Bordeaux and Burgundy and Champagne have spawned an entire
industry of writers and books on the subject. First the French and then the
English have fawned over these regions, literally, for more than a century and
half. Later came Italy. Now, California draws down some considerable ink of its
But what of the East Coast? Recently, there has been a
massive outpouring of ink splashed about on pages singing the praises of the
men and women who toil so hard in the fields to create that amazing,
captivating, intoxicating (in more ways than one) elixir…wine.
The best of these is Summer in a Glass, a tremendous book
filled with the kind of stories that make any wine region even more romantic
and heroic than anyone can imagine. And the writing is superb. What makes
Summer so wonderful is that it is about the people and the wine. Don’t tell me
about the wine…tell me the story behind the wine. While the only fault of John Hartsock's wonderful Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery was to come out in the same season...a wonderful book.
The Vineyard by Louisa Hargrave to me is exceptionally well
written, and a truly important book. Very rarely do you get such an intimate
portrait of a wine family and the founding of an entire wine region!
Then next to me would be Richard Leahy’s Book Beyond
Jefferson’s Vines for its combination of history and future think. I love the
two Hudson Valley entries. Although hard to find, they are both incredibly well
worth reading. The High Tor story is not so well known today, but an important
story in its time. To read it and then Mark Miller’s memoir back to back is to
get a sense of the valley and of a period that few people know or understand
Regardless, there is now a canon of wine books about east
coast wine. And a worthy one at that. Of course, New York dominates…but
Virginia is not far behind. A great group of books that will give you a
tremendous opportunity to understand one of the fastest growing wine countries
in North America!
It is a rich and entertaining list. One that deserves reading. One to be proud of.
SUMMER IN A GLASS by Evan Dawson, Introduction by James Molesworth
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?
These are the fascinating questions that permeate the wine
in New York’s Finger Lakes region, and journalist Evan Dawson provides
thrilling answers in Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the
Finger Lakes. After spending two years on the road, in the cellars, and in the
vineyards with these talented men and women, Dawson tells their deeply personal
stories in a way that stitches the new, emerging story of the region together.
Some of the winemakers had to overcome family tragedy; others found love or
returned home to follow their hearts. This is a wine book without focusing too
heavily on the wine. Readers will feel personally connected to these growers
and producers, all while absorbing the story of a region’s wines without ever
encountering too much technical information.
Wines from the Finger Lakes are earning the world’s
attention. This page-turner demonstrates why the attention is richly deserved.
The end result might leave readers curious to open a Finger Lakes Riesling… or
even seek out the region itself, which is transformed by its best winemakers
into the very definition of summer in a glass.
Evan Dawson is the Managing Editor and Finger Lakes Editor
of the New York Cork Report, the two-time winner of the award for Best
Single-Subject Wine Blog. He writes several pieces weekly for NYCR. His day job
is morning anchor of 13 WHAM News This Morning in Rochester, NY, broadcasting
on the ABC affiliate (as well as the local CW channel). His on-air duties also
include reporting on politics and public policy.
THE VINEYARD by Louisa Hargrave
An exceptionally wonderful tale of Louisa and Alex
Hargrave's establishing of the first vineyard in Long Island. Especially with
the shadow of the region’s 40th Anniversary hovering over the
landscape, this book could not be any more important! In 1973, against the
advice of experts and the experience of history, Louisa Hargrave and her
husband, Alex, bought a run-down 1680-vintage potato farm on Long Island’s
North Fork and planted ten thousand European wine grapes. Having begun her grape-
growing adventure with the arrogance of youth and the assumption that she and
her husband could figure it all out themselves, she was both humbled and
transformed by the land, by her children, and by the generosity of those who
helped along the way. At once wry and heartwarming, this is an odyssey as much
about spirit and the connection to place as it is about the simple pleasures of
a new wine.
BEYOND JEFFERSON’S VINES by Richard Leahy, Introduction by Dave
For 30 years, Thomas Jefferson grew grapes in his Monticello
vineyards in hopes of producing fine wine --but to no avail. Today that has
completely changed. Virginia wine now has a reputation as some of the best in
America, with increasing sales and more wineries (nearly 200) welcoming an
ever-larger number of visitors. Richard Leahy, a former editor for Vineyard
& Winery Management magazine, has written the essential book on Virginia
wine, covering its history, interviews with the state's top winemakers, and updates
on the latest industry developments.
