Sunday, June 28, 2009

VintageVino Pick of the Day: Book Review

New Classic Winemakers of California: Conversations with Steve Heimoff

Today's pick is of a book I picked up last week while in California. I bought it because it highlighted a few of the personalities (and their wineries) that I was going to be visiting. It also makes for interesting reading for anyone looking to get a better understanding of the people who put California winemaking on the map over the past 30 years, as well the people who are putting their own stamp on California wine making, now.

Steve Heimoff is a writer/editor with Wine Enthusiast magazine, and I have read many articles by him. He has put together a collection of interviews with famous, and in some cases less well-known but significant, winemakers from California. The book is arranged somewhat in a chronological manner with winemakers from the 70s, 80s and 90s grouped together. For someone like me who has a pretty good general knowledge of California wine history, but sometimes not the best specific experience with certain people, a book like this can be quite useful.

For example, my company just started doing business with Merry Edwards, one of the most significant winemakers working in California since the 1970s. I have never worked with her wines though, never been to the winery, and lacked a complete understanding of what she is all about. Steve's interview in this book primed me for my winery visit and allowed me a bit of insight into Merry, but in her own words.

Other people highlighted in the book include: Bill Wathen, Andy Beckstoffer, Bob Levy, Doug Shafer and Elias Fernandez, Greg Brewer and many others. Definitely recommend this book - perfect for the wine geek and probably interesting reading for the aficionado. The info in the book is a couple of years old (published in 08), but as all of these people are part of the winemaking web of history in California, it is very much worthwhile.

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