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Thursday, June 28, 2012

DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! -- Makers of American Wine

 THE MAKERS OF AMERICAN WINE; a record of two hundred years
(University of California Press, 2012, 318 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-26953-
8, $34.95 US hard covers) is by Thomas Pinney, an academic who had
written the earlier two-volume "A History of Wine in America" (the
second volume won a IACP Award for best book on wine, beer or spirits).
This book allows him to add more flesh to his previous work, and to
make certain second thoughts. Pinney tells the story through the lives
of 13 people who played important roles in building the industry. Names
we all know (the Gallos, Schoonmaker, Amerine, K Frank, Mondavi) are
augmented by Cathy Corlson (important winemaker), Husmann who pushed
for the Norton grape and provided rootstock to the French after
phylloxera invaded that country), and Longworth (producer of the really
first popular wines in America, still and sparkling Catawba). Lots of
end notes, references to oral histories, and a bibliography for further
Audience and level of use: wine historians, lovers of US wines,
Some interesting or unusual facts: "Ann Noble, the first woman in the
Department of Viticulture and Enology at Davis was hired in 1974 to
replace the distinguished Maynard Amerine, a striking development in
what had been an all-male preserve."
The downside to this book: it was difficult to single out just 13
names, so there are some holes, especially with women in the industry.
The upside to this book: a good, solid biographical history.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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