The Event
Summer Wine Reading
© by Sheral Schowe
It is a pleasure to see the increase in the number of books available on the subject of wine in Salt Lake’s bookstores. Your local thriving book metropolis reports that there is actually a marked increase in the number of special orders for wine books, hence the recent availability on the shelves. This is similar to the situation at Utah’s wine stores. If the consumer special orders often enough, it just might alert the staff that there is an interest out there. Who knows? With enough interest in wine material, we just might end up with our own section!

Last week I picked up a great book on the subject of winemaking. The Vintner’s Art—How Great Wines Are Made, by Hugh Johnson and James Halliday, explores the art behind the bottle of wine and the science of the winemaker. Johnson is one of the world’s leading wine writers, confirmed by his book and television series Vintage: The Story of Wine (1989). He writes an indispensable annual pocket wine book, which is a best seller in eight countries. Halliday is a wine writer, winemaker, and winery owner with a successful history of winemaking in Australia, Bordeaux, and Burgundy. He is Australia’s most respected wine judge.

If you are interested in oenology and the creation of wine, you will love this book. Johnson and Halliday take wine from its birthplace (the vineyard) to the nursery (the winery) to its youth and adult life (the bottle). The actual creation of wine is of little concern to many consumers despite their passion and interest in it. But the skills used in producing a quality wine are essential to the consumer’s eventual enjoyment and satisfaction. In addition to the soils and climate (terroir), each choice that is made in the vineyard as well as in the winery influences the taste, the texture, the balance, the color, and the flavors in the wine. The Vintner’s Art artistically maps out the differences between different styles of wine in terms of harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermenting, and maturing.

Particularly interesting is the description of eight grape varietals and how they individually respond to climate. In addition, Johnson and Halliday present the choices, the consequences and techniques for a variety of styles of wines such as: light to full-bodied white wines and sparkling wines; light, medium and full-bodied red wines, sweet wines and fortified wines. The book utilizes a very systematic format accompanied by beautiful photography. Try this book, and look for others at your favorite bookstore. Support your small, privately-owned, independent bookstores by suggesting new additions to their wine book collection, or ask them to supply books hot off the press on the subject of wine. Cheers!

July 1, 1999

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