As we inch towards the end of the Foodie Reads 2016 Challenge, I cracked the cover on a copy of The Mad Crush: A Memoir of Mythic Vines and Improbable Winemaking by Sean Christopher Weir* for my thirty-first foodie read. Yes, I just might be able to get through thirty-eight foodie books this year. I'm going to give it my best shot.
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At less than 150 pages, this was the perfect book for me to hide from the world on a cold, grey morning.
As resident of California's central coast, I love the vineyards and vintners of this area - from Sonoma to Santa Barbara. I was immediately intrigued when I first heard about this book. And I wasn't disappointed.
Weir is a wonderful storyteller and his recounting the true story of the 1995 crush shows just how grueling the winemaking business is. "For the layperson, here's how red wine is made," he details. Preparation, Controls, Filtration and Bottling, Pick Grapes, Sort and Process Grapes, Fermentation, Punchdowns, Pressing, and Barreling Down. "On paper, the crush always looked like a breeze. But, in practice, it never was" (pp. 14-16).
He describes the scenes and characters in a way that make you feel as if you are there with them. describing Bill, the vineyard owner, he writes, " He wasn't the type of leader who screamed at you when you were doing something wrong. He would simply make a suggestion, empowering and inspiring you to do the right thing. ...He wasn't eager to take action and change the natural course of wine. Sometimes a wine just needed time to work out the kinks on its own. Wine is a living thing, and like all of us it goes through awkward moments and growth spurts and rebellious phases. Bill understood this..." (pg. 118).
I breezed through the book and am more than a little determined to track down a bottle of Zinfandel from Saucelito Canyon Winery. I probably won't be able to get my hands on a bottle of the 1995 vintage, but I am happy to find a new-to-me vintner that's within a few hours' drive.
Here's what everyone else read in November 2016: here.