How to Become a Garagiste

by Sheridan Warrick

Warrick looks over a portion of his 2015 syrah, just pressed, from a vineyard in California’s Carneros region.

It’s not that hard to get started making excellent wines—as good as the ones you usually buy—right in your own home. In fact, you already know how to do it. I’m not kidding.

First, crush some red wine grapes—with your feet, if you like, as in the terrific old I Love Lucy episode or as the New York Times just showed amateur vintner Matt Baldassano, age 35, doing in his New York apartment. Second, get a fermentation going. Let it start by itself or speed it up by adding yeast, as you would to pizza dough. Next, when the fermentation ends, dispose of the grape skins and seeds. You’ve seen that, too: An Italian guy pulling on the handle of an old-fashioned wine press. Finally, let the wine stand around in sealed containers for several weeks or months. It’ll get clear.

That’s it—that’s the recipe. It’s pretty much how they do it in Napa and Sonoma and in Burgundy and Bordeaux. But what does it take to become an accomplished garagiste? Someone attuned to winemaking’s aromas and flavors. Someone who knows when to watch versus when to act, who’s enthralled by the seasonal rhythm: harvest, crush, fermenting, cellar work, and tasting. Who understands the mellifluous language of yeasts. That could be you. Accomplished winemakers put stock in four principles.

  1. Trust your senses. They’ll tell you if your grapes are good or if they’re funky, when a living wine is healthy and when it’s struggling. Swirl, sniff, sip, and spit: It’s the law.
  2. Embrace the new world. Enologists have created strains of yeast and bacteria that abolish much of the risk and trouble of making wines at home. Likewise, they’ve found ways of sanitizing gear and shielding wines from spoilage. Be wise and follow their lead.
  3. Be a sponge. Knowledge evolves, new ideas pop, old dogmas falter and die. Soak up perspective from vintners, friends, and wine shop staff. And read everything you can find. WineMaker magazine, for amateurs, regularly highlights new gear and methods.
  4. Never stop hunting for fruit. Explore the many sources of great grapes around the country, some likely near you. A wine can only be as good as the grapes that go into it.

Sheridan Warrick is the author of The Way to Make Wine: How to Craft Superb Table Wines at Home (2d ed., University of California Press, 2015).

Fresh Turmeric and Ginger Pickle

by Niloufer Ichaporia King

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe each Friday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

Turmeric” by bungasirait is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In the 1995, researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center applied for and received a patent on turmeric. An outraged Indian government immediately took steps to revoke the patent based on the effrontery of anyone trying to corner the market on a plant substance of Asian origin with thousands of years of known and demonstrated medicinal, culinary and economic use. That’s our friend, the turmeric plant, Curcuma longa, now acknowledged by Western science as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-coagulant and anti-oxidant, for both internal and external use. I can’t think of an Indian household that wouldn’t have turmeric as one of the staple spices used widely but in small amounts in food and medicine.

Perhaps without knowing it, American kitchens have long played host to turmeric, too, in its contribution to the bright yellow colour of hot dog-type mustard. In recent years, turmeric’s value has reached the mainstream, or at least one of its large tributaries, the health food and supplement market., and now, even large supermarket chains. This is a great boon to our house, since we no longer have to trek across town or cross the bridge to Berkeley to find fresh turmeric, which we cannot do without. Fresh turmeric rhizomes, an intense carroty orange inside, pale to brown outside depending on their maturity, are strong and medicinal tasting, but the recipe below for the easiest possible pickle made with nothing more than lime juice and salt transforms the eating of it from a health-minded duty to pure greedy joy. Eat it as an accent to fish or chicken, with rice and yogurt, or our household favourite, in teasingly small amounts with goat cheese or labneh and flat bread. Be sure to serve it with a very small spoon so that unprepared eaters don’t get carried away thinking they’re eating a carrot salad.


Fresh Turmeric and Ginger Pickle

from My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking

Serves 15 to 30.


2 to 3 ounces fresh turmeric rhizomes, mango ginger, or a combination

1 to 2 tablespoons very finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 to 3 fresh green or red chiles, finely chopped (optional)

Juice of at least 3 Key or Mexican limes or 1 Persian lime

Salt to taste


Peel the turmeric and cut into very thin slices. If the turmeric rhizomes are as thick as a carrot, quarter them lengthwise first. If you’re worried about yellow stains on your hands, wear rubber gloves.

