Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dirt That Blows Up

Chapter 65 Volcanic soil is some of the most fertile soil out there.  Hawaii, for example, is a ball of molten rock covered by a thin crust of brown and a thinner crust of bright green, inching its way across the Pacific.[1] This is great for a lot of different kinds of agriculture, but generally […]


Chapter 64 Slate is[1] a useful rock.  We write on it, we use it to keep the rain out of our houses,[2] and we grow grape vines in it to make wine.  The funny thing is that slate is good for these three uses for exactly the same reason.[3] Slate is an odd and complicated […]


Chapter 63 It was an oversight on my part to write sixty odd chapters on wine, and fail to write about dirt even once.  I promise that this piece won’t be about anything else.[1] Talk to any winemaker, anyone who runs a vineyard, any farmer in the world, and they will tell you it’s all […]

Religion and Wine

Chapter 62 “To drink like a Capuchin is to drink poorly, To drink like a Benedictine is to drink deeply, To drink like a Dominican is pot after pot, But to drink like a Franciscan Is to drink the cellar dry!” – Old French Drinking Song In the more Bawdy works of art of the […]