Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology / Edition 1

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Berkeley, CA 2009 Hard cover New ed. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 336 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. CC30B

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This eclectic collection at last brings to a wide audience the irreverent, zany voice of Randall Grahm, visionary California winemaker and founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard. An iconoclastic send-up of the wine industry and a celebration of unsung grape varieties, the book features, among other things, Grahm's hilarious literary parodies—Joyce, Kafka, Pynchon, Salinger, and others—together with song lyrics, other snarky satires, poems, lectures, and more. Subtle undertones of gravitas with faint suggestions of earnestness lie beneath the humor, however, as Grahm passionately addresses the state of wine today: Where in wine does “greatness” truly repose? How might true originality in New World wines be found? Do New World winemakers have the integrity and courage to unreservedly embrace terroir? This trove includes a very personal take on Dante's
(Grahm's own vision of Wine Hell) and a collection of tunes from the rock opera “Born to Rhône.” Other pieces offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Rhône Ranger wine movement and of Bonny Doon itself, told through the story of its adventurous wine labels. Been Doon So Long is a highly entertaining journey to find the “truth of all things that may be found in the unlikely medium of a wineglass.”

Winner of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Beverage

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
“There's witness to one of California's most magnetizing winemakers coming to terms with his more mature self.”
Food & Wine
“Sharp, irreverent musings on wine—everything from literary spoofs to serious essays. All are assembled here.”
Bloomberg News - John Mariani
“I know of no other compendium of wine lit so erudite, witty, and straightforward as Grahm’s remarkable book. “
New York Times
“Brilliantly observed and beautifully rendered.”
Fine Cooking Editors
“A most entertaining course in oenology and an honest portrayal of one man’s search for true originality and terroir.”
California Grapevine
“Like a fine diamond. Every time you look at it from a different angle, you find a brilliant side you haven’t seen before.”
Wine & Spirits Magazine
“Gorgeous volume. . . .Packed with some of his best work.”
Eric Asimov
Randall Grahm…has warmth and a sense of humor. They are all on full display in Been Doon So Long…Regardless of genre, Mr. Grahm's thoughts are brilliantly observed and beautifully rendered…Mr. Grahm is also relentlessly self-promotional, which puts him in the good company of writer-merchants like Kermit Lynch. In both cases, the joy and the vision they offer makes the salesmanship more than tolerable.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520259560
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/19/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Randall Grahm's writing appears in the World of Fine Wine magazine. He has been inducted into Who's Who of Cooking in America and named Wine & Spirits Professional of the Year by the James Beard Foundation.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Hugh Johnson


[I] How to Tell a Book by Its Cover
The Etiquette (and History) of the Bonny Doon Etiquette

[II] Ficciones (Viterature)
[1] How I Spent My Summer Vacation
[2] Spenser's Last Case: Le Mystère d'Ail, Ail, Ail
[3] A Wan Hunter Had Yourself Solid, Dude
[4] “B”
[5] The Fining Trial
[6] Cheninagin's Wake: James Juice Takes the Wine Train
[7] Don Quijones, the Man for Garnacha, or A Confederacy of Doonces
[8] The pHs of Romanée County
[9] Kacher in the Ribes
[10] A Clockwork Orange Muscat
[11] Trotanoy's Complaint
[12] A Perfect Day for Barberafish

[III] Poesy Galore
[13] The Love Song of J. Alfred Rootstock
[14] Howlbariño
[15] The Rimeshot of the Ancient Marsanner
[16] Bash_ Does Beltramo's
[17] A Holiday Message
[18] Da Vino Commedia: The Vinferno

[IV] Taking It Doon-Tune
[19] Don Giovese in Bakersfield: An Opera Giacosa
[20] Born to Rhône: Selections from a Rock (and Gravel) Opera

[V] Enough Rope: Extracts from the Nooseletter
[21] Manichean Rules, or The Continental Divide
[22] Podea, or Unhand the Maiden, Sirrah!
[23] Reductio ad Sulfatum, or A Penny for Your Thoughts
[24] The Almost Pleasanton Years, or
In the Belly of the Republikaner Beast
[25] Up the Yin/Yang without a Paddle
[26] Ca' del Solo, or Home Alone
[27] Revenge

[VI] Connerie (Schtick)
[28] Preface to Unwritten Book
[29] Why French Wine No Longer Matters, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Long-Chain Tannins
[30] Totally Screwed: Three (3x) Top Ten Lists
[31] The Heartbreak of Wine Geekdom: Ten Ways You Know You've Met a Real Wine Geek
[32] Good Morning, Swedes
[33] Le Cigare of the Future
[34] Making the List at Elka's
[35] Preface to Wines of Italy
[36] Are You Experienced?
[37] Doon to Earth

[VII] Earnest Speeches and Sober Essays
[38] Sustainability
[39] Bungle in the Jungle: “How Does a Wine Mean?” or A Season in Wine Hell
[40] How I Overcame my UC Davis Education
[41] Six Feet Under: A Meditation on Roots, Minerals, and Vinous Immortality
[42] “Great” Wine in the Postmodernist World
In Search of a Great Growth in the New World
[44] Terroir and Going Home
[45] A Meditation on Terroir: The Return


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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A transformative book for wine consumers

    Like a captivating wine, Been Doon So Long is a book that encourages one to read, reflect, and then read again. And like any great cellar, this is a book that offers a variety of writings from various periods of Grahm's life as a winemaker, enabling the reader to be selective as to what is ultimately consumed. I approached Grahm's book with the initial impulse to consume it cover-to-cover, only to find myself reading and returning to various sections of the book that resonated most with me.

    Of particular interest were the pieces organized under the section, "Earnest Speeches and Sober Essays". Here, I discovered insights into the true meaning of terroir; how we Americans suffer from an immature wine culture; the merits of originality and minerality; and most importantly, how wine reaches deep into our states of mind, body, and soul. Grahm's writings, especially the essay, "A Meditation on Terroir: The Return", helped connect the dots for me, providing the context my consciousness needed to better understand and appreciate wine in a more profound and meaningful way.

    Besides connecting dots, Grahm's candid reflections on his multi-decade journey crafting and marketing wine helped me better understand the person behind the Bonny Doon labels. Until reading this book, my impression of Grahm was primarily that of an innovative (lest we forget witty) marketer as well as an astute businessman, with the additional thought that he had the wherewithal of making decent wine at scale.

    I had no frame of reference on his soul, nor did I understand the transformation that was occurring in Grahm as a winemaker thru the 90's and into the next decade, whereupon he decided to part ways with the larger parts of his business and focus solely on a few select vins de terroir. I found it interesting to read Grahm's narrative of his journey while reflecting on my own experience with wine. In a very compelling way, Been Doon So Long helped me understand what was driving my palate's thirst for vins de terroir.

    As a result of reading Been Doon So Long, a door has been opened and a new path discovered that will alter the wines I seek, collect, and open at my table in the months ahead.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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