Thursday, August 27, 2009

Final Edition of the Wine Book Club: A Vineyard in Tuscany

Today marks the final edition of the Wine Book Club, the online club for wine lovers who also love to read. Our selection was Ferenc Máté's excellent A Vineyard In Tuscany--part fantasy, part House Hunters: Italy, and part viticultural adventure. I picked Máté's book for our final book because so many wine lovers dream of becoming vineyard owners and winemakers. Máté lived that dream, and is a good writer, in addition. The result is a magical tale that transports you to the hills of Tuscany, introduces you to local characters and traditions, and makes you feel that you are right there to enjoy the experience with him and his wife.

My fellow readers agreed.

Wine Book Club stalwart Kori from the Wine Peeps describes the book as "your standard feel-good story of adversity and perseverance which ultimately results in a happy ending," but found that the "setting in the beautiful and romantic hills of Tuscany is what makes it special." Kori's been wanting to get to Italy, and this book "did nothing but reinforce my desire to make that trip." She recommends it to "anyone who loves Italian wine, is considering a trip to Italy, or who fantasizes about owning their own vineyard and winery."

Frank from the blog Drink What You Like likened the book to a "fairytale"--complete with "a famous wine making neighbor, [and] living in a historic structure in one of the most beautiful regions on earth." Still, what he appreciated were the "low-key moments of the book," which served to balance out the fairy tale and make it more real. Frank recommends the book as a humorous, quick read.

This month we were also joined by my friend Megan, the Wannabe Wino, who (though still in recovery from the massive amounts of reading she did in law school) agreed with Frank that the book was "a fairly quick read." She loved the home renovation and restoration aspects of the book as much as the descriptions of planting the vineyard and making the wine, but wished that there had been "a bit more info about the vineyards and how they chose to plant the grapes they did." And the book did nothing to diminish Megan's "seemingly impossible dream of someday owning my own vineyard!"

And, last but certainly not least, Jim the Vinegeek joined us this month. Jim's a relatively new blogger, who has been at it since June, and I'm glad that he joined in this month. Jim was drawn to Ferenc Máté's writing, and how it evoked the "sense of community with his neighbors and the various locals who help him with his rebuild and vineyard planting, and the connectedness to the land and the seasons." He wished that Máté was a bit less self-deprecating in his self-portrayal, however, and felt that he could (and should) be justifiably proud of what he achieved.

I'd like to extend a sincere thanks to everybody who supported this idea when I came up with it, and for Kori and Frank who were such dependable reading companions. I'm glad to have been part of the Book Club and rest assured there will still be lots of book reviews here on GWU$20.


Kori said...

Thanks so much for founding and hosting the Wine Book Club. It has been a lot of fun! Cheers!

Tim said...

This is my first visit to your blog, and I have to commend you on a job well done!The book review is a unique
concept..very nice.

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i have this book. This was given by my girlfriend because she knows i love wines. thanks for this post