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Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes Hardcover – April 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 "...Dawson stitches together diverse portraits to compose a useful travel guide, lessons in Wine 101, and, most important, a reminder of what makes wine so alluring.  A fast, engaging read for wine lovers, especially those planning to visit the Finger Lakes region." --Library Journal

From the Inside Flap

New York State's Finger Lakes is the fastest-growing wine region in the country, garnering raves for its Riesling and Gewürztraminer from such prestigious publications as Wine Spectator and the New York Times, and now the rest of the wine world has started to take notice.

Here for the first time, news journalist and accomplished wine writer Evan Dawson takes you behind the scenes to meet the winemakers, winery owners, grape growers, and other regional personalities who have transformed the Finger Lakes region from its earliest days as an unheralded district to a place where an exciting new wine revolution is centered. Some of these individuals include Johannes Reinhardt, who left his family's winery in Germany in the middle of the night to begin his search for new life; Morten Hallgren, the brilliant astrophysicist-turned-winemaker who came to rebuild his dream after losing his family winery in France; Dave Whiting, who hosts one of several secret society groups in the region; and Peter and Joanna Bell, who recounted the near-death experiences and chance encounters that had set their course for a winemaking region the once knew nothing about.

Summer in a Glass is "not too technical, with just the right amount of explanation when needed, while always staying focused on the personas rather than just the numbers," writes James Molesworth in the book's foreword. It offers a "sneak peek into a history that is being written right now by a cast of characters driven to put the Finger Lakes on everyone's wine map."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling Epicure (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402778252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402778254
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Evan Dawson is the Managing Editor and Finger Lakes Editor of the New York Cork Report, the two-time winner of the award for Best Single-Subject Wine Blog. He writes several pieces weekly for NYCR. His day job is morning anchor of 13 WHAM News This Morning in Rochester, NY, broadcasting on the ABC affiliate (as well as the local CW channel). His on-air duties also include reporting on politics and public policy.

Writing is, for Evan, an unguent in a world increasingly drowning in the broken language of text messages and short attention spans. Blog writing is a wonderful way to commune with readers and viewers -- he writes regular blog posts on a variety of subjects for 13wham.com -- but Evan has always gravitated toward long-form writing.

His first attempt at a book was historical fiction, a never-finished novel ambitiously launched in the seventh grade about the explorers Lewis and Clark. His second attempt did indeed see completion, if not publication; Domedwellers was a co-authored work of science fiction and ostensible humor that covered 284 single-spaced notebook pages, written by hand before Evan completed high school. It remains slumbering in a desk drawer somewhere.

Narrative non-fiction, an ideal outlet for storytellers, has inspired Evan. Moved by essays from the likes of such outstanding writers as David Rakoff and Michael Pollan, Evan saw a way to combine that form with the research-based narrative non-fiction as demonstrated by Benjamin Wallace and Mike Steinberger. The result, Summer in a Glass, is Evan's debut effort. Readers will find that it subtly tips the cap in the direction of writers like Terry Theise, Matt Kramer, Neal Rosenthal, James Molesworth, and more.

Evan lives in Rochester with his wife Morgan, a professional photographer whose work appears in Summer in a Glass and also on www.morgandawson.com. He relishes communicating with readers. You can reach Evan at info@evandawsonwrites.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @evandawson. And you'll find his work in a variety of other sources, including the online wine magazine Palate Press. Check out the blog section of this website for some of his favorites and some of his most recent pieces.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert Dwyer on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You know a book is good when you're bummed to be deplaning a cross-country flight before you've finished reading. But that's what happened to me with Evan Dawson's Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes recently.

The book tells the stories of 13 winemakers in the New York State wine region, each extensively researched and told in a narrative non-fiction format. I found the approach particularly effective in conveying each winemaker's story and raising their wines to a higher level of understanding and potential enjoyment. On several occasions I found myself wanting to seek out specific wines described in the book.

