This book has 25 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
Teaching winemaking at Plumpton College, I see many potential students who have a passion for wine. They have enjoyed many bottles of wine, maybe watched "A walk in the clouds" or done a sanitized winery visit. I usually and patiently have to explain that winemaking is not like that and they should think about what they are signing up for. After catching a glimpse of Richard’s Unbound film, I realised I might now have a resource to send my student to. I pledged my support and patiently waited for my hardback to arrive. I wasn’t disappointed by the contents at all as I soon discovered Richard had eloquently caught the life of a winemaker. The ups, downs, stains, injuries and beers, the long hours and the rare days off. Many of the stories were my stories, but I found them told by someone who could make them funnier and entertain. So Salt & Old Vines is going on the College reading list, and as my students prepare for their first ‘real’ vintage, I am going to suggest they read it before heading off.
If you're anything like me, wine is just that red stuff that comes in bottles for £4.99 in your local Londis... But for Richard W H Bray - wine trader, sommelier and all-round bon vivant - it is so much more. 'Salt & Old Vines' is a warm, charming and deeply personal account of his days making wine in the Roussillon. The book is beautifully written - full of colour and energy - and, although Bray is obviously keenly knowledgeable of his subject, he refrains from either condescending or preaching. It is also a thoroughly engaging read. On his journey to make beautiful wine, Bray encounters work-shy Bordeaux wine snobs, drunkenly traverses vineyards in a kilt, decries the state of French breakfast cereals and ponders the fate of a local man affectionately known as 'Ball Sack Nose.' Though 'Salt & Old Vines' is a fun and entertaining novel, it does, however, leave you feeling rather sad. Sometimes this is due to the author’s skill in mixing humour and insight with moments of great poignancy - but, mainly, it's just because you want to live that life too... A brilliant debut. Highly recommended.
I can't give an impartial review, as the author is sitting next to me, but it's genuinely excellent
Loved the easy going but lyrical style of writing , very descriptive and engaging and never patronising for non-wine trade people . It's a very colourful wine and life journey through the beautiful but also challenging Languedoc-Roussillon
It was an interesting view of French provincial life but not a bit "Year in Provence"
Being familiar with the Banyuls area the author writes about, I was curious to see if he captures the atmosphere of that relatively unspoilt part of France. Having read excerpts on Enotourist and Unbound while the book was still raising funds, it was obvious that he does - and he writes with gusto, humour, clarity and descriptions of landscape, wine, and characters so vibrant and alive (and often very funny) that the reader is immediately transported. It's the perfect book to give as a gift - as long as you keep a copy for yourself as well!
I loved this book. It was "warts and all" and a real insight into the ups and downs and sheer hard work of producing wine on an artisan scale. I read it in 3 days and got several weird looks from moments when I laughed out loud sitting on the underground.
'Salt and Old Vines' combined hard core information about the whole wine process with a ripping yarn about a young guy's coming-of-age in the trade. Robust and engaging style, a wee bit reminiscent of - and I don't say this lightly - a young Hemingway.
A book that combines the beauty of an area of France that I love with a story of the day to day aspects of wine making. This is a great wine and travel companion to the area and the author's style makes the book as enjoyable as it is informative.
Lively, interesting book without any of the pretentions of most wine-related writing. Mr. Bray achieves his goal: of making wine-making real, earthy, tangible. You can almost feel the pain and suffering of a long day at the vineyard, and all that blood, sweat and tears does make you appreciate your next glass of wine all the more. Although you will wonder whose feet might have been in it...
A great read, thoroughly recommended for anyone who loves wine, and especially those with the romantic notion of trying to make some (fuller review on my site: http://thirstforwine.co.uk/salt-old-vines-book-review)
My appreciation of the life of a vintner was deepened by this tome. The art and sacrifices of wine creation is a fascinating subject and Mr. Bray’s treatment was informative whilst being fun and slightly irreverent. Great first book!
I like wines and I like books....so what's not to like? But what should be said is that this is the most enjoyable book I have read about wine. It is a visceral examination of the trials and tribulations of picking the bloody grapes and getting them to be wine - I had no idea about the number of pitfalls that can beset a wine maker. It makes the process of wine making real, so much more enjoyable than The Oxford Companion to Wine (sorry Jancis!) ;-)