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This book is published, but you can still pledge for rewards!

Salt & Old Vines cover

The Synopsis

PLEASE NOTE: Salt & Old Vines is now in production so your name can not be listed in the back of the book. However, you can pre-order a copy of the special Unbound limited edition that will not be available in the shops.

Grab a bottle, and a glass. Pop it open. Pour. Hold it up to the light and see how the colour dances under it. See how bright it is, how it seems to generate its own light. Swirl it, and don’t worry if you spill a bit. Everyone spills a bit swirling. Anyone who claims not to spill a bit swirling is a big fat liar.

Have a sniff; get your nose in. Take a sip. Savour it for a moment, let it fill the mouth.

I hope it’s good. I hope you like it. There’s no point in drinking wine that you don’t like. Wine that you like? Wine that you love? Sometimes it’s hard to find a reason not to drink it.

Have another sip.

Wine is a happy accident. Its journey from vine to bottle can be fraught. The people who accompany it on that journey are human; fallible. They’ve been picking grapes since 6 in the morning, or working the press since 6.30. They get hurt, they sweat, they bleed. They don’t finish until late and need a beer at the end of their day.

When I started working in the wine trade, one of the first things my boss taught me was that the more you learn, the more you realise you don’t know. It’s an adage that applies to countless fields, but in wine its truth is viscerally apparent: you can even taste it. And it wasn’t until I started making the stuff myself that I realised just how little I knew.

I’m going to tell you a story, a story about wine, the place it comes from and the people who make it. It’s a true story.

Get your nose in there again. Has it changed at all? What’s different? Take a sip, a bigger one. Let it linger.

True stories about wine are few and far between. There are countless texts, mired in diagrams and tasting notes that pay paragraph-service (like lip service, but textual) to 'methods' and 'wine-making philosophies', maps of detailed soil strata and relief lines. No one needs another one of those, though there are some brilliant ones.

So this isn’t one of those. This is about both history and now. About folks who started off as blues guitarists, historians, or selling farm equipment. About a place that has seen crusades, and war, that sits right at the border of countries, land and sea. This is a story of wine, a portrait of some of its people and a biography of the place it comes from.

Finish the glass. The last sip is always the best.

The Excerpt

Collioure and Banyuls sit near the edge, literally and figuratively. Spain is spitting distance away. Several of the small roads that cross the border bear no notice that you are doing so. As far as landscape goes, it can be difficult to determine where one begins and the other ends. Catalan is spoken on both sides, though less so these days. Legally, they belong to France. Emotionally, they are Catalan. In the past, they were ruled by both sides and kingdoms that exist now only in history books. They support Barcelona in the football but they play only rugby, union and league. Vines are planted mostly on terraced slopes, though in some places they’ll stick them on any spare piece of land. Higher up the hills, there’s decay, as the remains of the terraces and drywall slowly rejoin the hillside and the vines give way to scrub and brush. The two towns, Collioure and Banyuls, also provide the name for the local wine appellations. While they are part of the greater region of the Roussillon, they have been distinguished as warranting a separate classification. Dry wines from the region are classed as Collioure, whilst fortified sweet wines are classed as Banyuls.

Read more...

The Reviews

This book has 2 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

If you're anything like me, wine is just that red stuff that comes in bottles for £4.99 in your local Londis... But for Richard W H Bray - wine trader, sommelier and all-round bon vivant - it is so much more. 'Salt Old Vines' is a warm, charming and deeply personal account of his days making... (read more)
Teaching winemaking at Plumpton College, I see many potential students who have a passion for wine. They have enjoyed many bottles of wine, maybe watched "A walk in the clouds" or done a sanitized winery visit. I usually and patiently have to explain that winemaking is not like that and they should... (read more)

The Author

After a degree that took somewhat longer than intended, I graduated with an MA in Medieval History. I'd planned to pursue a career in academia, but just two days after I graduated, I started a job with a wine merchant that also happened to be a whisky specialist, and the bug bit me.

I've since worked as a wine and whisky merchant, sommelier, wine-educator and consultant. I've sourced extraordinary wines from around the old and new world, building some of Britain’s broadest and most interesting lists for some of its most respected restaurants. I blog about wine when I remember to and prefer tasting in the morning.

Four years ago, I flew to France to work my first harvest - an incredible experience. I’ve returned every year since and am an assistant winemaker at Coume del Mas and Mas Cristine in the Roussillon.

When not tasting or making wine I tweet too much, marvel at my cat and put off redrafting my novel. Between April and October, my moods hinge entirely on the performance of the Boston Red Sox. There’s a good argument to be made that the whole winemaking thing is just to take my mind off the playoff run.


The Rewards

This book is now published. If you pledge now you still will receive your ebook or beautiful limited edition copy, but you won't get listed as a supporter in the back.

£10
Digital

e-book edition and access to the author's shed

£20
Hardback

Limited 1st edition hardback e-book edition and access to the author's shed

£55
Hardback & Wine

Over 18s only. Please drink responsibly

Sold out
£80
Wine & Launch Party
  • Two invitations to the launch party
  • a bottle of limited edition Consolation
  • a limited 1st edition hardback
  • e-book edition and access to the author's shed

Over 18s only. Please drink responsibly

Sold out
£500
Tutored Tasting
  • A personally hosted, tutored wine tasting by the author (for up to 8 people, held in London)
  • two invitations to the launch party
  • a bottle of limited edition Consolation
  • a limited 1st edition hardback
  • e-book edition and access to the author's shed

Over 18s only. Please drink responsibly

Sold out
£1,200
Visit the Winery
  • Trip to Collioure with the author - flights, tour of the winery, tasting dinner at a local restaurant
  • a bottle of limited edition Consolation
  • a limited 1st edition hardback
  • e-book edition and access to the author's shed

Over 18s only. Please drink responsibly

Sold out