A Vineyard in the Dordogne

It had been his dream for as long as he could recall. To live in France. To make excellent wine in a vineyard of his own. And to have as his home an elegant chateau. Was this not, Nick Ryman wondered, everyone’s secret desire?

In 1973, when he sold the multi-million pound Ryman stationery business, which together with his brother he had successfully built up into a household name, the opportunity finally came for Nick Ryman to transform fantasy into reality. Still not 40 years old, he put his smart dark-blue Ferrari on a ferry for France and immediately headed south to follow his dream.

It did not take him too long to discover and fall in love with Chateau de la Jaubertie, a beautiful 400-year old country mansion, built from soft golden sandstone and set n the heart of the lush green valley of the Dordogne. Together with his wife Anne, a professional cordon-blue cook, and their three children, Hugh, Corinne and Camilla, the Rymans embarked in search of a new life à la française. They had not anticipated the steep learning curve required to deal with the local French people and their customs; nor the passions and rifts that were to erupt within the family.

A Chateau in the Dordogne tells the compelling human story behind Nick Ryman realizing his ambition to make the finest wines both in Bergerac and beyond, thereby beating the French at their own game. But it is a tale of troubles as well of triumphs.

Members of the Ryman family and close associates recall their experiences for Jeremy Josephs, and in their own words they describe how the pursuit of the dream changed their lives. He reveals an English family in France sometimes in harmony and pulling together, other times torn apart by rivalry and torment.