Richard Leahy is a wine writer and consultant who has been
reporting on the wines of Virginia and Eastern North America since 1986. He
works with numerous wineries in Virginia and along the East Coast and has been
writing for the wine industry since 1986. He became well-known in the Eastern
wine industry as East Coast Editor for Vineyard & Winery Management, and is
the Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the ground-breaking Oxford Companion
to the Wines of North America (2000), a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide, and assisted Steve
DeLong on his recent Wine Tasting Notebook. Mr. Leahy is a member of the Circle
of Wine Writers, professional organization of leading wine journalists based in
the U.K. Richard was the Executive Director of the Virginia Wine Experience in
London in May 2007. The event was timed to coordinate with the 400th
anniversary of the Jamestown settlement and was a huge success — as written in
an account in the Financial Times of London on 9/1/2007. Richard coordinates
the conference program for the Eastern Winery Exposition, a major wine industry
trade show for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern wine industries that takes
place in Lancaster, PA annually in early March.
A GENTLEMAN’S GAME by Mark Miller
A tale of high art and design as well as hard work and
sweat, as famous illustrator takes on farming in the Hudson Valley and
establishes one of the signature wineries and a winemaking dynasty. In 1957,
Mark and Dene Miller purchased a vineyard in Marlboro, New York, overlooking
the majestic Hudson River and the distant Berkshires. They really only wanted a
few acres of vines, from which they hoped to produce a few cases of wine for
themselves and their friends. Yet out of that small dream grew something much
more ambitious: the revitalization not only of America's oldest known vineyard
but of the entire Hudson Valley winemaking industry. Told with charm and humor
and illustrated with Mark Miller's own handsome drawings, Wine--A Gentleman's
Game offers a great deal of practical information on grape cultivation and
winemaking. Perhaps more importantly, however, their story, and the story of
Benmarl Winery, also nurtures the hope lurking in many of us that, with the
proper amount of courage and determination, we could do the same.
A noted illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post and other
magazines, Mark Miller founded Benmarl Winery in 1957 on the site of a vineyard
established by the early American viticulturist Andrew J. Caywood. In addition
to winning many awards for his wines, Miller and Benmarl were at the forefront
of the small farm winery movement in New York and played a leading role in
securing passage of the state's Farm Winery Act of 1976, which reduced the
annual licensing fee and also expanded allowable retail sales at wineries.
Miller died in 2008.
THE VINTAGE YEARS: The Saga of High Tor Vineyards by Everett
This is a wonderful book about Everett S. Crosby's exploits
in building the most famous winery east of the Rockies from 1950 to 1971.
High Tor Vineyards merit favorable references in all our
leading wine guides like Schoonmaker's Encyclopedia and Alec Waugh's Wines and
Spirits (which lauds High Tot's ""very pleasant"" white and
""delicious"" rose). Behind every good wine is a story, and
it is difficult to imagine a more felicitous one than Crosby's account of how
he and his wife first became interested in viniculture, the early efforts which
commenced in the Crosbys' Manhattan apartment, the eventual purchase of about
80 acres in the Hudson Valley at the foot of the Catskills which became High
Tot Vineyards, the slow but satisfying growth of the enterprise, the continuous
learning process about the science of winemaking, the experimentation with
European hybrids, the pleasures of individualism in an age of mass production
(the High Tor output has never been large), the minor irritants like wine
critics who use such terms as ""Ropey. . . has good legs. . . tears
readily"" (""Do these words mean anything to
you?"" asks Crosby. ""They sure as hell mean nothing to
me""), the famous High Tot vintage parties which had to be terminated
in 1960 because the gate-crashers got out of hand, the encounters with the
bureaucratic State Liquor Authority and the IRS, and finally sale of the
vineyards in 1971 after eighteen years as quality producers. Crosby concludes
with a few dry remarks on winos, the wine business' pricing structure, and that
""pervading evil"" -- government interference. Like the
wine, the story has character. –Kirkus Review, 1973
LONG ISLAND WINE COUNTRY: Award-Winning Vineyards of the
North Fork and the Hamptons by Jane Taylor Starwood, Bruce Curtis
(Photographer) with a Foreword by Louisa Hargrave
If you love Long Island wine, or know someone who is a fan,
then you need to run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy Long Island
Wine Country: Award-Winning Vineyards of the North Fork and the Hamptons, by
Jane Taylor Starwood ,with photographs by Bruce Curtis and with a fabulous
introduction by Louisa Hargrave (co-founder of Long Island's first vineyard and
This book takes readers to each of the area’s more than
forty producers, telling the colorful stories of the wines and the people who
There are well over 3,000 acres on Long Island’s beautiful
East End that have been planted with vinifera wine grape varieties over the
last three decades. Add to that the recent praise for wine producers like
Bedell Cellars, The Lenz Winery, Raphael, and Wolffer Estate Vineyards (among
numerous others) from sources like the New York Times, Wine Spectator, and Wine
Advocate, and it’s not difficult to see why the New York Times, in a feature on
Long Island wines, captioned a photo with the words, “Who needs Bordeaux? A
tasting of wines from the East End.”
