Welcome to the series Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.
If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/
This is the second post from author Christa Polkinhorn who has been blogging since 2010.. This gave me access to her extensive archives. This post from 2013 is about the research into wine making for Christa’s series set in a vineyard.
The Art of Winemaking and Writing by Christa Polkinhorn
I got this title from a book by Jeff Cox which I am reading for my research. My new novel takes place in part on vineyards in Tuscany and California. I recommend the book to anybody interested in finding out more about the fascinating process of winemaking.
I love wine, particularly red wine, but also some whites. I am a very moderate drinker, one or two glasses occasionally with a meal, that’s all I can tolerate. But I do enjoy the taste. A glass of good wine makes a simple meal special. So, it wasn’t a great surprise when the topic of wine and vineyards were beginning to sneak into one of my novels, my WIP.
The more I read about the growing of grapes and the making of wine the more I realize what an amazing process it is, one that extends over many years. It’s a fascinating and risky undertaking and much can go wrong. Like with other types of farming, bad weather at a crucial time in the growth stage of the vines and grapes can ruin a harvest. Pests are a constant threat. Even in ideal conditions—such as the excellent climate in California, for instance—a bountiful harvest is no guarantee. I think it is a gift from the gods (or God, whatever your choice of belief).
The process begins by choosing the right place for the vineyard. Then comes the preparation and testing of the soil, the building of the trellis, the selection and planting of the proper grapes, followed by thinning, pruning, fertilizing and so on and so on. And once the grapes are ripening, a new cycle begins. Grapes are harvested and the winemaker can begin to show his artistry.
From the little reading I have done and from my yet limited observation, I gather that making wine is both an art and a science and involves the joint effort of Mother Nature and the ingenuity and care of women and men.
There is a lot of snobbery around wines, mainly encouraged by some consumers. The men and women who do the actual work and who cultivate the land and make the wine are hardworking people who love their craft and are passionate about it.
Making a good bottle of wine takes time, many years of working, waiting, and praying. Waiting is a rare art in today’s fast-paced world. Everything needs to be “right now.” We don’t like to wait. But the grapes don’t care and the fermentation takes time and can’t be rushed. Too much manipulation from winemakers can ruin a good wine. Waiting—a truly lost art.
Writing a good book takes time, too. In the era of independent publishing and eBooks and websites and blogs, I often hear the advice: write as many books as possible and write them fast or you’ll miss the boat.
Okay, so I’ll take the next one.
There are some unusually talented writers who can crank out several quality books a year. They are few and far between. Most of us need time to write, to gather our thoughts, to let our creativity simmer or, in winemaking terms, to let the story ferment, bubble, and rise.
I dedicate this post to the artists and writers and to the lovers of wine, but in particular to my father, who taught me to appreciate wine in moderation, to my mother who acquired a taste for wine late in her life and enjoyed one glass of red wine with dinner every night, and to my father-in-law, who learned to appreciate wine during a trip through Europe and with whom I shared a glass whenever I visited him.
Enjoy your wine, but remember this quotation from Eubulus on the consumption of wine (which I found in From Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox):
“Three bowls only do I serve for the temperate:
one for health, which they empty first;
the second for love and pleasure;
and the third for sleep.
When this bowl is drunk up, wise guests go home.
The fourth bowl is ours no longer, but belongs to violence;
the fifth to uproar;
the sixth to drunken revel;
the seventh to black eyes;
the eighth is the policeman’s;
the ninth belongs to billiousness;
and the tenth to madness and hurling the furniture.”
– Eubulus (circa 375 B.C.)
Cheers, Prosit, Zum Wohl, Salute, Salud, Kampai!
©Christa Polkinhorn 2013
About Christa Polkinhorn
Born and raised in Switzerland, I have always had the desire to explore the world outside of my beautiful but tiny country. I traveled in Europe, China, Japan as well as South America. Now, I live and work as writer and translator in southern California. My interest in foreign cultures informs my work and my novels take place in several countries. I published a volume of poetry (The Path of Fire). Now, I write and publish contemporary fiction with a focus on family drama/love stories (The Family Portrait trilogy) and family drama/suspense (The Wine Lover’s Daughter series). Aside from writing and traveling, I am an avid reader and a lover of the arts, dark chocolate, and red wine.
A selection of books by Christa Polkinhorn
One of the reviews for Fire in the Vineyard
A wonderful story about a family of wine producers and merchants. The story comes with interesting characters and complicated family relationships. When things start to go wrong in the vineyard, everybody is a suspect, including family members. The author makes clever use of dialogue as things heat up and suspicions turn nasty. The vivid descriptions of the California wine producing landscape make you want to visit this part of America. Woven into the narrative is the complicated process of producing a bottle of wine. A great read for those who love a glass of wine and even for those who don’t
Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christa-Polkinhorn/e/B003LA7T8W
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christa-Polkinhorn/e/B003LA7T8W
Read more reviews and follow Christa on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4202173.Christa_Polkinhorn
Connect to Christa
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Author.ChristaPolkinhorn/
My thanks to Christa for allowing me access to her archives and I know she would love to have your feedback.. I hope you will head over and explore her wonderful selection of posts. Thanks Sally