Book Reviews

Book review: For the love of wine

Alice Feiring is an avowed natural wine lover who was smitten with Georgian wines in 2011 after arriving in this old Caucasian country that still practices traditional production technology.

Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing countries of the world, and winemakers prefer to follow tradition rather than using new, and often questionable technology, to achieve more yield or lower costs.

For The Love Of Wine is a book not only for wine enthusiasts, but for all who like spontaneous, writing, that explores a culture and its people.

Where else would you find a 78-year-old man producing wine and bottling it with self designed labels with his own image?

Alice Feiring makes a point of meeting this gentleman and experiences his wines. She simply adores wine made on the principle “nothing added and nothing taken away”, the very definition of natural wine. She reports that Georgia cultivates 525 varieties of grapes, of which only a handful are presently being employed wide-scale i.e rkatsiteli, and saperavi.

This book also explains how qvevri (earthenware fermentation vessels) are made and also used in Armenia to the south of Georgia. These earthenware containers lined with propolis are buried, serve as micro oxygenators and maintain even temperatures so important for fermentation.

Many French ad American winemakers are experimenting with fermentation vessels made of concrete that more or less mimic qvevri.

For The Love Of Wine contains several Georgian recipes she’s tasted while travelling. One could safely claim that this is a travelogue, as well as a wine book. It contains a lot of information about Georgian thinking.

She praises the decision made by Georgian winemakers to resist the temptation of using international grape varieties like chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon just to name two.

Alice Feiring also touches upon Russian politics and how Georgia lost its most important wine export market. Fortunately, it forced the industry to seek other markets, which in the long run may well be more lucrative than relying only on one, albeit big market.

For The Love Of Wine is a book to read, cherish, and enjoy for its multipronged approach to wine, culture, and love of wine.

Highly recommended.

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