Starwood is the editor of Long Island Wine Press magazine,
so you know she had entre' with the winemakers, owners, and other winery
personnel. The writing is very good, and the stories are great. And veteran
photographer Bruce Curtis shoots one beautiful vista after another. A stunning
SEASONS OF A FINGER LAKES WINERY by John Hartsock
In 1998, Gary and Rosemary Barletta purchased seven acres of
land on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Descending to the west from the state
route that runs along on the ridge overlooking the lake, the land was fertile,
rich with shalestone and limestone bedrock, and exposed to moderating air
currents from the lake. It was the perfect place to establish a vineyard, and
the Barlettas immediately began to plant their vines and build the winery about
which they had dreamed for years.
The Barlettas' story, as John C. Hartsock tells it, is a
window onto the world of contemporary craft winemaking, from the harsh
realities of business plans, vineyard pests, and brutal weather to the
excitement of producing the first vintage, greeting enthusiastic visitors on a
vineyard tour, and winning a gold medal from the American Wine Society for a
Cabernet Franc. Above all, Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery describes the
connection forged among the vintner, the vine, and terroir. This ancient bond,
when tended across the cycle of seasons, results in excellent wines and the
satisfaction, on the part of the winemaker and the wine enthusiast, of tasting
a perfect harvest in a single glass.
Today, Long Point Winery sits on seventy-two acres (eight of
which are under cultivation with vinifera grapes) and produces sixteen
varieties of wine, a number of which are estate wines made from grapes grown on
their property. With interest in winemaking continuing to grow, the Barlettas'
experience of making award-winning wines offers both practical advice for
anyone running (or thinking of running) their own winery, whether in the Finger
Lakes or elsewhere, as well as insights into the challenges and joys of
pursuing a dream.
A HISTORY OF VIRGINIA WINES: From Grapes to Glass by Walker
Go beyond the bottle and step inside the minds- and vines-
of Virginia's burgeoning wine industry in this groundbreaking volume. Join
grape grower and industry insider Walker Elliott Rowe as he guides you through
some of the top vineyards and wineries in the Old Dominion. Rowe explores the
minds of pioneering winemakers and vineyard owners, stitches together an
account of the wine industry's foundation in Virginia, from Jamestown to
Jefferson to Barboursville, and uncovers the fascinating missing chapter in
Virginia wine history. As the Philip Carter Winery's motto explains, 'Before
there was Jefferson, there was Carter.'
Rowe goes behind the scenes to interview migrant workers who
toil daily in the vineyards, makes the rounds in Richmond with an industry
lobbyist and talks shop with winemakers on the science and techniques that have
helped put the Virginia wine industry on the map. Also included are twenty-four
stunning color photographs from professional photographer Jonathan Timmes and a
foreword by noted wine journalist Richard Leahy.
Walker Elliott Rowe is a freelance writer and hobby wine
grape grower living in Rappahannock County, Virginia. His wine writings have
appeared in Wine Business Monthly, Richmond Times Dispatch, Wine and Cuisine,
The Virginia Wine Guide, The Virginia Wine Gazette, and The Rappahannock News.
