By Thomas Pinney

University of Califonia Press, $34.95, 318 pages

This historically important book on American Wine making is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in wine and how its production progressed in two hundred years from very humble, unsuccessful and often disastrous early beginnings to what it is today. The Makers of American Wine is a scholarly publication yet luckily the text is well written and easy to read. The thirty-six small historic illustrations, both black-and-white sketches and photos, break up the otherwise unbroken text.

Thomas Pinney opens the book with a six-page introduction outlining the last two hundred years in American wine making. Thirteen chapters follow this brief introduction describing the lives and efforts of the thirteen most influential wine makers of the past two hundred years who made the American wine industry as it is today. These chapters are good readings and reasonably brief (most 15 to 20 pages), split into short subchapters for the readers’ convenience. The book ends with detailed listing of notes, sources and works cited over a lengthy forty-four pages, all useful information for all students and serious amateurs of American wine making. A good index helps interested readers to search for anything on historic American wine making.

Reviewed by George Erdosh