Saturday, April 09, 2011


I am Evan Dawson's editor at Sterling Publishing. I feel compelled to write about this particular book because East Coast Wineries, and New York state in particular, are my normal realm of coverage. I have reviewed other books on East Coast wine, and more reviews are due. This book, in particular, falls into the wheelhouse of the editorial concerns of this blog, and thus it would be odd for me to not review or say something about this book. That said, this is more a letter from the editor than it is a review.

People can talk about how great wine is made all they want. Terroir. Techniques. Equipment. Yada, Yada, Yada. I disagree. First and foremost, great wine starts with people. Great wine starts with passion. If the owners an winemakers and vineyard managers don't have passion, the commitment, then there is nothing to write about.

Great wine is all about passion and commitment. Look at Lalou Bizet Leroy at Romanee-Conti. It was her and her staff's commitment that restored a hallowed vineyard. But it took passion and commitment. The same thing happened at Marguax in the 1970s.

That kind of passion and commitment is what is so compelling about this book. Firstly, the author is passionate and committed. Evan Dawson is crazy about wine. He has all the excitement of a little child, with his eyes lighting up, in his prose as he interviews personality after personality. Evan's commitment to great wine is evident with each page you read. If you can read any one of these chapters, without wanting to drink these wines, then you're not even a beer guy.

Secondly, he's writing about people with massive passion. How did a brilliant German winemaker end up in a small region in upstate New York after leaving his family in the middle of a harvest night? How did a Danish-born winemaker lose his family’s wine estate in southern France, only to see his career revived in the Finger Lakes? Why are they here? How did they get here? And what is the world learning about the land they now inhabit?

That the Finger Lakes is one of the hottest wine regions in the world is self-evident. Talented winemakers from foreign countries don't come to a region unless there's something going on. And something is most certainly going on in the Finger Lakes! Great wine is being made, and people in the wine media are taking notice.

If you want to learn about how a wine region rises, how and why it attracts great talent, and more about where the wine you like to drink comes from, Evan's wonderful book will let you in on all you need to know.

Lastly, one of the biggest reasons I published this book was because of Evan's exceptional writing style. I have had the pleasure and honor to work with many wine great writers in my life time, and I can truly say that Evan's first book belongs on the wine book shelf, with all the other books that have gone on to help establish the great regions. This is a great book! And even more importantly, it's a great read!