Rowe has spent the last three years visiting the vineyards in and around
Virginia; attending seminars, meetings and training; planted his own Bordeaux,
Rhône Valley, and American hybrid wine grapes; and worked for 6 months at
Horton Vineyards with Mexican migrant workers to understand the craft of the
winemaker and grape grower. Born in South Carolina and widely read, Walker
Elliott Rowe has an understanding of the culture of the South and weaves
anecdotes of the Civil War and Southern idiosyncrasies into his narrative style
of writing. He now lives in Santiago, Chile.
WANDERING THROUGH VIRGINIA’S VINEYARDS by Elliott Walker
This is a wonderful literary stroll through Virginia wine
country. An enchanting little tome, and well worth your taking the time to dip
into it and sip like a fine Virginia chardonnay.
There is a gold rush underway in Virginia. But the treasure
under pursuit is not a precious metal. Rather it is a fruit, a golden-colored
grape known by the odd-sounding name Viognier" (pronounced
vee-yon-nay). From Leesburg in the north down to Roanoke in the south, dot-com
millionaires, celebrities, retired civil servants, and apple farmers are
turning fallow pastures and orchards into row after row of European fine wine
Dave Matthews, Governor Mark Warner, Patricia Kluge, and the
son of the late owner of the Washington Redskins all have broken ground on
vineyards and wineries in the Charlottesville region and beyond. Leading the
way almost 30 years ago, Italy’s largest winegrape growers and vintners, the
Zonin family, bought the hallowed ground of the Barboursville ruins and planted
the first large-scale vineyard of strictly European grapes in Virginia. Their
success has inspired legions of followers.
PENNSYLVANIA WINE: A History by Hudson Cattell and Linda
From the banks of the Delaware River to the shores of Lake
Erie, the fields and hillsides of Pennsylvania are home to a rich tradition of
winemaking. Though both William Penn and Benjamin Franklin advocated for the
production of wine, it was not until 1787 that Pierre Legaux founded the first
commercial vineyard in the state and the nation. Veteran wine journalists
Hudson Cattell and Linda Jones McKee offer more than just a taste of the
complex story of the Pennsylvania wine industry--from the discovery of the
Alexander grape and the boom of Erie County wineries in the nineteenth century
to the challenges of Prohibition and the first farm wineries that opened in the
1970s. Join Cattell and McKee as they explore the Keystone State's distinct
wine regions and tap the cask on their robust history. You will not find more
intelligent, knowledgeable writers on eastern wines than these two. A rare gem!
Cattell is among the most important writers of East Coast
wine. With journalist Lee Miller, Cattell founded Wine East magazine (now part
of Wines & Vines), and later, Linda Jones McGee who became Cattell’s Wine
East partner. Wine writer David Falcheck wrote: A lifetime member of the
American Wine Society, he received that group’s coveted Award of Merit in 1991, an honor shared by luminaries such as Robert
Mondavi, Mike Grgich, and Kent Rosenblum.
In 1986, he received the Vinifera Perpetual Monteith Trophy, as
impressive as it sounds.
A HISTORY OF CONNECTICUT WINE: Vineyard in Your Backyard by
Eric D. Lehman and Amy Nawrocki
As a former son of Connecticut, I am pre-disposed to like
this book. Wine has been meticulously crafted in Connecticut ever since colonists
discovered wild grapes growing on their land. At first glance, the New England
climate appears inhospitable for this fastidious fruit, but a number of
varieties thrive here, including pinot gris, chardonnay, cabernet franc, cayuga
white and st. croix. These carefully cultivated grapes have produced wines of
unique characteristics and surprising quality. Join local wine enthusiasts Eric
D. Lehman and Amy Nawrocki as they explore the intricacies of the region s
local blends, the vintners who craft them and the people who taste them.
This is a great little book (only a very readable 128
pages). Lehmann and Nawrocki affably tell the history of wine in the state, and
interview numerous people in the bargain. A truly wonderful little tome, filled
with all the interesting anecdotes one might expect.
