I bought this book after reading a review in The Economist, of all places. The review was positive but I regret the purchase. I couldn't actually get past the first 30-odd pages. I'm sure there's an interesting enough story in there somewhere but I found the style so overwrought and unnecessarily detailed that I just couldn't face reading any more. It's as if the author feels he has tried too hard to make his writing entertaining. Hardly a single fact is told without wrapping it up in some extraordinary anecdote. As if every step of the way has to be against great hardship and all progress was truly wondrous. Perhaps that's a reflection of general American entertainment, leaving nothing to the reader or viewer's imagination? If that's your style then you might like it. If not, then look elsewhere.
Extraordinarily detailed and honest account of the full events from conception of the idea to realization, warts and all. As a English francophone of many years standing I found myself totally absorbed by the story, seeing in it very many of the situations I got myself into on the first encounter with France. Now, with many decades experience and even bits of my family thoroughly planted in Burgundy, I strain to get back after only a few months away. This is probably the best book of personal introduction to France that I have read (and I have read many), accurately descriptive and full of knowledge about what matters in the heart of the wine industry. Usually when I read a book from the "France section" in various libraries I simply enjoy and return. This time, I haven't yet finished the book and am already wishing I could met the author. Oh, and many thanks to Christian, Ray's wife, for her dedicated support in helping this adventure to happen, thus giving us all the pleasure of reading about it.
Ray, when you have a quiet moment from your "chai", please take up your second best skill - writing books!
I really enjoyed this book. Its a Field (or is that vineyard?) of Dreams story that is quite inspirational.
Lightly told, the book is packed full of anecdotes around the kindness of strangers and the value of having a true passion for wine. It is entertaining and informative if you know little of Burgundy or the challenges of wine creation. Its also a good insight into the challenges of succeeding in France.
Why not five stars?
Well, its obvious from the flyleaf that Ray succeeded so that took away some of the suspense. The end is a bit rushed / lacks some detail and the stories around the more significant characters are left a bit open.
But if you are a dreamer, like wine and want an inspirational read - its my pleasure to recommend this book.