Summer in a Glass

What is Joseph reading?

Throughout the years of working the floor as a Sommelier, running Vine & Table, teaching wine classes at the collegiate level and having my own consulting company, the question I have heard the most is “How do you know so much about wine?” I think the answer is more than just one thing. The first is, that I have a passion for wine (and spirits) and I feel like we tend to remember and learn more things when we’re passionate about it. The second is that, either consciously or unconsciously, I’ve purged a lot of what I learned in high school and college that I find no use for. You want me to regurgitate a random fact about a German winemaker that I met for two minutes five years ago? I’m your guy. Yeah, his name is Ernst and he was wearing red pants.   You want me to do a proof for some postulate or theorem, check back with me in a week. The third, and in all honestly, the most important is I’m a voracious reader. Along those lines I thought it might be fun for me to let you know what I’ve been reading lately and what I thought about it. Here goes:

Summer in a Glass, “The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes” by Evan Dawson

The book was published in 2011 so it is not a new release, but still a truly worthy endeavor. What I expected was a detailed treatise on the grapes of the region, the soil, and a little history. What I got was so much better. The book basically takes you by the hand and introduces you to the significant wine makers of the region as seen through the eyes of the author. You dine with them, hear their stories, walk their vineyards with them and agonize over potentially lost vintages with them. Evan Dawson is the managing editor of the New York Cork Report, as well as the morning news anchor at WHAM-TV in Rochester.

Dawson takes you on a journey with 13 of the most influential winemakers of the Finger Lakes. As opposed to just doing a bio piece on each one we get to meet them as he did. The way he writes brings you into the room or vineyard with each of his subjects. You hear and see what he did, you feel what he felt. You experience the agony when Johannes Reinhardt gets turned down for a Green Card, again. About halfway through the book I realized I would regret it when I was finished so I started rationing the chapters, only allowing myself to read one a day. I was right, I did regret it when I was finished. This book also did something that I love. It interested me enough to do more research. I had to dig in, and Google Johannes Reinhardt to find out if he did have to go back to Germany or if he was able to follow his dream and build a winery in New York. Jill and I are also planning a trip to this region next spring. Look for more in-depth report of this area upon my return. We’ve also been tasting wines from here and you should stop in and see which ones we’ve added.

This page isn’t meant to rewrite any books I read, my thought is to give my friends a nudge, either toward or away from the books that I’ve read. I’m not a fan of the 100-point scale. One of my mentors Joshua Wesson told me years ago he had three ratings for wines, I’ll drink it, I wont drink it and I’ll drink it if someone else buys it. I’m going to adopt that for this segment. My three ratings are I will own it, I should have got it from the library and I’m sad I read it at all. With this first book I cannot recommend it highly enough. Even if you’re not that into wine but love people, this is a book you will revisit time and again and it should have a home on your bookshelf. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this if you read it or any suggestions for me to read. You can always contact me directly.

Stay well,
Joseph Davey


Posted in wine.