7 reviews between Jun 18, 2006 and Nov 24, 2008.
Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country by Paula Moulton is an inspirational and informative memoir about a woman who left the city to pursue her dreams of becoming a grape grower. The book explores the challenges and successes she faces in her new lifestyle, offering insights into grape growing and life in wine country. It is a unique and wonderful account that combines personal experiences with valuable lessons.Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country: Moulton, Paula:
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7 reviews between Jun 18, 2006 and Nov 24, 2008.
Have you ever wondered just exactly what goes into the process of growing grapes to make wine?
There is a certain mystique to wine making and how the grapes are grown. Paula Moulton tells her story of how she and her family left life in the city to be farmers in the California wine country. Interspersed with facts about how to grow grapes, SEASONS AMONG THE VINES: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY details Ms. Moulton's adventures and struggles in her new lifestyle. Successes and failures are a part of each step along the way as Paula Moulton pens a memoir that is both inspirational and informative.
Paula Moulton's passion for her vineyard shines through on every page. From her struggles with Mother Nature over water to the various animals that want to eat her grapes, Ms. Moulton's joy at what she is doing is evident. In fact, her passion is so great that event the most brown thumbed reader (such as myself!) will be tempted to give it a try.
SEASONS AMONG THE VINES: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY is aptly named. Paula Moulton writes far more than just a book about how to grow grapes or make homemade wine. Instead, she uses the seasons to reflect both on the process of growing grapes to the actual stages in her life as a farmer. The use of the seasons is almost allegorical as she starts with Fall and the changes in her life, going from a city resident to living in the vast open country. Paula Moulton proceeds through each season, ending with the successes in the Summer. One can't help but appreciate her dedication and commitment. SEASONS AMONG THE VINES: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE CALIFORNIA WINE COUNTRY is a tale that will be appreciated by anyone who has ever even looked at a bottle of wine or planted a seed in the ground. Paula Moulton has written a tale that is to be savored.
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
Having embarked on a program to learn as much about the world of wine as I can, I was excited about the opportunity to read a book by a woman who pursued her dreams,left the city, and became a grape grower in California wine country.
For anyone seeking a reasonably amusing tale of family life by a woman who, largely unprepared for what she was about to take on at the outset, made a major change in her life and successfully met life's challenges as a grape grower, you'll find this book enjoyable. Paula's account is clearly more about motherhood, family, friendship, and lifestyle than it is about being in the wine business. The insights offered are about learning the commonsense things to making a life in wine country. To her credit, she learned what she needed to know and became a successful grower, no small accomplishment.
If on the other hand, you are seeking great insights and a wealth of information about the world of wine, this book offers some of that, but not as much as I hoped for. Although for the home grower, there are what I would call highly useful "Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Wine" sections in each chapter. Paula covers topics, such as planting grapevines, dealing with insects and diseases, and making wine. I think anyone embarking on the goal of making their own wine at home would find this highly useful.
You can't help but admire Paula's spunk and attitude towards life. You come to know her and pretty well get a good sense of her in this book. You can't help but finish it without feeling there is so much more she could have told you. It would have been great if the book was another 200 pages...but maybe that just means she should write another book someday.
I was saddened to learn from another reviewer that her husband Chuck was killed on his commute shortly after this book was published. I have no doubt his spirit fills her vineyard.
Seasons Among the Vines: Life Lessons from the California Wine Country by Paula Moulton is an excellent new book any reader would enjoy. Written by a woman who is not your typical "farmer" but an upscale business person and single mother, widowed just before her book was released. Paula wrote the book with the seasons of the year in farming in mind, but all the stories illustrate also the seasons of life. The personal lessons she learned in growing the grapes are extrapolated to apply to wine making and to life itself. The deep emotional and spiritual meanings are not spelled out, so each reader can draw his or her own lessons as the seem to apply to life's experience. The book is unique and wonderful. I highly recommend it!
Seasons Among the Vines, subtitled Life lessons from the California Wine Country, is a wonderful book for any lovers of wine, products of our earth or protecting our earth.
This memoir follows the story of Paula Moulton's move from the busy, fast lane life to the owner of a working vineyard in the Sonoma wine country of California. It follows her and her family as they move and adapt to their new lives. It is a dream come true for Paula and an easy adjustment for her children. Her husband continues his busy medical career and leaves the farming end to his wife. Finding the task even more than she expected, she joins the local college program for viticulture and so her adventure begins. Through lesson, trial and error, and experience she becomes a true farmer and vintner. Her devotion to the process, her desire to farm in the way best for the earth and her enthusiasm for the life of a California vineyard owner is evident in every well chosen word.
The book covers both the narrative side of her story and the practical. She includes information on a wide variety of topics from "Farming Styles" with composting tips to how to work with grape vines to what you need to make wine. It is not a textbook, does not read like a textbook, but it does cover quite a bit of information that will be of interest to anyone considering going into the field or just enjoys the background information on a favorite hobby (wine). It is fascinating to read the amount of work and knowledge that goes into growing the grapes for the wines we consume.
