Wine book reviews
Voodoo vintners: Oregon's astonishing biodynamic wine growers

By Katherine Cole (Oregon State University Press 2011)

This is a great book. You need to ignore the slightly bizarre cover (why the goat?) and the awkward title ('astonishing'? Really?), because the content is superb. Katherine Cole writes very well, and this is possibly the best book on the topic of biodynamic viticulture I've read.

The problem with biodynamics as a book topic is that such titles tend to be written by true believers, and their prose usually collapses under the strain of intense earnestness. Here, Cole brings a light, gently witty twist to her writing and acts as an astute observer of the growers in Oregon who are turning to this alternative form of growing wine grapes.

I particularly enjoyed her lively and even-handed mini-biography of Steiner, the founder of the movement. Equally engaging are the accounts of the rather different wineries and personalities involved in the Oregon wine scene. 

Overall, Cole has taken on a difficult project - it's hard to write about bioynamics because of the controversies involved - and has done it really well. 

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