- Series: Pictorial Discovery Guide
- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Voyageur Press (September 29, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0896584917
- ISBN-13: 978-0896584914
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.8 x 12 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,446,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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California Wine Country: The Most Beautiful Wineries, Vineyards, and Destinations Hardcover – September 29, 2002
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In 1973, I worked in the wine industry and was given the assignment to visit every winery in California of any size. Since then, I haven't been able to duplicate the feat as the number of new and interesting wineries has expanded rapidly.
This book focuses on the highest quality winemakers in the Golden State, and gives you both an advance view and a sense of what's there before you visit. With this guide, you will vastly increase your enjoyment of touring wineries and vineyards by being able to pick from among the most interesting sites for you.
The photography represents a lot of visits to each area. I doubt if you could capture all of these views, variations in lighting and seasons in less than three years of visits. Even areas I know well I saw differently.
The book places about equal attention to the images of vineyards and the exteriors of wineries, many of which are magnificent structures to behold.
Mr. Leffingwell is not as talented a writer as he is a photographer. But his prose is more than adequate to extend your knowledge of the industry as he explains about the history of each region and winery. For detailed information on wine making, I suggest you supplement this book with other resources. There is a limited discussion of the process except as applied to super premium reds and whites. There is no mention of how sparkling wines are made.
The historical information is a little over focused on religion, Prohibition, the Depression and marketing.
I was pleased to see the extensive discussions of the microclimates in each area. Very nice!
I was disappointed not to find a better description of the wine qualities at each vineyard. Again, I suggest you supplement this book for that with one of the better wine guides.
I hope that Mr. Leffingwell will update this book quite frequently.
As a final test of how good this book is, my wife and I visited several of these areas last year around when the book was published. We used another guide, and had a wonderful time. However, if we had had this guide, I think we would have had a much better time . . . because we appear to have missed half of what we would have wanted to see.
A final word of caution: Contact the wineries directly to verify times for tours and tastings. The information here was different from what we discovered on site in July 2002 in a few cases.
Before you leave this wonderful volume, I suggest you consider where else a preview of what you are going to see adds a great deal to your enjoyment. What about a complimentary appetizer from the chef to whet your palate for what is to come?
If you are looking for a book with some great photos of wineries and vineyards across California, then I can heartily recommend the book. However, some of the text leaves much to be desired, with some obvious omissions and flatly incorrect information. Some examples:
On grape varieties: Petite Sirah is identified as being the same as Syrah and Shiraz (it isn't). Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer are not mentioned at all, but I would consider them more important than Sylvaner in California white grapes.
On locations: Livermore Valley is "to the west in Alameda County", which must surprise people living in the eastern half of the county. Woodside Vineyards in Woodside and Thomas Fogerty Winery in Portola Valley are listed as being in Santa Clara Country (they are in San Mateo County). Morgan Hill and Gilroy are identified as being in Santa Cruz County (they are in Santa Clara County), and there are others too.
The choices of wine labels are odd too. In a list of wine labels for a particular geographic area, often the wines come from someplace else. In the Mendocino County section, a wine made from Lodi (in the Central Valley) is listed. The San Francisco Bay section shows labels from three Monterey wines.
Despite these faults, the book is definitely interesting - containing many nice photographs, and reasonble listings of wineries with contact information in all parts of California, even fairly obscure ones missed in many books, such as the wineries in Santa Clara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Nevada, and Calaveras counties.