Mix the turmeric slices in a small nonreactive bowl with the ginger, the chiles if you like, and lime juice and salt to taste. You will probably need the juice of at least 3 Key limes or 1 Persian lime. Remember, this is a pickle, and it is supposed to taste bold.

Let stand a good hour before serving. Stir the turmeric in the salt and lime brine from time to time, so that it pickles evenly. This pickle keeps well for more than a week, refrigerated in a glass jar.


by Christopher Bakken

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe each Friday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

Herbs for Greek Salad” by The Boreka Diary is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Excerpted from Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table.

If you’re driving down the mountain from Mitata to the secluded paradise of Kaladi Beach on Kythira, it’s best to fortify yourself in advance: there’s nothing at Kaladi but bees, blue water, and stone, and you must descend a small precipice to get there. Hit Restaurant Skandeia first. It’s located beside a dry riverbed and the ruins of the ancient port (destroyed by a massive earthquake and tsunami around 350 BC) and is shaded by huge poplar trees, beneath which you can devour mezedakia prepared by the ebullient Evantheia Protopsaltis.

Always on the lookout for local dishes I haven’t seen before, I spied something strange on Evantheia’s menu called maïntanosalata, or “parsley salad.”

In addition to composed salads built around a foundation of greens, cabbage, tomatoes, or other raw vegetables, many Greek “salates” are actually smears and may not contain vegetables at all: common offerings include melitzanasalata (an eggplant mash vaguely resembling baba ganoush, but more typically made with grilled eggplant and brightened with lemon, garlic, and parsley), tyrosalata (feta smashed with olive oil and often some hot pepper), and taramasalata (a fish roe spread held together with potato or, more commonly, yesterday’s dampened bread).

Maïntainosalata turned out to be one of these. And no wonder I’d never heard of it before, since Evantheia invented it. Like so many Greek dishes, it came into being at the intersection of health and frugality. When she visited her herb garden one day and saw that flat-leaf parsley had taken over the entire bed, Evantheia set to work deforesting the plot, extracting a mountain of parsley she didn’t want to go to waste. Her family suffers from genetic anemia and so she’s always scheming to get her kids to eat iron-rich dishes: on the spot, she found this delicious solution. Turns out parsley—the most popular herb in the Greek kitchen—is rich in iron, not to mention Vitamin C. Her kids never suspected that the meze she created, which they devoured with abandon, contained a dose of powerful maternal medicine.

8 cups stale bread, crusts removed, cubed

2 large bunches flat-leaf parsley, larger stems discarded

3 garlic cloves

2 small red onions, quartered

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Soak the bread in warm water for ten minutes, then drain and squeeze out most of the water. Place the parsley, onion, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced, and then add the bread slowly, with the blade running, until well combined. Add the vinegar and lemon juice along with a healthy pinch of salt and ground pepper.   Then, with the blade running on low, slowly add the olive oil (about half a cup) until the mixture loosens slightly. Serve on small plates with an extra drizzle of very good oil.

Christopher Bakken is Frederick F. Seely Professor of English at Allegheny College.  He is the author of three books of poetry: After Greece, Goat Funeral, and the forthcoming Eternity & Oranges. His poems, essays, and translations have been published widely in the U.S. and Europe.

In Honor of National Mezcal Day, Let’s Consider the Role of US Consumers

by Sarah Bowen

Fabrica de Mezcal” by Graham C99 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Apparently, October 21 is National Mezcal Day. It’s a little ironic to be celebrating National Mezcal Day in the United States, given that mezcal is one of Mexico’s national spirits. The term “mezcal” refers to distilled agave spirits, which originated in western Mexico more than 400 years ago and subsequently spread all over Mexico. The history of mezcal is tightly intertwined with the history of Mexico. But U.S. consumers have a big influence on how mezcal is produced and sold, and National Mezcal Day is a good opportunity to think about what we’d like that role to be.

The mezcal industry, and especially the market for artisanal and traditional mezcals, is experiencing an incredible boom in the United States. Bartenders and spirits aficionados love mezcal for its distinct taste and its compelling story. In the last few years, mezcal’s growing popularity has prompted what Saveur magazine called “a sort of gold rush in the Oaxacan hills [where a lot of mezcal is produced], with importers combing the countryside” for the best mezcal producers—the more isolated and “undiscovered,” the better.

