.

Feely vineyard looking east at the dawn early September harvest 2019

Photo of Feely Vineyard early September looking east

With holidays still on the harvest team included Sophia and Ellie, our daughters, and Manuela, a Bordeaux Sciences Po political science master’s candidate, daughter of Alessandra Pontes of Parallel 8, a lively and lovely Brazilian who offers a great range of wine (including ours) in the Bergerac covered market. The core team – Vincent, with a heart of gold and an outstanding picker, Caro and Sean – and missing Ros Bowles who was doing her finals for her wine tourism diploma (successfully passed – bravo Ros!).

Roger, joker and specialist in the lying down method of picking (at the 4-hour mark- who wouldn’t?!) and the lovely Marshall family staying in the Lodge tried their hands too.

3 stories in this photo- Manuela about to start a new phase of masters at uni – Feely sauvignon about to start the transformation from grape to wine and the spider who was spinning a cocoon when we disturbed him. #sauvblanc #sauvignonblancvines #grapes #stories #chateaufeely #saussignac #frenchwineadventures #Harvest2019 #vendanges2019 #handpicked #organicwine #organicvineyard #biodynamicwine

Sauvignon blanc – a perfect balance between citrus and tropical

Sauvignon blanc harvested from 4-6 September -Flower, fruit, fruit – and descending moon on the biodynamic calendar – great conditions, excellent weather and fruit exploding with character.

The team transitioned from Sophia and Ellie who were back to school – to Ros who has been with us 3 summers and a full year and energetic Elodie Passera starting her wine tourism diploma alternance with us and taking over from Ros as she goes to New Zealand in October. Roddy and Cathy Pugh – Wine Cottage guests, generous spirited bucket carrier and picker arrived JIT to take join in their fifth harvest experience with us.

Old semillon vines at Feely vineyard

Old sémillon vines at Feely vineyard

Générosité – the spirit of this vintage and our sémillon

Monday 9 September – Sémillon – fruit day on the biodynamic calendar –grapes luminous and beautiful. Really cold morning but sunny. Stunning for picking and pressing white. Lodge guests from Northern England popped in for harvest experience and showed some mighty speed and endurance.

La Source – Merlot blend

We weren’t sure of our team for the merlot and were starting to get a little worried– when our nephew Duncan Bristow (aka Woody) had a spare few weeks to learn about wine, a South African friend needed a place for a few days and Dave Smith talented wire sculptor arrived into the Cottage – shazam – magnificent Merlot team– Monday 16 to Thursday 19 September- leaf, fruit, fruit, fruit.

Harvest merlot 2019

Photo of Feely Merlot Vineyard – 17 September 2019 -looking east with Dave and Duncan hiding

Peace and Joy

After 5 years of hand picking we are into a new and peaceful rhythm. In the past, the sound of harvest machines, even way in the distance, would give us a sense of dread reminding us of the early years. We used to hear their grind – even way across the valley – and feel a stab of adrenalin.

Feely harvest team 2019 sauvignon blanc

Photo of harvest team early Sep 2019 Ros, Roddy, Cathy, Sean, Vince, Manuela and Elodie- Team Yay!

If you have read Caro’s books Grape Expectations, Saving our Skins and Glass Half Full you will know the back story that made harvest a scary (but exciting) time for us.

Grace – Cabernet Sauvignon blend

The opus of Harvest 2019 finished with a final glorious morning with our vine shareholders on Saturday 21st September to get all the cabernet sauvignon – a root day- in before the rain started. Maeve Dunne, Conor, Ethan and Michael Robinson helped pull it all together.

Photo of Vine Shareholder Harvest weekend 2019 at Chateau Feely

We partied hard into Saturday night at the Lion D’Or to celebrate -dancing our booties off – an intense and memorable day.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this vintage from its early start in August to its fabulous finale – it’s going to be a great one!

We have hearts filled gratitude a feeling that a new era of more joy and less angst has begun at Chateau Feely. Thank you for being part of this adventure.


To participate in next years harvest book into the Wine Lodge in September or buy a vine share and come for the harvest weekend. See our series on why organic and read more about biodynamics. visit to Chateau Feely in South West France ; stay with us or do a multi day course or multi day tour . Chateau Feely also offers wine school including WSET certified courses. Join our mailing list to receive our seasonal newsletter, wine school, events, wine pairing, recipes and more info on this topic at the bottom right of this page.

Showing 2 comments
  • Julia Robert Battersby

    Bonjour Caro and Sean,
    Always enjoy reading your newsletter very much but each time think “when are you going to export to Australia?!!”
    Certainly your dedication shows in the quality of your wine, which we still remember so well.
    Best wishes for the Festive Season and 2020!
    Warm regards
    Julia and Robert

  • Caro FEELY

    Thank you Julia! Not yet…

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