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At Home in the Vineyard: Cultivating a Winery, an Industry, and a Lifeby Susan Sokol Blosser
Synopses & Reviews
This moving, evocative memoir, woven with lyrical descriptions of the sights and smells of vineyard life, tells the inspirational story of one woman's journey to success in an industry run mostly by men. At Home in the Vineyard, filled with colorful characters and unexpected experiences, brings a local rural community vividly alive as Oregon wine pioneer and industry icon Susan Sokol Blosser recounts how she fell in love with a vineyard, learned how to run it, and ultimately achieved her vision of producing Pinot Noirs to rival those of Burgundy. An intimate family story, At Home in the Vineyard also gives a candid insider's view of Oregon's flourishing wine industry.
Sokol Blosser begins her narrative in the 1970s, when, as a young, idealistic wife, she helped her husband make his wild idea of planting a vineyard in the Dundee Hills become a reality. By the book's final pages, she has become president of Sokol Blosser Winery, widely respected for gaining national visibility and for producing world-class wines, especially the elusive Pinot Noir. Along the way, Sokol Blosser tells how she learned to do everything from driving a tractor and managing a picking crew to selling Oregon wine in Manhattan. She also shares some special accomplishments: how she instituted values of environmental sustainability and social responsibility at the vineyard, integrated family and business life, and successfully brought the second generation on board.
"In 1970, the Blossers were in their mid-20s, having spent most of their four married years in graduate school or on memorable road trips in their Volkswagon camper. Then, as she puts it, 'Bill and I each gave birth.' She produced their first child, while he bought their first lot of vineyard land — in Oregon. As Blosser explains, in 1970 American wine was supposed to be made in California, if at all. But they were guessing that pinot noir, in particular, might work well in a colder, damper climate if the soil were right and the growing calendar adjusted to work with the weather. The Blossers, together with other Oregon pioneers, built up a well-regarded wine industry, which in recent years has become one of the state's more environmentally progressive industries as well. Blosser tells the story of how they learned both viniculture and small business management. True, their marriage ended after 33 years, but she's not one to dwell on the negative in this upbeat narrative. While Blosser's story might be interesting for a vintner hopeful, general readers may find it flat. Blosser might make great wines, but her writing could use a little more flavor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Anyone who has succeeded in running a small business, and those who enjoy pioneering tales, will be on this author's wavelength for much of the time. It is a tale of dogged determination from a soul who clearly feels that the heart is at least as important as the head." The World of Fine Wine
"A winningly candid tale of how she cofounded Sokol Blosser Winery in the 1970s and with it helped create the Oregon wine industry, all while raising a family." Town & Country
"The story of both and individual business and the development of the Willamette Valley's wine industry as a whole." The Oregonian
"Just like the complex Pinot Noir crafted by Sokol Blosser, Susan's life story is layered and rich. Recounting her journey with passion and humor, we share in the professional challenges Susan faced as an Oregon wine industry pioneer, as well as the personal rewards of raising a family and finding self-fulfillment. Even if you're not a wine lover, you will love reading this touching memoir."and#151;Leslie Sbrocco, author of Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing, and Sharing Wine
"At last, an intelligent, literate, first-hand observation of the beginnings of the Oregon wine industry. Susan Sokol Blosser was there when we were no more than a handful of families with naand#239;ve dreams and very dirty boots. Not only does At Home in the Vineyard capture those early experiences with exuberant detail and humor, but it also provides insight into her family's private challenges of managing vineyards and a successful winery."and#151;David Adelsheim, President, Adelsheim Vineyard
"This is a coming-of-age story of a wine region and of a woman. It is about finding and following your destiny, but also shaping it yourself. It is about using every success and setback to fuel your own energy, to do the right thing, and to feed your heart. How could this book be both deeply inspiring and funny? Well, that is Susan Sokol Blosser."and#151;Andrea (Immer) Robinson, Master Sommelier and author, Andrea's Complete Wine Course for Everyone
About the Author
Susan Sokol Blosser is President of Sokol Blosser Winery. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Portland.
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