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Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally Hardcover – August 30, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Gourmand Wine Books 2011 USA Winner (Drinks Education category)

Named one of the “Top Drink books of 2011” by

Art of Eating (Twitter post), 6/30/11
“[Feiring] digs into the natural wine movement in a very smart way.”

Oregon Wine Press, August 2011
“Feiring’s book is both educational and entertaining. It also includes a staggering list of approved additives and processes for wine, a step-by-step guide to making it and a list of wines to look for that fall into the natural category.”
Decatur Wine & Food Dude (blog), 8/2/11
“[Feiring] has a deft hand as a storyteller and the book is an engaging read for anyone interested in wine, organic farming, agribusiness, labor standards, and even philosophy.”
New York Times, 8/8/11
“[Feiring is] passionate, determined, brave and thorny. It’s all out there in Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally, her ardent cry from the heart for natural wines and the committed vignerons who produce them…If you are at all curious about natural wines, drink this book in. It will make you thirsty and point you in the right direction.”
Houston Press, 8/10/11
“[Feiring is] one of our favorite American wine writers.”
On the Wine Trail in Italy (blog), 8/7/11
“Alice is a good story-teller. She’s a siren, seducing you away from your masts of convention.”, 8/16/11
“One of the most important wine books in recent years… A very personal book, written in Alice’s disclosing and witty style, telling the story of her search for the roots of the modern natural wine movement. She captures some of the life, edginess and imprecision of natural wine through her encounters with many of the key figures in the scene.”

Bloomberg News, 8/22/11
“The best guide to the [natural wine] movement is Naked Wine by Alice Feiring…Feiring is funny, feisty, self-absorbed and a passionate advocate.”
“[A] colorful narrative…Definitely recommended for readers who enjoy learning more about winemakers, the art of making wine, and the intricacies of the natural wine movement.”, 8/17/11
“If Alice's first book is a battle, this one is more of a multi-threaded journey.  A journey in winemaking, a search for the origins of natural wine, and also an optimistic search for hope in CA wine…Well worth the read.”, 8/22/11
“It will almost certainly make you think differently about how wine is made, and that alone makes it worth the price of admission.”, 8/24/11
“Readers will enjoy [Feiring’s] casual prose highlighted with humor, as they learn about the wonders of wine, and why it should be natural (chemical/additive-free). Once immersed in Naked Wine, they may question their own wine choices.”

WinesWorld’s, 8/25/11
“An invaluable book for anyone who enjoys wine and wants to know how it is created…What makes this book unique is the style, the enthusiasm and love of the ‘nectar of the gods.’ Highly recommended!”

Palate Press, 8/30/11
“Alice Feiring set out on an adventure, a journey of discovery to find out what natural wine is—or maybe, more accurately, what it can be. She should be commended for doing so with an open mind, and sharing the results of her quest in such an open, personal manner.”
John Koenig’s “Stuff I Like” blog, 8/28/11
“I love [Feiring’s] fearless attitude.”

Publishers Weekly, 9/5/11
“A treatise on the joys of wine made with nothing but grapes.”

Portland Book Review, September-November 2011
“[A] fascinating and at times humorous book. If you drink wine and care about what goes into your body, then this book is a must read.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/13/11
“[Feiring is] the high priestess of natural wines.”, 9/13/11
“Of all the recent books on the subject, [Feiring’s] is the most personal, the most agitated, the most illuminating voice in the din.”
Dayton Daily News, 9/15/11
“[Feiring] is a rebel in the world of wine.”

Organic Spa, September/October 2011

Henry’s World of Booze (blog), 9/17/11
“It’s both a voyage of discovery and a snapshot of an exciting time to drink wine.”

Metro Pulse, 9/28/11
“At heart, a book about the pure joy of drinking wine. Just try to get through it without sticking your nose deep into a glass of a good French red. I dare you.”, 9/30/11
“Feiring is a dynamite writer, one who easily draws us into her tale. On each page she manages to be both authoritative and vulnerable and always exceedingly honest…Naked Wine is a fantastic read, one that will convert wine drinkers one bottle (or page) at a time.”

Beverage Media, October 2011
“This book solidifies Feiring’s reputation as one of the wine world’s most important writers, and natural wine as a hot topic for coming years.”

