Salt and Old Vines – Richard W. H. Bray

I don’t know much about wine making, but for some reason this book appealed to me. Mostly because it was recommended on Twitter by Henry Jeffreys, who’s writing Empire of Booze, a book on the history of booze in the UK.

Salt and Old Vines by Richard Bray

Salt and Old Vines by Richard Bray

Anyway, as I’ve said before I really like stories about booze and booze making, instead of just dry facts summed up in yet another history of whisky (like this one and this one). This book is that. It’s not about exactly how to make wine, where to get the wine made by the people written about or anything of that order.

This is just a summation of stories. One story after another about how Richard Bray (what’s that W. H. about?) got to France, how the people he met go about their business and how much wine makers actually drink (in short: A lot).

It’s been a while since I read this book, and I’ve read quite a lot since which makes me not remember a lot of the exact stories, but I do remember laughing out loud at several moments. The book is written rather witty with a lot of skepticism towards the set order of things in wine making, and France. For example, the hard truth that French radio is really appalling. Quite apt when you about to drive to France for a family holiday. It reminded me to pack cds.

To sum up, this book tells stories about making wine. About the people and places that making wine happens. It does not tell you how to make wine or what the specifics are of Roussillon wine making. It’s about people, bars, restaurants and parties. It’s also about long days of back breaking work, injuries and the year needed to recover before everything starts all over again. It’s good.

If you have a tenner to spare, it’s available on Originally it was crowd funded on Unbound, which is cool too. Get this.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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