The current cachet of traditional mezcal allows—although it does not require—brands to offer mezcal producers much higher prices than local consumers could afford to pay. The effects of new market opportunities can reverberate through entire towns and communities. In my research, I heard stories about families who had running water for the first time, or were able to send a kid to college, because they had gotten a contract with a retailer or importer with access to foreign markets. At the same time, many brands are deliberately vague about how much they pay producers, and while some pay very well, some high-end brands pay less than the costs of production.

Savvy American consumers and bartenders are increasingly knowledgeable about the types of agave and the specific practices used to make their mezcal. However, they know little about how the mezcaleros are compensated. We live far away from the communities where is being produced, and it’s easy to romanticize these producers and their traditions. But in my book, I want to push concerned American consumers and bartenders to think more about what they are buying and drinking and ask more questions about how their mezcal is being produced—and perhaps most importantly, about how the small producers, farmers, and workers are being paid.

At the same time, I want to emphasize that the market isn’t going to solve all of the problems in these industries—there also need to be changes in the laws that regulate production of mezcal and tequila and in the policies that affect people and communities in Mexico more generally. In 2014, a proposal for a major overhaul of the main law that regulates production of mezcal—NOM 070—came out. While there still hasn’t been any official word from the Mexican government on the direction this is going to go in, it’s something that mezcal aficionados should be paying attention to, because this law could have a huge effect on how the industry evolves and whether the small producers who make the mezcal we love so much are able to survive.

Sarah Bowen is Associate Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University and author of Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal, and the Politics of Production.

UC Press authors participate in this month’s Litquake Festival

Once again, UC Press is a proud sponsor of Litquake, the literary festival that runs October 9-17 in venues throughout San Francisco, Marin, and the East Bay. The event calendar offers an impressive bounty, including notable events featuring UC Press authors, detailed below. For event logistics, and the full calendar, check out the Litquake website. Some events are free and some are ticketed.

Hope to see you!


Mark Twain Project editor Ben Griffin (Autobiography of Mark Twain) joins a cast of writers and performers to discuss “Foolishness, Stupidity, and Vice,” October 10, 8pm.

Event Description: Noted playwright and Algonquin Round Table member George S. Kaufman is said to have once uttered, “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.” Come see us prove him wrong, on our opening night Saturday, with this star-studded lineup of satirical writers, artists, and performers. Doors open at 7 pm, and in the words of Mark Twain, “the trouble begins at 8.”


On October 11, join us for a day-long celebration of food and literature, “Eat, Drink, and Be Literary,” which will be held at Z-Space (450 Florida Avenue), San Francisco. Dan Warrick, of our second edition of The Way to Make Wine, will be set up in the entrance, pouring his own wine and signing books.


Also appearing at this event: On October 11, noon, Inside the California Food Revolution author Joyce Goldstein is part of a panel discussion on “The Growth and Evolution of the Bay Area Artisanal Food Movement.” This will be followed by a book signing at 12:45pm.

Event Description: Join six leaders in the Bay Area culinary world—a master chef, cheese maker, chocolatier, charcutier, bread baker, and food purveyor—to explore the origins and evolution of the artisanal food movement. Followed by audience Q&A.


Authors Judith Lowry (Gardening with a Wild Heart) and Jonah Raskin (Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating, and Drinking Wine in California) join other gardeners and gatherers, October 11, 4pm, for “What is Genius Loci?”


Event Description: And how does it affect foragers, gatherers, and gleaners? Six savvy, sexy veterans of field, forest, and sea come together for a delicious conversation about feral foods in the era of crazy weather, rainless days and nights, and the unimpeded civilized craving for wild nettles, mushrooms, sea weeds, and much more. Followed by audience Q&A.


In the East Bay, at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, Tom Turner, of our new David Brower book, joins others for “Wilderness Where You Find It,” October 11, 1pm.

Event Description: Wilderness is personal, political, historic, and threatened. This panel of original thinkers discusses what we talk about when we talk about wilderness, and how they connect with the wild in original and accessible ways.


And on October 16, 7pm, Jason De León, author of Land of Open Graves, gathers with other writers and performers for “Our Bookstores – United – Will Never Be Defeated,” at the Make-Out Room.

