I am not one to ever pass up an opportunity to bemoan the fact that my wife Karen fractured her leg on our last wine trip and we had to cut our trip short. … so nope, this is not an article about our travels.
Rather, Along The California Wine Trail is a book, although it is definitely more than that. Written by Jerry Stroud, the book showcases California’s major American Viticultural Areas [AVAs]. Presented along with the “retro realistic” artwork of Kerne Erickson, Jerry does not present a technical tome [there are plenty of those] but rather shares his own personal stories of visits to California’s varied wine regions.
Karen and I had the opportunity to attend the artist’s reception and book launch of Along The California Wine Trail: Exploring California’s American Viticultural Areas on November 4th at George Stern Fine Arts in West Hollywood, CA.
Both Stroud and Erickson were present to discuss their work and to sign books for a roomful of eager attendees. In addition, Erickson’s original artwork of all the paintings included in the book adorned the walls of the gallery. Karen enjoyed viewing the actual paintings and reminiscing about our own travels. She also pointed out a couple of AVAs that we haven’t visited as of yet and that we need to.
Free flowing wine and tasty appetizers contributed to the atmosphere of actually being in wine country. More than one person commented to me that Erickson’s artwork was inspiring them to want to plan a visit to wine country, especially to one of the AVAs that they might have had less familiarity with.
One of the wines available for sampling was the delicious 2016 Chardonnay from Bacigalupi Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. The family purchased the vineyard property in 1956 but only started making Chardonnay under the Bacigalupi name in 2011. Author Jerry Stroud points out in the book that fruit from this Sonoma County vineyard made up a significant portion [40% per the winery’s website] of the 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena. Perhaps you’ve heard of this wine – it won the Judgement of Paris in 1976.
It is stories like this in the book, where Stroud shares his personal experiences and champions the causes of the families who built the wine regions, that make the book extremely compelling. Divided into five chapters representing the main AVAs in California [Sierra Foothills, North Coast, Central Valley, Central Coast and South Coast], Stroud tells personal tales of his experiences in the various sub-AVAs that we know and love, all interspersed with Erickson’s masterful artwork. I certainly felt that I had found a kindred spirit in Jerry Stroud.
The book and prints are for sale on the Along The California Wine trail website. I’m also told the book should be available in certain winery tasting rooms. There are plans for a second extended printing that I am really looking forward to, but in the meantime this will do just fine.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.