“Procrastination is a grapegrower’s worst enemy and a winemaker’s best friend.”
Jim Law’s The Backyard Vintner (Beverly, MA: Quarry Books, 2005) is a wonderful and simplified introductory text to anyone who is considering making wine at home.
Law is the award-winning, small-batch vintner and owner of Linden Vineyards in Linden, Virginia, which is about an hour outside of Washington DC. He also writes, lectures, and teaches classes on wine making.
This book is full of Inspiring photographs and how to illustrations that demonstrate techniques for growing grapes and making wine. Tips on determining what kind of soil you have, how fertile it is, and which grapes are best suited to it are included, along with guides to which types of grapes will grow best in your climate. Ideas on making, storing, and appreciating wines for readers at both the professional and nonprofessional level make this a useful reference tool for your wine library.
One of the things I most appreciated about this book was the thoroughness of the process from choosing a site, deciding on grape varieties, all the way to harvesting and then vinifying the grapes. Law espouses non-interventionist wine-making, but also points out spots in the process where a timely tweak can make the difference between a good or great or undrinkable wine.
If you are thinking of making wine at home, be it from a kit or from grapes you’ve grown yourself, this book could prove to be a valuable resource. If you’ve ever had the itch to make it yourself, this book will convince you that you can do it – very motivating! If you are just curious about the process, this simplified look makes it easy to understand.