MARYLAND WINE: A Full-Bodied History by Regina McCarthy
The roots of Maryland winemaking are surprisingly deep. The
state's first known vines were planted in 1648, and a later Marylander, John
Adlum, established his place as the father of American viticulture. In the
twentieth century, post-Prohibition pioneers like Philip Wagner and Ham Mowbray
nurtured a new crop of daring and innovative winemakers who have made the state
an up-and-coming wine region. Author Regina Mc Carthy travels through the red
tobacco barns of southern Maryland and the breezy vineyards of the Eastern
Shore all the way to the Piedmont Plateau and the cool mountain cellars of the
west in search of the state s finest wines and their stories. Join Mc Carthy as
she traces over 350 years of the remarkable and robust history of Maryland
Regina Mc Carthy has been working with the local wine
industry since 2009, specifically as the marketing coordinator for the Maryland
Wineries Association. A native Marylander, she loves the local food and wine
culture of the Free State and has a passion for both cooking and entertaining.
Regina graduated from Towson University with her degree in mass communication
with a focus on public relations. She has written articles for various
publications, including Reader's Digest: North American Wine Routes: A Travel
Guide of Wines and Vines from Napa to Nova Scotia. Working with the owners and
staff of all the Maryland wineries on a day-to-day basis has not only prepared
her for the documentation of this local history but also adds to her quality of
life. Regina enjoys the many characters and the varied personalities who make
up the local wine scene and appreciates their dedication to the land and hope
for the future of the Maryland wine industry.
NEW JERSEY WINE: A Remarkable History by Sal Westrich
The finely aged story of New Jersey wine is older than the United States itself.
As early as 1767, the colony's wines were garnering awards from London's Royal
Society of the Arts. The vineyards continued to grow through some of the
country's most turbulent times. In 1864, at the height of the Civil War, Renault
Winery was founded, and it continues to operate today. While Prohibition nearly
destroyed the industry, in 1933, the founding of Tomasello's Winery in Hammonton
helped revive it. In 1980, only seven wineries were in operation, but by 2011,
the state boasted over thirty-four--many of which are winning awards in some of
the world's most respected wine competitions. So grab a glass and join
winemaking expert Sal Westrich as he tracks the history of New Jersey wine,
accompanied by photos by John Muth.
Wagner is a special person. He was a reporter and then
editor of the Baltimore Sun and established Boordy Vineyards outside of
Baltimore, Maryland. He wrote seveal great books. The first is about making
wine, and the other is about establishing vineyards. These were powerful books
in their day, and there are few eastcoast winemakers who are about 35-40 years
of age who don't know who Wagner was and how important his influence was on
generations of winemakers. Very influential.
Wagner remains important for several simple factors: 1. Wagner established and championed the use of French American hybrids in a period when no one else grew vinifera, and thus truly establishing a nascent wine industry on the east coast. 2. Wagner was instrumental in helping to educated generations of winemakers, especially on the east coast, but around the country as well. 3. As increases in winemaking knowledge continue, and winemakers look for alternative grapes to help add distinctiveness to their lines and regions, hybrids are making a comeback. Witness Leon Millot being named best red table wine of 2012 in New York state!
THE WILD VINE: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of
American Wine by Todd Kliman
It’s not about east coast wine, per se, but it does
prominently profile a number of east coast winemakers. A rich romp through untold
American history featuring fabulous characters, The Wild Vine is the tale of a
little-known American grape that rocked the fine-wine world of the nineteenth
century and is poised to do so again today.
Author Todd Kliman sets out on an epic quest to unravel the
mystery behind Norton, a grape used to make a Missouri wine that claimed a
prestigious gold medal at an international exhibition in Vienna in 1873. At a
time when the vineyards of France were being ravaged by phylloxera, this grape
seemed to promise a bright future for a truly American brand of wine-making,
earthy and wild. And then Norton all but vanished. What happened?
The narrative begins more than a hundred years before
California wines were thought to have put America on the map as a wine-making
nation and weaves together the lives of a fascinating cast of renegades. We
encounter the suicidal Dr. Daniel Norton, tinkering in his experimental garden
in 1820s Richmond, Virginia. Half on purpose and half by chance, he creates a
hybrid grape that can withstand the harsh New World climate and produce good,
drinkable wine, thus succeeding where so many others had failed so
fantastically before, from the Jamestown colonists to Thomas Jefferson himself.
