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Chateau Monty [Hardcover]

Monty Waldin
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Sep 2008
Top wine critic and author, Monty Waldin, has decided to put his money where his opinionated mouth is and pack it all in to make wine biodynamically in rural France. He has just over a year to turn 5.4 acres into top selling organic wine. Renovating an old cabin on his vineyard so he can babysit his vines 24/7, his only company will be his donkey and occasionally his high maintenance girlfriend Silvana when she jets in from Italy. Regarded by peers as a bit loopy because of his views about Biodynamics, and even as the enfant terrible of the wine world (he's upset the establishment for his harsh criticisms of the wine industry), Monty's nonetheless forged a successful career and written several award-winning books...But now he's abandoning life behind the laptop for a new one making his own wine in the French Pyrenees.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Portico; 1st edition (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906032289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906032289
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M O N T Y WA L D I N sensed when working as a teenager on a conventionally run Bordeaux château in the mid-1980s that the more industrial sprays were applied to the grapes, the more additives and other corrective treatments were needed subsequently during the winemaking. In the mid-1990s Monty became the first wine writer to specialize in green issues. His first book, The Organic Wine Guide (Thorsons, 1999), published whilst Monty developed a biodiversity project for a Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard in California, was voted Britain's Wine Guide of the Year. He followed this with the multi award-winning Biodynamic Wines (Mitchell Beazley, 2004). Monty drew on his winemaking experiences in Chile for Wines of South America (Mitchell Beazley, 2003), winner of America's prestigious James Beard Book Award. In 2007 whilst living in Roussillon in France, Monty was filmed by Britain's Channel 4 for Château Monty, the first ever observational TV documentary on biodynamic winemaking from pruning to bottling (a six part series broadcast 2008). His other books include Discovering Wine Country: Bordeaux (2005) and Discovering Wine Country: Tuscany (2006), both Mitchell Beazley; and Château Monty (Portico, 2008). Monty has contributed to Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Guide (Mitchell Beazley), Tom Stevenson's Wine Report (Dorling Kindersley) and wrote the entries for biodynamics and organics in The Oxford Companion to Wine (ed. Jancis Robinson MW OBE, 2006). He has also contributed to BBC radio and TV, British newspapers (The Independent, London's Evening Standard, Daily Mail), and websites (, as well as to wine, travel and environmental publications including Decanter, Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review, World of Fine Wine, The Ecologist, Star & Furrow (journal of the Biodynamic Agricultural Association, UK) and Biodynamics (journal of the Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Association, USA).

Product Description


"His story is informative and fascinating, and it left this reviewer ready to search out biodynamic wines for a tasting." --Kate Turner, for Waterstones Books Quarterly, Winter 2008

"Waldin upped sticks to the Pyrenees...a brave, if slightly bonkers move that's amusingly captured in this entertaining first person account. A funny, down to earth read." --French Magazine, September 2008

About the Author

Monty Waldin is a wine writer and critic, and widely considered THE authority on organic wines and biodynamic winemaking. The author of several books on wine, he currently lives in the south of France.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Series versus book 27 April 2013
The day I saw the TV programme reviewed in the Radio Times I was ecstatic! I had walked around that vinyard so many times, sheltered in the same hut that in the TV series Monty converted into a shelter (we all used it as a public loo)and picked several bunches of grapes during my ramblings. I had even helped at a vendage one year as the vinyard had always been organic. I loved the TV series, full of people I knew, absolutely delightful and I cried everytime I saw Canigou in the background.

So, on to the book. Well, what happened to the hardworking assistant? What happened to all the village people who had already kept the vinyard up to scratch until Waldin decided to rent it? In the TV series Eric played a small part but in the book he is the major player. There are several comments that are made in the book which are in error (empty le Vivier properties not having mains water - not so, every property includng empty barns went onto mains water in the 1990's etc)and a better proof reader might have helped with the grammatical errors.

I felt that the book was trying to compete with a Year in Provence but dealing solely with Monty's idea of a biodonamic process. I began to feel a bit frustrated with the idea of a cows horn filled with manure buried in the ground. St Martin has always been the home of best organic small growers and producers of vines around for many miles.

Waldin says in one point that a local for decades was not happy about being told how to attend her allotment and thus avoided him. Well, what a surprise, Monty!

To read this book you really need to be totally into how to grow grapes. And in Monty's way. If you are not it could be very boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book shame about the TV series 17 May 2011
I read the book first and then watched the series recently on 4OD, and was also surprised at the presence of his assistant. After seeing his barely concealed antipathy towards her in the show, and her total absence from his book, it seems obvious her presence was at the insistence of Tiger Aspect (producers of countless reality TV shows) to boost the 'drama' (yes, they got some tears out of her). This, plus Geoffrey Palmer's pithy voice-over, made it pretty unwatchable, and I would never have read the book if I'd seen the series first. Shame, because it's an interesting read and I admire his passion for biodynamics even though I don't really buy it.
We did buy some of his first vintage and it was great, especially the white. I read that he stuck with it for a couple more years but only covered his costs and has gone back to writing. Too bad, just shows how tricky it is for small producers, even with the benefit of publicity from a TV show and book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars History rewritten? 21 Mar 2011
I followed this when it was first broadcast on Channel 4(?) He had an assistant who he recruited to help him run the vineyard. He got some young lady to work for him who had no experience of this type of work. She had previously worked in car sales.
In the book there is no mention of her what so ever and yet she was integral to the programme that was shown on TV. When Monty was really laid flat by his back injury it was her who appeared to keep the vineyard on track.
The book is interesting even if some of the ideas seem to be out there with the fairies. Although, in fairness, the Europeans appear to be far more interested in Biodynamics than the Brits
I can only give this book one star as the young woman from the TV programme does at least deserve a mention for all her work and yet she gets no credit.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Who edited this then? 27 Feb 2009
This is an interesting subject and a better format than the "I spent a year with a load of foreign wierdos" that we have been bombarded by in recent years. The problem seems to be in the editing, in addition to several typos or grammatical fouls the reader is often treated like a fool - one assumes to pander to an american market - and simple points about wine making or biodiversity are repeated or laboured to death.
The book could have done with being 20% shorter, had the characters developed and not put together like a collection of articles from a cheap wine magazine.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
You have to admire Waldin for his courage. Not just the chucking in of his previous career and his attempts at making his own wine but also the manner in which he has gone about it.
This is a charming romp through the first year on his rustic vineyard, dealing with the variety of trials and tribulations that befall him (anyone with who has ever suffered back ache can sympathise.) As well as moments of humanity and levity.
And if you are lucky enough to have got hold of some of the end product - it sold out in days - you will see that Waldin was very successful indeed.
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