50 States of Wine (blog), 10/19/11
“A book that everyone should read.”

Curled Up With a Good Book
“Feiring describes her adventures with an easy-going inflection. Several of her accounts are quite humorous as well as fascinating…Whether it’s read with a glass of wine or a glass of water, Naked Wine is a compelling read for anyone, and that speaks to Feiring’s talents as a writer.”

Midwest Book Review, October 2011
“Offers a fine survey of the natural wine movement and the author’s own experiences at making wine without additives…A top pick for any wine and food collection!” 

Burlington Free Press, 11/10/11
“There are a handful of wine books that are so well written—so entertaining and informative—that they speak to a wider audience. Alice has written two of them.”, 11/7/11
“Feiring’s engaging prose makes for a fun read even as she slips in technical explanations in easily digestible sips.”  

Washington Post, 11/30/11
“Feiring writes engagingly…Her talent for setting a scene and ripping off a yarn is as evident as ever.” 

Boston Globe “By the Glass” blog, 12/1/11
“A meditation on the so-called natural wine movement, its history, personalities, and technical (or non-technical, if you prefer) repertoire. [Feiring’s] task is daunting, but it's one she manages with skill and flair.”
San Francisco Chronicle, 11/27/11
“The book will spur ever more argument about wine's less-is-more movement.”, December 2011
“[A] delightful story.”, 12/1/11
“A provocative narrative, from one of our most prolific natural wine advocates and writers. This book strongly reflects Alice's philosophy about wine, and her quest for the natural, pure, unmanipulated wines…Whether you agree or not with everything Alice says, this book is beautifully written, funny, inspiring, passionate and above all personal and tenacious in its viewpoint. I loved it.”
Chicago Tribune, 12/7/11
“Open this up: For its shocking list of more than 200 U.S. government-approved additives for winemaking, none of which needs to be listed on the wine's label; provocative, feisty digs at much of modern winemaking and winemakers; wit, infectious enthusiasm for wine and honesty; another long list of solid ‘natural’ winemakers around the world.”
Midwest Book Review, November 2011
“The author’s own winemaking experiments and experiences are detailed in a fine survey of the natural wine movement and changes in the modern wine market.”
The World of Fine Wine, issue 34, 2011
“Part travelogue, part defiant credo, part engaging confessional…This is a refreshingly frank and witty book, unashamedly emotive and outspoken—an almost seamless blend of the professional recounted with great charm, candor, and skill. It’s a compelling read that at once informs, entertains, and challenges its reader—no mean feat for a wine book…Highly recommended.”
Portland Oregonian, 12/12/11
“This combination of personal confessional and well-informed opinion is a rollicking-fun read with a serious wine-loving message.”
Portland Press Herald, 12/14/11
“[Feiring’s] per...

About the Author

Alice Feiring is an award-winning food and wine journalist, frequent magazine contributor, and author of a previous book on wine. She lives in New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First Edition edition (August 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306819538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306819537
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Having survived a Long Island upbringing I ended up as a wine writer. Like many others before me I started out on Carmel Extra Sweet, then onto Lancers and then hit the harder, better, truer stuff. My wine writing career was accidental. My wine education is wholly alternative. I was studying for a Masters in Dance Therapy in Cambridge. My roommate was seriously into wine and we had weekly tastings. My method was to super-taste my way through the line-up so I could spend the evening with the wine I liked best before anyone else got there. A few years down the pike I knew something about wine and there was no going back. Please check out my blog, for wine recs, and more of my views on the current trends and tastes in the wine world or random amusements.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Berkowitz on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved Alice Feiring's first book--The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization--in which Alice goes in search of the answer to why a wine she loved is no longer the way she remembered it. This book, similarly, is a search for something important to Alice. In this case, it is so-called natural wine and how it developed. In order to describe it more aptly, she has called it "naked wine." It is a story of vignerons, scientists, pioneers in many places, including France, California and Spain. Alice visits these places to delve into what motivates these winemakers to make this kind of wine. Her adventures are always interesting and are written in a descriptive style that helps the reader to picture the setting, the people and how the discussions must have taken place. She also uses similes as further descriptors. I enjoyed this book immensely and found Alice's adventures in searching for the derivation of the modern natural wine "movement" to be fun and captivating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By joyofbooks on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a wine drinker who is also into natural foods, this book is essential. It is a nonfiction book that reads like a novel, drawing you into the author's passion for unadulterated wines, grapes grown without chemicals, a finished product without additives. Although the book is loaded with information, it also is a good story of the author's hands-on introduction to the wine-making process. The vividly described "characters" in this book are the winemakers and the vineyards themselves. Now that the author has revealed how most commercial wines are produced, I want to go to every wine merchant and demand a good selection of natural wines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Burke on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good book chronicling a very under covered part of the new old wine world at large. This book talks about the discovery and rediscovery of great bold wine techniques. Technological wine making has been pushed to its limits and left us with a syrupy or hyper perfect enterprise class winery genre the world over. The emergence of the popular farm to table movement has finally started to reach critical mass in the wine world with natural wine making methods.

