Many of us have dreams. Few of us dare to realize them. Brock and Carolyn Dagenais are living theirs right now in a beautiful winery, La Belle Alliance, a few metres north of Fulford.
Brock had been a successful litigator in Edmonton. Carolyn, mother of four, had run his office as well as their home. They were very successful. But this was not their dream. “In litigation, you fight people for a living,” said Brock. “I was tired of the fighting.”
“To relax, Brock would look online at French Chateaux,” said Carolyn. “One day, in 2012, he saw one that he really liked. It was not in France but near Fulford in the Townships.” The main building had been built in 2007 and was in excellent condition. The owner had been trying to sell for years but no one had taken it on.
They arranged a visit. When they came to the property they saw something that the realtor had ignored and had left out of the description. Situated around the main property were fields of poorly tended vines. Their dream expanded from living in a chateau to developing a winery.
In May 2015, the Dagenais closed the deal and soon after that, they moved in with their four children aged, 12, 10, 8 and5. The eldest goes to school in Granby and the three younger ones go to school in Knowlton. “We have found “Home” here,” said Carolyn, “We had a house in Edmonton, but this is “Home”.
“Our lives are no longer set by the clock and by hours billed, but by the rhythms of nature. The sun, the rain and the seasons govern our time now. Now we dance with the natural world,” said Brock with a smile. “You cannot fight nature, she only allows you to dance with her.”
In 2016, they produced their first wine, a white called “Toujours” and a red called “L’ Amour”.
These words are their toast to each other every evening. In 2018, they will sell a rosé that they will call “Entrenous.” They sell their wine directly from their shop in the Chateau.
The shop is open November – June from Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed December 23 to January 10. 239 Chemin de Fulford. Phone 450-539-0880. www.labellealliance.ca