Event Description: San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía calls the 24th Street Corridor/Calle 24 “Bookstore Row,” where the coalition of stores—Adobe Books, Alley Cat Books, and Modern Times Bookstore Collective—all deliver unique attributes to a neighborhood already rich in history and culture. Yet given the changes in the Mission and citywide, independent booksellers, authors, and artists remain besieged by displacement. Tonight we celebrate what bookstores bring to our neighborhoods. Hosted by Alejandro Murguía, with Denise Sullivan and Kate Rosenberger. Music by Cambiowashere, Penelope Houston, Christine Shields, and Bob Forrest. Proceeds to benefit United Booksellers and Litquake.

UCP authors honored at the 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards

Ian D’Agata (center) accepting his award. (via Decanter)

The 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards were announced last night and we are celebrating the news that UC Press author and Rome-based wine writer Ian D’Agata was honored with the award for International Wine Book of the Year for Native Wine Grapes of Italy. Congratulations, Ian!

We knew we were proud of this amazing work of wine scholarship, which received rave reviews and effusive praise from all corners–D’Agata was even crowned “the pied piper of indigenous grapes” by Forbes–but it’s quite another thing for an author to have his work judged and applauded by some of the greatest names in the wine trade.

And he was among good company, of course. Also shortlisted in this category was our very own Kerin O’Keefe, Italian Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and author of Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine.

We encourage you to dip into Ian’s book to impress your fellow enophiles with trivia about little-known wine grapes. When Wall Street Journal wine critic Lettie Teague declared this reference as one of her six favorite new wine books, she wrote, “Italian wine lovers might look for information about certain grapes or simply leaf through this monograph, amused as I was by some of the facts Mr. D’Agata uncovered. Who knew, for example, that Grillo, the white grape of Sicily, is also the word for cricket in Italian? Or that the Pecorino grape was named after sheepherders?”

Well, now you do.

Three UCP authors shortlisted for the Roederer Awards

Native Wine Grapes of Italy by Ian D'Agata
Native Wine Grapes of Italy by Ian D’Agata

Two UC Press titles were shortlisted for the prestigious Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2015: Barolo & Barbaresco by Kerin O’Keefe and Native Grapes of Italy by Ian D’Agata. UC Press author Jamie Goode was also shortlisted for his contributions to wine writing online.

Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine by Kerin O'Keefe
Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wine by Kerin O’Keefe

The Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards were founded in 2004 to celebrate all those who put down in words or images the magic of the wine world in order to educate and entertain.

As part of Champagne Louis Roederer’s ongoing commitment to pursuing excellence, the Awards encourage journalists, authors, bloggers, artists and photographers from all over the world to be judged by some of the greatest names in the wine trade today, hoping to be named the winner of their respective category.

The competition attracts entries from the world over – from Switzerland to Spain, Chile to China – all communicating through their preferred medium about topics and opinions as varied as the entrants themselves.

Jamie Goode, author of The Science of Wine and Authentic Wine.
Jamie Goode, author of The Science of Wine and Authentic Wine.

With no entry cost, the Awards attract candidates ranging from established trade communicators alongside new aspiring talent, all of whom are judged as peers by our highly skilled team of judges. Winners of each category will be awarded a magnum (or larger) from their sponsor of their respective category, a generous financial gift, as well as the greatest accolade in the world of wine communication – the title of a Louis Roederer Wine Writer of the Year Award.

Visit the Roederer Awards’ website for more information. Congratulations to our authors!

Award-Winning UC Press Authors at the AFHVS/ASFS Annual Meeting

Last month, two UC Press authors received major prizes at the annual joint meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS). (Learn more about this year’s ASFS/AFHVS Conference on the official website.)

Julie Guthman (right) receives the AFHVS Excellence in Research Award.
Julie Guthman (right) receives the AFHVS Excellence in Research Award.

Julie Guthman, author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism and Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California, received the 2015 Excellence in Research Award from AFHVS.

This prize recognizes members of the AFHVS who have made outstanding contributions to research in the fields of agriculture, food, and human values. Guthman’s work, analyzing of both the American “obesity epidemic” and the realities of organic farming, is groundbreaking: truly deserving of this honor.

