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Featured Publication
posted 12 August 2001

Vintage Feasting
by Joy Sterling
Vintage Feasting - by Joy Sterling
published in 1996 by Pocket Books
ISBN 0-671-52776-2

It is amazing who you meet and where you meet them. But for wine lovers to meet in a vineyard is not surprising.

It was on the last day of the Pinot Noir 2001 Conference in NZ's Wellington. I boarded the bus to take us around the Martinborough Vineyards. I was travelling on my own. Others seemed to be with partners, with friends or in groups. I didn't mind. These kind of do's are all about meeting people. The Americans were the friendliest.

One chap introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Forrest Tancer of Iron horse Vineyards".

"And I'm Joy Sterling', said the slightly built, short honey-blonde haired woman accompanying him. Intros all round.

We stopped at one vineyard, then the next. Then finally lunch at Ata Rangi where a vineyard feast was set out on tables on the vineyard lawn. I sat with Forrest and Joy. They were an interesting couple. There was something familiar. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. They talked about their vineyard but when they mentioned the 8 acres of organic vegetable garden, that was the trigger to make me remember.

You're the Joy Sterling Joy Sterling at Ata Rangi that wrote "Vintage Feasting", aren't you? She was surprised I'd even heard of the book, as she didn't know it had found its way to NZ. But I had spotted it in a book store one day last year and after browsing the first few pages, couldn't resist buying.

Vintage Feasting is a account of a year at Iron Horse Vineyard, beginning with the toasting in of the New Year and ending with the adieu's to the old with a glass of Iron Horse Sparkling wine in hand. It is a book of celebration and feasting, a year of wining and dining, from intimate dinners for two to vineyard banquets with hundreds of guests. For example the harvest lunches they hold in September have 40 guests a day, 5 days a week for 5 weeks.

Interspersed throughout the book are menus of special-feast days, and of course the wine matches, while all the time the work goes on in the vineyard and winery as the seasons change.

Forrest is the winemaker and Joy loves her garden, which is one of the reasons they do so much entertaining. "We did a party last June (2000) for 250 people, and it didn't even put a dent in the garden", she said.

This is a book you can pick up, put down and pick up again any time. I loved it and if you love wine and food or the idea of a vineyard lifestyle, you will love this book.

I am not sure of the availability in New Zealand, but you can buy it from at this Amazon link.

If you like this book by Joy Sterling, you may like these other titles also -

A Vintner's Guide to Red Wine

Vineyard : A Year in the Life of California's Wine Country

© Sue Courtney 12 August 2001

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