The knock on this book is the narration, at times the author reverts to a fairly median New York neurosis coupled with a subtle lightly masked vintners classism.
She seems to want to make a have and have not list of wine makers based on geography that is almost apologetic and insulting to the non French wine makers.

My take is this... there is a world of wine, a world of terroir; to ignore a wine from California, Croatia, or New Zealand just because of its longitude/latitude is to give
in to a superstition akin to believing that stepping on a crack will break your spine. A good wine knows no history, no allegiance, no flag, it is simply the product of a great
year in the life of this world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mrthinkndrink on December 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to like this book. I had hoped for a non- (or even semi-) judgmental account of the various "minimal interventionist" movements in the wine-making world, perhaps a clear and reasoned explanation and comparison of sustainable vs. organic vs. biodynamic vs. vin naturel vs. Fukuoka farming. After all, there does exist a category of wine known colloquially as factory wines, wines subject to all the chemical and technological manipulations available or imaginable. Grapes blended from parcels hundreds of miles apart, overdosed with sulfur, over-extracted, temperature controlled, stripped of natural yeasts, pumped full of additions ranging from wood chips to acids, and finally, filtered to within an inch of their vinous lives to present a bright, clear, clean, consistent beverage totally devoid of personality, of any sense of people or place. An industrial product, made with the same concern for "natural" or "unprocessed" as any other industrial product... think individually-wrapped, processed cheese slices as opposed to an artisanal, farm-made wheel of cheddar or brie.

In terms of marketing, these behemoths push out millions of bottles per year and usually pay for, and get, prime shelf space. On the other hand, in absolute numbers, there are far more small to mid-sized wineries around the world working tirelessly to produce delicious, authentic, and stable wines for our drinking pleasure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're a wine snob looking for a read of another wine snob rutting in the dirt with vine growers, and actually crushing grapes with her feet, and making wine without added yeast, this is your book.

Really, this is a story of how Alice (the NY City wine snob) heads down a rabbit hole and flying around the world looking for "natural" wine making and sampling the results. She likes to throw out the big words like "Vigneron", "elevage", "terroir" "pigeage" but there is no glossary to help us figure out what the hell they mean - so a lot of times I didn't know what the hell she was talking about. But I think these words were designed to illuminate my inferiority (and stupidity) - so that so that I'd bestow to Alice the "awe" and the crown of the all-knowing New York wine expert. Snobs like to use big words. It appears to elevate them from the rest of us morons down here in the dirt trying to grow grapes and make wine.

It's too bad that us wine lovers can't blend Alice's thin bland acidic prose with the thick, robust, humorous, and self-deprecating descriptions offered by author Mary Roach - who discusses complex subjects but brings them to us with humor and illumination.

Alice Feiring writes like a Sergeant Friday reporter (just the fact ma'm) mixed with her own seemingly one-dimensional emotions. The reader sometimes has to forge through the writing (Should I say "tromp through"?) to find the "good stuff" - the ripe clusters of knowledge hidden behind the leaves of bland text.

But I do feel (as a grape grower and wine maker) that Alice has a point - that American wines are way too processed - with way too many additives. Perhaps the growth of small U.S. vineyards will bring back the more natural wine and decent that she found in this book. (Which she has been kind enough to list for us to sample - worth the price of the book!)
Overall, I learned a lot from this book, it's well worth the price.
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