The Vineyard Years: A Memoir with Recipes

The Vineyard Years: A Memoir with Recipes

by Susan Sokol Blosser


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781513260716
Publisher: Pruett Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 286
Sales rank: 1,312,351
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.

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 question—unexpected and unconventional—startled 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

Acknowledgments 11

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

From the Publisher

"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

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