The vintage period of the winemaking calendar is taxing on every winemaker, both physically and mentally. The days are long, the work is physical and there are a million things to think about. Reading for fun, especially about wine, in any ‘spare’ time would seem, on the surface, as a somewhat unnecessary activity. However, there are always little bits of inspiration to be drawn from insightful writers and industry commentators, just as your eyelids drop shut.
Without doubt the best vintage read I’ve ever had was Andrew Jefford’s ‘The New France; A Complete Guide to Contemporary French Wine’. This is a landmark work, beautifully written, very measured and with great insight. It kept me awake at night when I should have been sleeping. It caused me to re-assess and question my winemaking practices, to step back and think outside ‘my’ square.
This vintage reading was ‘Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking’ by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop. This was another compelling read. There was a lot of info that wasn’t necessarily new to me but every now and again there was a paragraph that would stop me in my tracks and cause me to re-assess both the big picture of winemaking and some of the finer detail. This is the aspect of a good vintage read, something that makes me ask questions of myself and a little bit of inspiration thrown in.
If you love the subject of wine, then these two books are absolutely essential reading. You may not agree with every assertion, that is not the point. However, you will close the cover and put the books down with a deeper understanding of the very complex world of wine.