The Ripening Sun, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


For most people giving up the day job and moving to a beautiful area of France and living off the vines is an impossible but delicious dream.

In 1990, Patricia Atkinson and her husband decided to sell up in Britain and emigrate to the Dordogne.

Their idea was to buy a house with a few vines attached and employ someone to tend to the wine while they earned their living with some financial consultancy work.

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.

He 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 form the vineyards.

What follows is a remarkable story of struggle and transformation whereby her tiny 4 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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780099443162

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This is a wonderful story of a woman thrust into the task of managing a vineyard and winery, and the roles of many men in mkaing this a successful venture - one in particular, and no, it's not the husband who fades from the scene. The author goes into lots of detail of all the processes involved in nurturing grapes, the vintage, the wine-making, and selling it. It might be a bit too much for some readers, but it illustrates well the effort that had to be put in. In between there are stories of wonderful neighbours, French bureaucracy, family and babies, sprinkled with some whimsical poetry.Easy to read, and presented as a series of short stories within each chapter.

Also by Patricia Atkinson