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A Companion to California Wine: An Encyclopedia of Wine and Winemaking from the Mission Period to the Present Hardcover – October 1, 1998
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Charles Sullivan's A Companion to California Wine: Encyclopedia of Wine and Winemaking fills an oenological-reference niche that has up till now been lacking a suitably comprehensive and scholarly effort. An A-to-Z compendium of wine-related entries ranging from Acacia Winery to Zinfandel, the Companion to California Wine covers 750 wineries and more than 100 wine-grape varietals, delivering useful explanations for tourists and wine-tasters, plus well-researched historical context for wine scholars, history students, and the idly curious.
A random flip to page 3 reveals a profile of Leon D. Adams (journalist, historian, cofounder of the Wine Institute, and author of Commonsense Book of Wine), thumbnail sketches of small wineries (Adelaida Cellars near San Luis Obispo, Aetana Springs Wine Ranch in Napa, and Ahlgren Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains); an entry on aging wines that explains the process and details its history in California; a blurb on Aguardiente, the hard liquor commonly consumed during the Gold Rush; plus a introduction to Alameda County and its important wine-growing regions.
A great boon to California oenophiles wishing to bone up on the small winery labels they run across (the entries for which include location, history, annual production, and the varietals they specialize in), Sullivan's encyclopedia is engaging enough for amateur wine buffs and comprehensive enough for serious students of California history, wine history, or both. -- Stephanie Gold
Some of those who settled California were winemakers who imported European varietal grapes to start their vineyards. Today California is among the world's top five wine producers and its top-quality products easily rival those of Europe's fine wineries. Anyone interested in wine history and lore will find A Companion to California Wine to be a useful guide.
Unlike standard consumer and tourist guides, this book's focus is geographical and historical. The alphabetical entries range in length from a few sentences to one page. They include all producers and wineries of historical importance (Gallo, Inglenook), place names (Sonoma County, Stag's Leap), grapes (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Zinfandel), wine types (claret, sparkling wine), technical terms (fermentation, pest control), and organizations (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; Wine Institute). Cross-references appear in small capitals. Photographs, maps, and charts augment the text. Entries for counties include maps and charts of the amounts and types of grapes produced each year. Articles on technical processes explain them as they are used in the wine industry. An interesting entry on libraries provides the addresses and telephone numbers of California academic and special libraries with important wine collections. A bibliography, list of oral histories, list of sources for used wine books, and an index complete the book.
Although patrons concerned with evaluating and purchasing wines for consumption or collection will be better served with standard resources such as The New Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia [RBB D 1 97] or Steven Koplan's Exploring Wine (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996), those interested in the colorful history of California's wine industry will find an excellent introduction here. Recommended for academic, special, and public libraries serving patrons interested in California history and/or wine.
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