Thanks to an influential Long Island, New York, seed catalog, the grape moves
west, where it is picked up in Missouri by German immigrants who craft the
historic 1873 bottling. Prohibition sees these vineyards burned to the ground
by government order, but bootleggers keep the grape alive in hidden backwoods
plots. Generations later, retired Air Force pilot Dennis Horton, who grew up
playing in the abandoned wine caves of the very winery that produced the 1873
Norton, brings cuttings of the grape back home to Virginia. Here,
dot-com-millionaire-turned-vintner Jenni McCloud, on an improbable journey of
her own, becomes Norton’s ultimate champion, deciding, against all odds, to
stake her entire reputation on the outsider grape.
Brilliant and provocative, The Wild Vine shares with readers
a great American secret, resuscitating the Norton grape and its elusive, inky
drink and forever changing the way we look at wine, America, and long-cherished
notions of identity and reinvention.
Todd Kliman is the food and wine editor and restaurant
critic of The Washingtonian. He won a James Beard Award in 2005 for his
THE WINEMAKER’S APPRENTICE by Eric Miller, Introduction by
The son also rises! Eric Miller, founder with his wife Lee,
of Chaddsford Winery, is one of the best winemakers on the east coast, and was
a force in placing Pennsylvania on the east coast wine map. He certainly pushed
hardest making quality wines in the Keystone state for many years. His book is
not about Pennsylvania wine, per se, but deserve mention, if Philip Wagner
does. And he is the son of Mark Miller, of Benmarl, whose book is listed above.
In Eric Miller's new book, readers get behind-the-scenes
access to the wine world’s masters of the craft, as well as a guide to the techniques
that made them so successful.
Now, this isn't a step-by-step, ...For Dummies style guide
to making wine. It doesn't have formulas and ratios, etc. So you still need
something like Philip Wagner's book Grapes into Wine or From Vines to Wines to make
wine properly. But you shouldn't waste one iota of time without first reading
Eric Miller's new book. It is an instant classic on the subject of winemaking,
and is easily the most current, up-to-date catalogue of all the discussions
going on between the world's winemakers today.
Miller, who has spent a life time in wine, first at his
father's side making wine in the old Caywood vineyards at Benmarl Winery, and
then later on at his own Chaddsford Winery along with his wife Lee, gives
advice about the art and process of winemaking, from where to plant grapes to
what grapes to plant to what you can expect to achieve in the final product.
Most fascinating are his many interviews with winemakers from the United
States, France, Italy, South Africa, Chile, and Germany. It's not just Miller's
take on things, but he garners incredible opinions and advice from winemakers
the world over. These master craftsmen relate their stories and share their
understanding about selecting sites and planting vineyards, about harvesting
and processing grapes, about cellar work and aging wines, about how to make
critical decisions and how to avoid problems.
The book is a star studded affair, chock-a-block with
fascinating interviews with people like vineyard manager and consultant Lucie
Morton, Peter Gago of Penfolds, Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, Adam Lee of
Siduri Winery, Johannes Selbach of Weingut Sellbach-Oster, Gary Pisoni of
Pisoni Vineyards, Aurelio Montes from Montes Vineyards, Pauline Vauthler, of
Chateau Ausone, Richard Harbich-Olsen from Bedell Cellars, and many, many more.
Eric Miller is one of the most important winemakers on the
East Coast. Chaddsford has grown to become Pennsylvania’s largest winery, and
Eric Miller is among a handful of East Coast United States winemakers who have
achieved national acclaim and recognition. His wines have been called
“enchanting” and “perfect” by Gourmet, and have been featured in Food &
Wine, The New York Times, Decanter, and many other prestigious wine and food
If you like wine, and want to know more about it, buy this
book. If you think you might want to be a home winemaker, buy this book. If you
are thinking of getting in the wine business in anyway, from owning a small
boutique winery, or becoming a sommelier, or becoming a wine sales person. You
need to own this book. Wonderful!