If the idea of reading winemaker stories leaves you uninspired I think I might know how you feel. For me, most winery stories sound similar: Guy makes boatloads of money in a non-related industry, dumps it into the sexier wine trade and is now producing wine made with unparalleled standards at unbelievably high prices. That said Summer in a Glass succeeds by relating stories in a way the winemakers themselves might have trouble conveying with a similar level of intrigue.

Perhaps that's because the author is a storyteller by trade anchoring the news desk at Rochester's ABC affiliate. He's also a wine writer who contributes regularly to online wine publications - primarily the highly regarded New York Cork Report. Dawson is the kind of writer I find interesting regardless of the subject he's writing about -- whether it's migraines, Barbaresco or Finger Lakes Riesling.

Impressive On a Number of Levels

First and foremost there's the undeniable charm of being transported to a region like the Finger Lakes.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jmj198690 on July 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book shows you the passions and personalities of the people who have chosen to devote their lives to making wine in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The author makes you care not just about the individuals but about the region as a whole. He honestly deals with both the strengths and weaknesses of the wines (and the winemakers). The book is an easy read that is for anyone who cares about wine and/or this area of upstate New York. Pour yourself a glass of NY Riesling and enjoy every word.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By KDMask VINE VOICE on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great read for any wine enthusiast,especially from the Finger Lakes Area. I was a bit reluctant to start a book about wine making, thinking it would be dry, but found it very engaging and humorous. Dawson follows several wine-makers from Johannes Reinardt in Germany to many modern day names in the region. I found the chapter on Dr. Konstantin Frank to be the moste interesting, especially all the politics involved in this business. Who knew there was so much wrangling going on behind the scenes between growers and government? Each chapter has a "prequel" giving some nice background and history before diving into present day. This book is also wonderful in describing the beautiful region that is the Finger Lakes, long overlooked as the gem that it is. Anyone would appreciate it as a gift, or perhaps, to encourage distant relatives to visit.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Blakeslee on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: "Summer in a Glass" by Evan Dawson. Engaging, entertaining profiles of winemakers in the up-and-coming Finger Lakes region of NY. The book reads like a novel, but these are real people, and at the end of each chapter I'm almost sorry to leave each new friend/expert and go off to meet the next one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Deborah S Guy on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was great!! By the end I felt like I personnally knew the author, his wife and best of all, the winemakers of the Finger Lakes. I live in the Finger Lakes region and frequent the wineries and I have a totally new appreciation for the great Finger Lakes wines.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Claire Morehouse on August 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
...My favorite book of the summer...I did not want it to end!
Through this I met winemakers and grape growers of New York's
Finger Lakes region and learned a bit of their craft.
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What a wonderful book. This book tells the stories of thirteen different people/families who have molded the Finger Lakes wine region into what it is today. The winemakers come from all over the world and often from unlikely backgrounds. Many had to overcome major obstacles to make their wineries work and some took significant risks to make world-class wines. I found myself teary-eyed on more than one occasion as I read about winemakers who beat the odds to create extraordinary wines. This book provides a view into winemakers, wine making and the Finger Lakes region. After reading this book, one begins to feel the wine culture that has emerged in the Finger Lakes and realizes that the Finger Lakes has come of age as a world-class wine producing region. This is a very enjoyable and informative read. Now I will drink Finger Lakes wines with a new appreciation and I will be much more knowledgable as I visit Finger Lakes wineries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on May 26, 2011
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Evan Dawson has done an amazing job of capturing the essence of the Finger Lakes region and the excitement of its evolving wine industry; but he's not just a reporter, he's a great storyteller.

A technical treatise it is not; there is enough of the science to allow one to appreciate that good wine happens for a reason, but not so much that the scientifically illiterate will throw the book down in boredom or hopeless frustration.

It is a spellbinding introduction to some of the people who have staked their lives, their reputations, their fortunes to pursue the passion of the grape. Every page made me want to visit that particular vineyard or winery, meet that particular owner or winemaker, taste that particular wine. The drama played out behind the scenes was by turns thrilling, poignant, fascinating.
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