It is written with a calm, loving passion that shines through with every word. Pour yourself a fine glass of your favorite wine (or Ravenswood in hope that is contains some of Ms Mouton's grapes), find a comfy chair and enjoy this book of heart and soul. It is a celebration of grape growing, wine making and living life to its fullest.
"What you don't know won't hurt you." Paula Moulton and her husband decide they've had enough of the rat-race in the city. So they decide they will move to the lush California wine country to produce their own grapes for celebrated wine countries. But soon enough, they discover what they don't know will hurt you and your product.
Seasons Among the Vines is an exciting journey about farming that parallels life lessons for any reader. This is fascinating reading that covers soil texture and structure, grape vine anatomy, the connection between cows and lush fertilizer, bugs and funguses that attack vines, compost and cover crops that generate yielding soil for the perfectly desired grape, poisons that solve one problem only to produce a far larger problem to one's fruit, cohabiting with animals natural to farm areas, grapevine spacing and cycles of growth for certain types of grapes, trellis or cane/spur pruning systems of growing vines, proper and improper irrigation systems and so much more.
What, however, truly stands out is the love for farming and the robust engagement Paula Moulton has with learning all about this new world. Her passion in this process is infectious and her willingness to be taught from experts and her own mistakes focuses her humility and growth in this most formidable of industries. Love for it all stands out so very clearly that the reader finds one's self rooting for her success every step of the way and celebrating her initial victories.
Love that wine but love it even more after reading about this magical but real venture into the seasons and vicissitudes of producing the finest fruit for the dabbling tasters, drinkers and connoisseurs of this magnificent fruit of the vine, grapes for wine!
Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on October 7, 2007
Paula Moulton decides she's had enough of the city, and makes a decision that completely changes the way she and her family live. She paints vivid pictures through her descriptions of California wine country and the relationships she develops - with the people and the land.
While her husband works 80 hour weeks, Paula and her children learn to live with Mother Nature, not fight her. Through trial and error, she discovers what farming methods work for her, while cultivating her vineyard. Paula finds herself becoming caught up in the ebb and flow of the seasons, and how important each is, if she hopes to have a productive crop.
This book is vaguely reminiscent of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. It's anecdotal as well as educational. You'll find information and instruction about grape growing and wine making. It's a beautiful book, one you'll find yourself sharing with your friends.
After seeing the film "Sideways" I found myself looking for a good book to read about winemaking and living in wine country. This book offers a tutorial on the nuts and bolts of how to grow grapes and produce wine, and as a memoir, interweaves the personal experiences of the author and the "Life Lessons" learned in the process.
Drawing from her father's interest in gardening and home made wine, and her mother's passion for natural foods and conservation, in mid-career Moulton moves from the city to the country and becomes an expert in biodynamic, dry-farming grape production, with an obsession for the natural health of her soil and vineyards. The book could stand on it's own as a textbook in natural farming techniques.
As a memoir, the story is even more interesting. Mrs. Moulton reveals that her initial childhood interest in gardening develops as a healing process after the death of her brother. Then later when Mrs. Moulton finds herself frustrated and fatigued from trying to raise a family and have a career in a fast-paced urban environment, she follows her grandmother's advise to "Find something you're passionate about and do it. Follow your dreams." To do so, she convinces her successful doctor husband to move to the country. "Wouldn't it be fun to speed your way to work on a beautiful country road?" she asks him, as she notes that he is a man who lives life fast, and is afraid of dying without accomplishing anything. So are the "Life Lessons" Moulton learned from her "Seasons Among the Vines" limited to seeking harmony with nature? Is the intended lesson in life we are to take from this book that you should follow your dreams no matter what? I think that was the intent.
At the conclusion of the memoir, the stress from farming has left the author with serious neck and spine problems, kids sick for a year from drinking infected well-water, a mostly absent husband, and doubts about the chosen lifestyle. Yet the solution the author chooses is to expand the farm to 60 acres, restore a 100-year old farmhouse, and grow yet more grapes. I wasn't convinced that following her dreams had brought Moulton any contentment. After searching for more reviews of the book, I was saddened to learn that her husband Chuck had lost control of his car and was killed in a head-on collision on a country road shortly after the book had been published.
In hindsight, this memoir was written too soon. Maybe there had not yet been enough seasons among the vines to learn all of life's lessons. Perhaps following one's dreams no matter what consequences follow can require too great a sacrifice. Maybe the lesson should have been to appreciate that which we already have, and to recognize when the pursuit of personal dreams comes at too high a cost to others as well as to yourself.
Hopefully, Mrs. Moulton has recovered. I wish her and her family the best. And this work, this book within a book, deserves a sequel.
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