An Ideal Wine
(Harper, July 2011)
Noted wine writer David Darlington portrays a group of American wine pioneers as they learn the hard way that great wine does not come from dreamy ideals. Darlington uses his sharp journalistic eye to follow Bonny Doon’s founder Randall Grahm—“the court jester and bleeding conscience” of California winemakers—as he and other young pioneers start vineyards in the 1970’s and rise to the tastemakers they are today. These winemakers end up changing the rules of the business using every technique from high technology to hardball entrepreneurship, from holistic farming to handicapping scores as each finds his or her own definition of an ideal wine. A tale of vision and delusion, brinkmanship and pragmatism, nature and business, politics and culture.
“A fascinating and controversial narrative on the impact of the heroes and anti-heroes who have shaped (and escaped) the California style of wine. Within a few hours, my copy was obsessively dog-eared.”
–Alice Feiring, author of The Battle of Love and Wine: How I Saved the World from Parkerization
“It is a brilliant book, superbly researched and written, perceptive in its detail yet sweeping in its scope, enthralling—at times even hilarious to read, but sobering in its message.”
–Gerald Asher, wine editor of Gourmet magazine and author of On Wine