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An expertly curated collection of essays written over 50 years between 1971 and 2021, On California captures the essence of the state’s spectacular wine country. Across 39 articles by 35 authors, it delves into the hopes, fears and dreams of the 18th-century pioneers who first shaped it, and what motivates 21st-century visionaries who currently pave the way. It charts the triumph over phylloxera and Prohibition, the mighty influence of the Pacific, and the plus points of a seismic hot zone. Then how, at the whim of one modest English wine merchant, a simple blind tasting in 1976 made the world sit up and notice the wines this extraordinary region was creating.
California wine boffins, whizz-kids and scientists tell their stories on its pages—some via precious archive material, others through their thoughts mid-pandemic. We particularly enjoyed the articles from William Kelley (“Nowhere has the definition of ripeness been explored more thoroughly, or pushed to greater extremes, than in California’s Napa Valley”) and Randall Grahm’s penetrating essay on sustainability and a future made uncertain by climate change. But between the covers there is no dead weight.
The book includes contributions from Randall Grahm, Gerald Asher, Steven Spurrier, Paul Draper, Warren Winiarski, Dr William Kelley, Jane Anson, Elaine Chukan Brown, Karen MacNeil, Esther Mobley, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Liz Thach MW and Kelli White, Hugh Johnson and Fiona Morrison MW, Harry Waugh, Harry Eyres, Adam Lechmere, Brian St Pierre and Natasha Hughes MW.
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