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.