My goodness, I have been reading a lot of wine related books lately, but this one really stands out. Feiring is a extremely passionate connoisseur of wine and it's history. Her book is about the country of Georgia, and it's thousands of years of wine culture. She vividly describes her experiences in the country, tracking it's vinicultural history, it's methods of making wine, and it's struggles through the years in preserving it's culture.
Feiring is an outspoken advocate of the natural, organic method of making wine. She makes a strong case against the current trends of the mass production, chemically enhanced, pesticide laden, monotonous wine. While the world is experiencing the taking over of wineries and vineyards by large corporations (and the Chinese), Georgia is embracing it's roots in it's age-old techniques.
Feiring explains in detail how Georgian wine is made in qvevri's (clay vessels sunk into the ground), the methods of making the wine, and the hundreds of varieties of grape vines in Georgia (many of which have been saved and maintained only by local farmers). She describes how the culture was almost wiped out by the Soviets during their period of occupation.
Her descriptive language is of such high quality that you could almost smell and taste the wines and food. She made you feel as though you were with her, sitting down to expansive meals with Georgian farmers, traveling through the countryside in search of rare grape vines or ancient qvevri's. Her portrayals of people enabled me to clearly see them in my own mind. While it seems like small scale, sustainable methods she advocates are facing insurmountable odds against the large corporations, it is refreshing to know that there are people like her who are trying. If you are interested in wine, history that wasn't taught in our schools, or just outstanding writing, this is a great book for you!