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Customer Review

31 March 2017
Paul Olding, the proud proprietor of a small 40-vine vineyard on an allotment in Lewisham, South London – known as Olding Manor – has written an impeccable step-by-step guide for the small vinegrower. He takes the reader through all the relevant stages of the growing side – site improvement, planting, establishment and the annual workload – and then through the trickier business of converting grapes into drinkable wine. I was particularly impressed with the sections on soil treatments including drainage (one of the things vines hate is poor drainage) and on the decision making process with regard to variety selection, vine spacing and trellising. The winemaking section is written with authority and will enable anyone with a modicum of common sense to produce something drinkable. The section on acidity could do with revising, but this is a very minor gripe.
Apart from the content, the book is very well organised, written in an easy-to-read style and almost totally devoid of typographic errors and mistakes. For a self-published book, it is a marvel (and having self-published around ten books myself I know only too well how difficult it is to achieve this level of perfection).
I probably have around 250 books on viticulture in my library, including all the standard works in English on the subject dating from 1670. Several of them have been written by amateurs and for amateurs and these tend to be pretty hopeless and out of date. The Urban Vineyard is quite the opposite and can take its place in my collection with its head held high.
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