Amy Bentley with husband Brett Gary at the James Beard Awards.
Amy Bentley with husband Brett Gary at the James Beard Awards.
Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet
Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet

Amy Bentley’s Inventing Baby Food also received the 2015 ASFS Book Award. This award recognizes exemplary research, insightful theory, and the most significant and novel contributions to food scholarship, particularly books which suggest new questions and avenues of research for the scholarship of food.

Bentley joins other UC Press authors in this honor: since 2010, five UC Press titles have received the award, including Margaret Gray’s Labor and the Locavore in 2014. Bentley’s book is certainly worthy of this recognition: her history of baby food and American consumption is fresh, innovative, and informative. Inventing Baby Food was also a 2015 James Beard Award finalist in the scholarship and reference category.

It’s a pleasure to share this wonderful news, and we are proud to have published with both authors! Congratulations!

The Essential Cesar Chavez Day Reading List

This Tuesday, March 31 marks Cesar Chavez Day. The University of California Press is proud to have published broadly on this important labor and civil rights leader. From first-hand accounts of working side-by-side with Cesar Chavez to an examination of the charismatic leader as a religious figure, the books here present the full and rich life of one of our nation’s most important labor and civil rights figures.

Sal Si Puedes, by Peter Matthiessen

In the summer of 1968 Peter Matthiessen met Cesar Chavez for the first time. They were the same age: forty-one. Matthiessen lived in New York City, while Chavez lived in the Central Valley farm town of Delano, where the grape strike was unfolding. This book is Matthiessen’s panoramic yet finely detailed account of the three years he spent working and traveling with Chavez, including to Sal Si Puedes, the San Jose barrio where Chavez began his organizing. Matthiessen provides a candid look into the many sides of this enigmatic and charismatic leader who lived by the laws of nonviolence.

A new foreword by Marc Grossman considers the significance of Chavez’s legacy for our time. As well as serving as an indispensable guide to the 1960s, this book rejuvenates the extraordinary vitality of Chavez’s life and spirit, giving his message a renewed and much-needed urgency.

The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez, by Luis D. León

This book maps and challenges many of the mythologies that surround the late iconic labor leader. Focusing on Chavez’s own writings, León argues that La Causa can be fruitfully understood as a quasi-religious movement based on Chavez’s charismatic leadership, which he modeled after Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. By refocusing Chavez’s life and beliefs into three broad movements—mythology, prophecy, and religion—León brings us a moral and spiritual agent to match the political leader.

From the Jaws of Victory, by Matthew Garcia

This is the most comprehensive history ever written on the meteoric rise and precipitous decline of the United Farm Workers, the most successful farm labor union in United States history. Based on little-known sources and one-of-a-kind oral histories with many veterans of the farm worker movement, this book revises much of what we know about the UFW.

Beyond the Fields, by Randy Shaw

Much has been written about Chavez and the United Farm Worker’s heyday in the 1960s and ’70s, but left untold has been their ongoing impact on 21st century social justice movements. This book describes how Chavez and the UFW’s imprint can be found in the modern reshaping of the American labor movement, the building of Latino political power, the transformation of Los Angeles and California politics, the fight for environmental justice, and the burgeoning national movement for immigrant rights.

Delano, by John Gregory Dunne

In September 1965, Filipino and Mexican American farm workers went on strike against grape growers in and around Delano, California. More than a labor dispute, the strike became a movement for social justice that helped redefine Latino and American politics. The strike also catapulted its leader, Cesar Chavez, into prominence as one of the most celebrated American political figures of the twentieth century. More than forty years after its original publication, Delano: The Story of the California Grape Strike, based on compelling first-hand reportage and interviews, retains both its freshness and its urgency in illuminating a moment of unusually significant social ferment.

Visit Us at the 2015 American Society for Environmental History Conference!

Join University of California Press this spring in the nation’s capital for the 2015 American Society for Environmental History Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes March 18-22 in Washington, DC.

Please visit our table in the Washington Marriott Georgetown to purchase our latest Environmental History publications for the following offers:

  • 30% conference discount and free worldwide shipping
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  • Win $100 worth of books! Join our eNews subscription

Our Environmental History list is comprised of a broad selection of titles ideal for research and courses. Our groundbreaking authors and award winning titles explore topics within natural history, geography, world history, and ecological studies.

Please see our conference program ad for our latest offerings. Acquisitions staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Check out #aseh2015 and #envhist for current meeting news.