In the Dyer household, there is no better Holiday gift than a good book. In the last couple years, several friends have published books related to wine. They range from memoires to collections of interviews, to deep reference (highly readable) about soils and history to guide books. Each is worth a read and would make a fine gift!
The Winemaker’s Hand—Conversations on Talent, Technique, and Terrior by Natalie Berkowitz features interviews with over forty winemakers from all over the world (full disclosure—two of them are us). Based in Manhattan, Natalie has been a friend for over 30 years, and we always look forward to having dinner with her on her frequent visits to Napa. ISBN 978-0-231-167756-7 (cloth) –ISBN 978-0-231-53737-7 (ebook)
Wood, Whiskey, and Wine—A History of Barrels by Henry W. Work covers two thousand years of the use of barrels in producing wine and spirits, and gives an insider’s view of the cooper’s craft. Over his career Henry has imported barrels and he ran a cooperage in Kentucky. Bill was buying barrels for Sterling Vineyards from Henry during the ‘80’s and 90’s. A long time Calistoga resident, Henry now resides in Nelson, New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-78023 3567
From Bubbles to Boardrooms Act 1 Startups Are Such Fun and Act 2 Becoming A CEO by Michaela Kane Rodeno is a personal account of the career of one of the first woman executives in the wine business. Dawnine worked closely with Michaela at Domaine Chandon beginning in 1976. ISBN 978-0-9896342-0-5 and ISBN 978-0-9896342-2-9
Volcanic Wines—Salt, Grit, and Power by John Szabo, MS examines wines from around the world that share in common that they are made from wines growing in volcanic soils. We can attest that this Master of Wine researched this book thoroughly—he visited Dyer Vineyard to taste our Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, and describes it perfectly in the book. ISBN 978-1-910254-00-4
Appellation Napa Valley—Building and Protecting An American Treasure by Richard Mendleson tells the remarkable story of the interaction of the land and people that led to the establishment of America’s first Agricultural Preserve, which is responsible for our valley remaining focused on viticulture even as the Bay Area has urbanized all around us. Richard is an attorney and professor who pioneered the field of Wine Law, but we have also known him as a fellow winemaker all the way back to when we arrived in the valley 40+ years ago.
Moon Handbooks—Napa & Sonoma by Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is packed with information our local wine country. We can attest that it is recently updated-the author stayed with us (Liz is Dawnine’s niece).
Napa Valley Heyday by Richard H. Dillon is a definitive history of Napa Valley, going all the way back to its formation, and the natives who first settled here. By now this is a collectors’ item, and priced accordingly, but copies can still be found. The Book Club of California commissioned it, and our close friend David Marston played an important role in its creation.
I suppose every field has its controversies. Two that we hear about quite often in wine production are alcohol level and the hundred point scale. I will address them together as I believe they are closely linked. Over the last decade or so we have seen alcohol levels in table wine creep up. Levels of