Synopses & Reviews
When Linda Kaplan's husband quit his law firm in Des Moines and bought Panther Creek, a vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Kaplan went along for the ride, though she couldn't tell an earthy wine with a hint of cherries from a glass of grape juice. It didn't matter: They were going to make pinot noir in a small town, and they would learn how or go crazy trying. Kaplan wryly reveals in her memoir that the result was a bit of both.
There are chapters on the science of wine, on the oddballs who show up for harvest, on telling a good grape from a great grape, and a good wine from a great wine. Kaplan sheds light on the mysteries of marketing wine, the connoisseurs who like to test the newcomers, and the messy business of stomping grapes barefoot. There's even a recipe for making thirty-six thousand bottles of Panther Creek's fine pinot noir.
But Kaplan wasn't only learning about wine. She was also learning about life, about getting along in her new hometown, McMinnville, which seems ripped right from the script of television's Northern Exposure. Panther Creek has since become an award-winning vineyard, its wine on Wine Spectator magazine's list of the Top 100 Wines of the World.
My First Crush is a delicious book, not unlike the suave Pinot Noirs the Kaplans craft at Panther Creek. Its provocative, understated and witty, with layers of complexity hiding just beneath the surface...Kaplans considerable wit shines throughout My First Crush. [It] is one of the best accounts written about life in the Oregon wine industry.
Andy Perdue, Wine Press Northwest, Summer 2005 issue
If you've ever had a fantasy about starting a completely new life in a completely new place (and who hasn't?), you'll love My First Crush. Linda Kaplan gives us a taste of the romantic dream of owning a winery as well as its messy, sticky reality. She shares her successes, her failures and a few of her own slightly wacky schemes. For instance, who knew that falconry was one of the skills a winemaker needed to master? Well, Linda thought so. I suggest you uncork a bottle of Panther Creek Pinot Noir, pour yourself a glass, pull your best reading chair into a sunny spot and savor the fruits of Linda's labors, both this book and her wine. You'll be glad she did all the work and you can just sit back and enjoy. I am making this book required reading for all my friends who start a conversation with the phrase "You know what I am really dying to do one day..." They'll be both inspired and forewarned.
Co-Host, Satellite Sisters Radio
Co-Author, Satellite Sisters Uncommon Senses "...fresh squeezed..."--Portland Oregonian
"...a delicious book...it's provocative, understated and witty, with layers of complexity hiding just beneath the surface...one of the best accounts written about life in the Oregon wine industry."--Tri-City Herald
"...informative, well-written, and deeply personal..."--Library Journal
"...[a] humble, humorous acount..."--Register-Guard
"Well written and highly entertaining, this memoir not only shares a little of the angst associated with relocation and a major career change but also delves into wine making. Without becoming overly technical, Kaplan shares what she's learned about the vintner's craft in an amusing and interesting manner."--Coast Impressions
"...[Kaplan's] account is amusing and easy to read..."--Wine East
When Linda Kaplan's husband buys a vineyard, all she can do is jump in and start crushing grapes.
About the Author
Linda Kaplan has written features articles for the Des Moines Register and award-winning advertisements for numerous agencies. She still sorts grapes, but is also very involved in hosting events and tastings and marketing Panther Creek across the country. She and her husband live in Portland, Oregon.