This book chronicles the personal journey of pioneering female winery owner Susan Sokol Blosser, from deciding on a whim to grow wine grapes in the early 1970s, to the trials and tribulations of starting her family-owned winery, Sokol Blosser, in the then little-known Willamette Valley, to the transfer of leadership from the first generation to the present. The themes of feminism, love, and loss are woven throughout the candidly rendered tale, which is interspersed with delicious recipes representing key moments in the author’s life.
|Publisher:||Pruett Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Susan Sokol Blosser, wine industry pioneer, community leader, environmental advocate, and author, is a contemporary Oregon icon. When women were rarely decision makers in business or agriculture, Susan distinguished herself in both. Over three decades, she managed every aspect of Sokol Blosser's vineyard and winery operation. As president, she saw Sokol Blosser grow to become one of the largest and most innovative Oregon wineries, with national and international distribution. www.susansokolblosser.com
Read an Excerpt
In the last two weeks of 1970, my husband, Bill Blosser, and I each gave birth. I had our first child, Nik, and Bill closed the deal on our first piece of vineyard land. We were together in our excitement about both, but since the vineyard began as Bill's passion and I was utterly alone having Nik (fathers at that time weren't allowed in the delivery room), I think of them as one birth for each of us.
Baby Nik actually had a longer gestation period than our land purchase. The idea of a vineyard seemed to arrive out of nowhere, a bit of whimsy that took on a life of its own. We were driving our Volkswagen camper bus from Chapel Hill back to Oregon, where Bill was to use his just-awarded Master of City and Regional Planning degree to teach urban planning at Portland State University. Near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we stopped to browse at a flea market. It was Pennsylvania Dutch country, and we thought we might find an antique treasure hidden in the junk. We meandered through with the other bargain hunters and, somewhere in the midst of tables laden with wooden clocks, rusty fruit bins, and old kitchen utensils, Bill started talking about starting a vineyard. He later confessed he had been thinking about it for some time and finally had enough nerve to bring it up.
"What do you think about growing grapes?" he asked, as we bent over a particularly handsome mantel clock.
"Grow grapes?" I asked. I turned to look at him. "You mean to make wine?" His questionunexpected and unconventionalstartled me.
"Why not? I think it would be a neat thing to do." He sounded a bit defensive and I understood why. It was a wild, improbable idea.
. . . These founders of the Willamette Valley's wine industry, plus those who, like us, came shortly after stood out with their quirky individuality. Scruffy sideburns, beards, and mustaches aside, they were smart and enterprising, finding various paths to wine, discovering it as a passion and changing course to pursue it against all odds. With diverse backgrounds in engineering, music, philosophy, history, and humanities, coupled with a fierce spirit of independence, we were united in a passion for Pinot Noir. We were trying something that hadn't been done before and we eagerly shared information. The collaborative nature of the Oregon wine industry became one of its most notable features. Did any of us anticipate that our youthful adventure would create an industry that would, in one generation, add over two billion dollars to the Oregon economy? I surely didn't.
Table of Contents
Foreword Alison Sokol Blosser 7
Chapter 1 Mac & Cheese Days 15
Mac & Cheese 53
Chapter 2 A Sense of Place 55
Bill's Meatloaf à la Gascogne 81
Chapter 3 Oregon Vineyards Multiply 83
Nick's Minestrone 95
Chapter 4 Vision, Heartache, Love 98
Saag Paneer 148
Chapter 5 Understanding Sustainability 150
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Oregon Pink Shrimp, Lemon, Olive Oil, and Herbs 165
Chapter 6 Passing the Baton 167
Russ's Root Vegetable Soup 204
Chapter 7 Second Generation at the Helm 206
Caribbean Evolution 217
Chapter 8 Not Retirement, Reinvention 219
Cider-Braised Pork Tacos with Peaches, Fennel Slaw, and Cider Reduction 239
Chapter 9 Family Ties 242
Farro, Roasted Fennel, Feta & Treviso Radicchio Salad 257
Blueberry Clafoutis 259
Chapter 10 Oregon Pinot Noir Comes of Age 261
Russ's Grilled Wild Salmon 274
Chapter 11 Reflections 277
Schaum Torte 283
Chapter 12 One Final Word 285
What People are Saying About This
"Pioneering entrepreneur, visionary civic leader, occasional rabble-rouser: Susan Sokol Blosser is all this and more. She is a true Oregon icon with a voice that never fails to entertain, educate and inspire." Kerry Tymchuk, Director, Oregon Historical Society