I love wine. I’ve been fascinated with it for a while now. I often say I have the best job ever, as I get to travel the world tasting great food and wine. But, I think the best part of what I do is when I come back and introduce all of my new exciting finds to you, so they become your treasures.
Today however, I break from my usual wine review and instead introduce you to Ray Walker’s wine book The Road to Burgundy. It’s a literary treasure.
I like reviewing wine in short bursts: Smell it, taste it, spit it out (or not), pair it with a tiny nosh or two, review it. I like to review wines that way, but not books…and certainly not this particular book. Reviewing wine books is more of a savoring process: Hold it weighing the possibilities of a great read, trying to figure out the significance of the cover, thumbing through the pages trying not to read the final pages first, then finally sitting down with a glass of wine and slowly and deliberately relish the reading journey. I appreciate the fact that this book was captivating. So much so…that I read it in an evening. Yup, it was that good.
I like to know why things work – you know, the story behind the story. That to me makes an interesting read. If you add in some drama, some life synchronicity, some falls, some peaks, some exotic travel, and a determined complex central character, I am all yours. Add in some wine speak and I am yours for a lifetime.
The Road to Burgundy is about one man’s calling and life journey to become a vintner. Having been an executive director for a trendy Southern California wine region I’ve seen the hard work and determination it takes to make your own wine. I’ve also interviewed many many winemakers about their passion for the grape. Many have given up a part of their life, their family life and their savings to pursue the vineyard to bottle dream to just assist the grapes to be the best they can be. Some make it big, some not so much. Some find their way working for others, some go it alone. Whatever happens, it’s different for each person, but the road to grape glory always has an interesting story to present.
Can you imagine a time when you just knew you were supposed to being doing something so specific there was no alternative for you? Can you think of giving up a good job and paycheck in pursuit of a dream that seemed so real you could –almost, but not quite – touch it? Can you imagine knowing there was a world beyond what you were experiencing, but it would take money, time, new skills, and determination to get you there? This book outlines that imaginative dream into reality journey. If you’re a dreamer, if you ever wanted something so bad you were willing to give up everything to make it happen, if you have a passion for the grape…then this book is for you.
The story of wild hunger to create the ultimate Pinot Noir is told by a young Ray Walker as he heads out from Northern California to one of the world’s most revered wine regions. This book is going to make you grin, grimace and groan. You’ll be cheering one moment, sending cautionary thoughts to Ray the next moment. You’ll wonder if this was all dumb luck, pure genuis or a higher power’s gentle hand guiding a man with a destiny. Whatever your final thoughts, you’ll be glad you took this wild ride to success. If you find yourself doing a bit of celebratory thumbs action or yelling, “Ata Boy” when you finish the book, I wouldn’t blame you one bit. It’s always appropriate to congratulate oneself on finding a treasure.
The Road to Burgundy (About $19) available at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/1592408125
Book supplied by Gotham Books.
Review by Head Wine Chix Linda Kissam
Linda Kissam is a professional travel, food, and wine writer based out of Southern California. Through her monthly radio guest spots, food & wine pairing articles, recipe & destination pairings, and story placements in seven publications, she reaches over 2 million readers/listeners nationally with each article.