California is the nation's great vineyard, supplying grapes for most of the wine produced in the United States. The state is home to more than 700 wineries, and California's premier wines are recognized throughout the world. But until now there has been no comprehensive guide to California wine and winemaking. Charles L. Sullivan's A Companion to California Wine admirably fills that gap—here is the reference work for consumers, wine writers, producers, and scholars.
Sullivan's encyclopedic handbook traces the Golden State's wine industry from its mission period and Gold Rush origins down to last year's planting and vintage statistics. All aspects of wine are included, and wine production from vine propagation to bottling is described in straightforward language. There are entries for some 750 wineries, both historical and contemporary; for more than 100 wine grape varieties, from Aleatico to Zinfandel; and for wine types from claret to vermouth—all given in a historical context.
In the book's foreword the doyen of wine writers, Hugh Johnson, tells of his own forty-year appreciation of California wine and its history. "Charles Sullivan's Companion," he adds, "will provide the grist for debate, speculation, and reminiscence from now on. With admirable dispassion he sets before us just what has happened in the plot so far."
Charles L. Sullivan is the author of Like Modern Edens (1982), Wines and Winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains (1994), and Napa Wine (1994). He has written numerous articles for wine and food journals, including Wine Spectator, Wines & Vines, Vintage Magazine, and the Journal of the American Wine Society.
"Charles Sullivan is enormously knowledgeable about California wine history. This is a valuable, educational, and entertaining book that is much needed by all of us in and around the California wine world—and in fact by anyone interested in wine."—Robert Mondavi
"Charles Sullivan has been eating and drinking at Chez Panisse Restaurant since we opened in 1971, and he has a deep knowledge of California wines. I know that this comprehensive and remarkable volume has been a labor of love."—Alice Waters, author of The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook
"Charles Sullivan has created an extraordinary one-volume encyclopedia of California wine. It immediately becomes the first reference to reach for in my library. Arranged alphabetically, the entries cover the broad history of wine development and even include brief descriptions of most of the wineries in the state today."—Narsai David, food and wine critic
"Ours is a golden age of California wine; and now, thanks in part to this comprehensive, thoroughly researched, elegantly written, and eminently useful reference book, it is showing itself to be a golden age of wine writing as well. Whether read straight through, entry by entry, or sipped selectively, Charles Sullivan's A Companion to California Wine—like wine itself—entertains, fortifies, and instructs with the easy, sunny finesse characteristic of any good vintage."—Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California
"Nothing even comes close to Sullivan's book in knowledge and authority. It is a succinct, absolutely authoritative compendium of California wine history, conveniently and accessibly presented. This is the book I will go to first. 'Let's look it up in Sullivan' ought to become a standard phrase."—Thomas Pinney, author of A History of Wine in America
"An essential reference for everyone seriously interested in California's wines and wine industry. The author provides factual as well as fascinating background on established producers, grape varieties, wine regions, and the past—the colorful individuals and enterprises that are California's wine heritage."—Paul Draper, Winemaker/CEO, Ridge Vineyards