Book Review: Long Island Wine Country

by smartpoodle / Aug 30, 2009 / 2 comments

Book Review

Long Island Wine Country


Long Island Wine Country: Award Winning Vineyards of the North Fork and the Hamptons

I must preface this review by confessing right now that I am far from a wine connoisseur. But years ago, after visiting wineries in Napa Valley and France, I gained pure admiration and respect for wine makers. Since learning about the time-consuming process of making wine, from planting the crops to fermenting, aging and bottling the wine, I cannot bear to spill a single drop down the sink after I’ve served wine in my home. I have a pretty good idea how much work went into making every bottle.

I was not expecting Long Island Wine Country to be as great of a read as it is. But as soon as I read the first chapter, I found myself unable to put it down. The book is a series of chapters that tell the stories of dozens of wineries in the region. Author Jane Taylor Starwood interviewed the winemakers and shared their intriguing stories in this book. It is fascinating to learn how each winemaking family got interested in wine and how they turned their passion into businesses. The gorgeous photographs taken by award-winning photographer, Bruce Curtis, enhance the stories, bringing to life the beauty of the vineyards and of Long Island itself. I envy author Jane Taylor Starwood; it must have been an extraordinary experience meeting the families, listening to their stories, touring the vineyards and tasting the wines.

Many of the families who own Long Island Wineries started their businesses part-time while keeping their professional jobs. It takes a lot of time, hard work and money to get a winery started and profitable. What I loved reading most were the accounts from the grown children, who at first resented being dragged to the vineyards by their parents when they were younger. Many went off to colleges, and even had lucrative jobs on Wall Street for a while. But ultimately their hearts were always with the wineries, so they came back to work with their parents.

It is also fascinating to hear about the challenges of owning a winery, number one being mother nature. The temperature as well as the amount of rainfall – too much or too little can really make you or break an entire year of crops. Winemaking is farming, and farming is not easy. There’s deciding what to plant, preparing the land, planting it, taking care of it and knowing when to harvest. It’s a true science - and that’s just part of the business. There’s the whole process of turning the grapes into wine, aging, bottling, marketing and more.

My husband and I used to have a business selling small businesses, so I have always loved hearing and reading about how American families got started with their businesses. The dreams, the planning, the hard work and the pride that goes into them – that’s what our great country was built upon. So whether you are a complete wine fanatic, are interested in small business success stories, have a love for Long Island or just like to learn more about winemaking, I promise you’ll love this book as much as I do. I told one of my good friends about it, and she’s waiting for me to loan it to her so she can enjoy it. I definitely want the book back when she’s done.

Long Island Wine Country: Award Winning Vineyards of the North Fork and the Hamptons
Jane Taylor Starwood and Bruce Curtis
Three Forks; First edition (May 5, 2009)



Debbie Glade/smartpoodle is the Geography Awareness Editor for Wandering Educators

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