Notes from Iridesse Wines

The Buzz from Patrick & Genevieve

A Good Friend Passes

Posted by Genevieve Rodgers-Llerena on August 29, 2007

FeliceIt is with great sadness that I sit down to write today. In reality, I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks. I was kinda hopin’ that someone would do it for me…which is hard when your company is composed of exactly 2 people. So it falls to me to share the bad news: Felice has passed away. There, I’ve said it. It’s ok to tear-up, I am.

For those of you who did not know her, Felice was our Black Lab – well actually a Labrador/Weimaraner mix (3/4 Lab – 1/4 Weimer to be exact). She was an exceptional dog with a great disposition, a love of balls, sticks (really anything that could be thrown by a human), a great swimmer (as long as the water was not clean), and a cookie fiend.

I got Felice when I first moved to Healdsburg in 1997 and was living on my parents property that would become Chateau Felice Winery. I like to think that the the winery was named for her, but it was, in fact, coincidental. Even after she and I moved to town she came with me to work every day. If you’ve ever been to Chateau Felice you’ve probably met Felice; she came to most of the events. The Harvest was Felice’s favorite time of year. She waited anxiously for the grapes to come in so she could eat the berries that fell on the ground, then sleep the rest of the day away in a sugar-induced coma. After an afternoon dip in a smelly, algae filled lake, her day would be complete.

Felice lost her battle to cancer on August 9th. Last December, she had surgery to remove a tumor that was interfering with her digestion, basically not allowing her to eat. The surgery went well. We hoped the worse was over. Maybe she would be cancer free. Maybe she would live for many more years. But, it was not to be. Last month she got dramatically worse and we knew the tumor was back. It was a tearful and difficult goodbye.

We’re still getting used to her not being here. It’s odd to come home and not have a happy dog waiting for me. Or to get in the car and not have to open the hatch for her to jump in. Our 4 year-old keeps trying to buy her cookies at our local coffee spot. (The Flying Goat makes their own dog cookies.) And I have to remind her that Felice has died. It sorta freaks out the person behind the counter. Patrick is plotting the next dog, Malia wants a rabbit. But, I think it’s going to be a little while. For now I think we’ll just remember her fondly.

A special thank you to the folks at Winery Dogs for giving us the photos from their book of our use. You can find Felice on pages 29 & 29 in Winery Dogs of Sonoma.

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4 Responses to “A Good Friend Passes”

  1. ophthoduck said

    We loved Felice and will miss her. Every part of the family contributes to the success of the wine. Luckily Felice contributed by making all of those around her happy without adding any ‘wet dog’ flavors. Love, Erin

  2. Aaron Bader said

    TO all of Felice’s family,

    I was very sad to see this note. I was just searching on items about Chat Felice and happened upon the blog. During my time at the winery I do remember how good a companion Felice was to everyone she met. Some years ago I lost my winery dog (Coco, a female mix from the pound that my mother brought home when I was still in high school). When we moved to Phoenix Vineyards she came along (she was just a couple of years old at that point). I can empathize with you about missing Felice’s presence. Coco was like the sun and the moon, one of the things that you could count on always being there. Whenever I came up to the winery building, whether I had been gone for an hour or a week, she would always come out to greet me. We watched many sunrises together up there. You can be glad that Malia knew her. Her spirit lives on in all who came to know her.

    I will try to get a hold of you all for a post harvest get together. Hope all is well with everyone there.
    Warm Regards,
    Aaron

  3. el jefe said

    Garnacha Blanca (call her Nacha) from Twisted Oak sends her condolences and regards. She is sure she would have loved eating grapes with Felice.

  4. Ulli Bungenberg said

    Well, we got a Labmaraner too(also 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Weimaraner).He is now 5 month old,and if we would loose him now ,it`s already so sad.I don´t want to imagine ,how painfully someday when he has to leave us…
    warm regards from
    Ulli

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