Saturday, August 27, 2011
Book Report - The Vintner's Apprentice
Some time ago, I took a couple of courses in air conditioning repair. My theory was to save the restaurant money by doing simple things myself instead of calling the $85/hour crew whenever a drain got clogged or an air filter needed changing. Anyway, the bulk of HVAC repair turned out to concentrate on electrical systems, and so I took a week or so to learn how to read circuit diagrams. They were fairly straightforward and easy to understand.
On the first day of actual repair, however, this is what I saw instead of a simple diagram:
And I suspect that phenomena is at work as I learn about viticulture (growing grapes) and enology (making wine). I am reading about five of these books at once, so as I write the reviews, take them with a grain of salt and remember this metaphor. I have no experience in actually tending vines or making wine, so what I think of as good writing and clever useful insight may well be a load of crap once you reach the crushpad.
That being said, Vintner's Apprentice was quite good and a more entertaining treatment of the subject than I have seen. It approaches the basic steps of growing grapes and turning them into wine through a series of interviews with famous and important wine people. There are many pictures. The book itself is gorgeous. It is geared towards an enthusiastic amateur lover of wine, and instead of providing knowledge, it tends to lay out the land and ask the pertinent questions without answering them. There is a good framework here for more study, it is worth checking out.