A recent development in wine bottle closure that I almost hope takes hold is the screw cap.

Life is easy

Life is easy

I have to admit, I am as old fashioned as the next guy, when it comes to wine in any case.  I love hearing a cork being pulled out, it’s the sound of happiness for me. When I hear it in a restaurant I usually exclaim ‘Mazal Tov!’  I also love to play this little game with my wife, without her knowledge.  This is how it goes:  She is quietly reading in the living room at the end of the day.  I secretly pull out a bottle a wine, insert the corkscrew, turn it, turn it and then quickly pull out the cork to make as loud a popping sound as possible.  I can almost feel her ears perk up to that familiar sound as she wonders what bottle I just opened.  Inevitably, she stops what she is doing and saunters into the kitchen.  Ah, the games we play.

So, with all these fun and games, why do “I love screw tops”? This one is for you, Daddy Winebucks. One evening last week we are sitting around the kitchen island, our usual hangout.  Kathryn is busy at the stove, I am reading, Hannah is playing with her bunny and Ben also has his head buried in a book. By the way, before you get all Steinem on me, we usually take turns around the stove and Ben often makes pancakes for Mommy on his days off from school.  So, Kathryn says, “Honey, can you get me a glass of wine?”  Before I have a chance to respond, Ben opens the fridge and takes out a bottle of white wine.  He proceeds to screw open the cap, fill up a wine glass, hand it to my wife and then he says, “Is this ok, Mommy?”  My wife is flabbergasted…and pleased. Now Ben is a smart and dexterous guy, but he is only seven and he cannot do that with a bottle that requires a cork screw.

This beats the romantic sound of a cork popping out any day!

Kathryn, my lovely wife, sometimes gives me a hard time about the pile of books I have collected over the years that sit by my bed side.  She thinks that rather than buy these books, I should better utilize the libraries we fund so generously here in Berkeley (a topic for another entry) and she decries the sheer numbers of wine books we have.  I need your help.  Am I being unreasonable in my obsessions?  Collecting and reading so many wine books?  Or is this a realistic number of wine books a reasonable wine lover and winemaker would have?

 Adventure on the Wine Route, by Kermit Lynch. This is a tale of Kermit’s travels throughout the wine regions of France in search of the best wine to import. Kermit Lynch, besides being our favorite local wine merchant for the last 25 years, is formidable figure in the wine world.  He is also one of the few Americans to receive France’s highest honor:  the Légion d’honneur. This was in recognition of his influence in bringing about some changes for the better in French wine making. He is also one of the first importers to start shipping wine in refrigerated containers.  Some of his stories are funny and some are sad (buying wine in Burgundy was no picnic 20 years ago.) Once we got turned on to Chevillon’s Nuits St Georges, there was no turning back. A must read.

 Romanee Conti by Richard Olney

What can I say that hasn’t been already said about DRC or Olney?  Just read Olney’s book and you’ll understand what all the fuss is about. Olney’s description of the Vendanges alone is well worth the book’s price. The description of the Pinot Noir grapes, the vineyards and the wine making methodologies of the most celebrated domain of Burgundy are pure poetry; the description of the food procession during the harvest, mouthwatering.

The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell

About how a Texan, T.V. Munson, saved the French wine industry, no really! In 1869 France, as well as most of Europe was devastated by the Phyloxra bug.  You see this habit of saving France started way earlier than you think. The book reads as good as any mystery novel.

 Knowing and Making Wine, by Emile Peynaud.   A very technical book that is at times a bit dated, but never the less a superb, thorough enology manual by one of the most renowned wine educator in France.  A classic.


I could go on….

Winery Technology and Operations by Yair Margalit

The House of Mondavi by Julia Flynn Siler

The Heartbreak Grape by Marq De Villiers

Techniques in Home Winemaking by Daniel Pambianchi

The Way to Make Wine Nicely written by our neighbor and fellow winemaker Sheridan Warwick

Vineyard Simple How To Build And Maintain Your Own Small Vineyard by Tom Powers

The Grape Grower by Lon Rombough

Pacific Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger


What’s your vote?  Overboard or reasonable?  Any titles I have forgotten that you recommend?  Please feel free to comment.

« Previous Page