By Doug Shafer

At the age of forty seven, while he a winning publishing government and dwelling along with his spouse and 4 childrens in an prosperous Chicago suburb, John Shafer made the shock declaration that he had bought a winery within the Napa Valley. In 1973, he moved his relatives to California and, with out wisdom of winemaking, all started the adventure that may lead him, thirty years later, to possess and function what distinct wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. referred to as “one of the world’s maximum wineries.” This ebook, narrated by way of Shafer’s son Doug, is a private account of ways his father grew to become his midlife dream right into a impressive good fortune story.

Set opposed to the backdrop of Napa Valley’s transformation from a rural backwater within the Seventies via its emergence at the present time as one of many best wine areas on the earth, the e-book starts off with the winery’s shaky commence and takes the reader in the course of the father and son’s ongoing battles opposed to killer insects, cellar mess ups, neighborhood politics, altering customer tastes, and the volatility of nature itself. Doug Shafer tells the tale of his personal schooling, in addition to Shafer Vineyards’ leading edge efforts to be environmentally sustainable, its position in spearheading the designation of a Stags bounce American Viticultural sector, and the way the wine has replaced within the modern period of custom-crushing and hobbyist vineyard investors.

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Mine was the gruntiest of grunt jobs, made worse by the wearing of a mandated nerdy blue jumpsuit. Each day entailed jobs such as hauling hundred-pound bags of sugar into an upstairs storage area, cleaning up after another bottle of sparkling wine had exploded in the cellar, and working on the bottling line. ) You learned never to be idle. The lowest form of humanity, as far as Hanns Kornell was concerned, was an employee with his hands in his pockets. If there was a minute in which you weren’t occupied, you’d better grab a broom or you’d get a rain of fire from the boss.

C. Davis viticulture graduate, we further prepped the hillside site by “ripping” the soil—as subtle a technique as it sounds. Dad hired a guy who came out with an attachment on the back of his tractor that looked like a giant dinosaur tooth. The tooth punched down three or four feet into the earth and the tractor drove the length and breadth of our vineyard-to-be, tearing up the soil. The technique of ripping is a fine idea when you’re prepping a vineyard on a flat valley floor site, which at the time accounted for nearly every other vineyard in the area.

And blocking out nearly half of the eastern sky stood towering cliffs called the Stags Leap Palisades. When I’d imagined California, I’d thought of beaches, dune buggies, and oiled, bronzed skin. This was like nothing I’d pictured. 27 28 / A Vineyard in Napa The house looked as though it had started as a modest stone structure that was later expanded, several times, by builders with more vigor than skill. Its tile roof seemed like a Mediterranean afterthought. The interior was all crooked floors and doorways, and its oddly scented rooms echoed, since there wasn’t yet a stick of furniture in the place.

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