Published: 28/01/2014
ISBN: 9781783062355
eISBN: 9781783067725
Format: Paperback/eBook



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Patrick Moon was born in Cornwall in 1953. He studied History and French at Oxford University and then went on to qualify as a solicitor. He worked for nearly twenty years as a lawyer in a large Londo... read more

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Virgile's Vineyard
A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country
by Patrick Moon

How did a region, so long notorious for mere quantity,
transform itself into one of the world’s most exciting vineyards?
And what does it take to make a great wine – even on a shoestring?

In Virgile’s Vineyard, Patrick Moon explores the world of Languedoc wine. Among the cast of characters that Patrick meets during his year of discovery is Virgile, a young local wine-maker who offers to initiate him into the mysteries of each season’s work in the fields and in the cellar. Virgile is passionately committed to perfection, even though his limited means afford him just a handful of hectares and the smallest cellar imaginable.

At the other extreme is Manu, Patrick’s dipsomaniac neighbour, a diehard traditionalist producing a private wine-lake of unspeakable rouge. With Manu as his self-appointed guide, Patrick embarks on a quest for the revolution’s leading lights – a succession of lively encounters with growers as diverse as the wines themselves – interwoven with entertaining digressions into the history of the region’s wine-making.

Meanwhile the author struggles to deal with his long-neglected French home – an unfamiliar and unpredictable world where the brambles have grown as tall as the olive trees, the water supply has just dried up and there is a ferocious animal under the roof tiles...

First published in 2003, Virgile’s Vineyard is now back by popular demand as a new and extended edition. As rich in humour as it is full of fascinating information, this book is a great read for any Francophile or wine-lover.

Praise for Virgile's Vineyard

'Patrick Moon, [with] his neglected and remote house in the Languedoc region of southern France, writes with flair... He is befriended by Virgile, a young local winemaker, who offers to teach him everything he knows about wine-making from the field to the cellar' DAILY MAIL

'There are, as there must be in this sort of book, a good bunch of locals. Unlike the usual enthusiastic refugees from the north, Moon conducts himself with a mixture of surprise and reluctance. Like the wine, everything flows richly and generously from there' SUNDAY TIMES

'Rather superior and enjoyably informative... Moon follows the progress of Virgile, a dedicated if penurious young wine-maker. Manu, a rarely sober producer of the old vinegary school, provides comic relief. Moon conveys a host of information about this fascinating corner of France and its main product' INDEPENDENT

'Full of interesting characters and a fresh view of a fast-evolving region from an outsider who loves wine and is prepared to learn why one bottle, vineyard or estate differs so dramatically from another' WINE MAGAZINE

'A crash course in wine-making and a hilarious introduction to French hospitality... The story is in turns funny, moving and instructional, with a wisdom that rises from every chapter and glassful. A delightful journey of calamity and discovery' GOOD BOOK GUIDE

'Humane, funny and quirky... The perfect antidote to Peter Mayle' PAUL LEVY

'Funny and involving... Ripened in the Languedoc sun, Moon’s witty banter flows as readily as the wine' EVERYTHING FRANCE

'An account of a year in the Languedoc, exploring its transformation to a serious wine-producing region. It’s a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the type of characters found here rather than an appraisal of the wines, but it’s all the more fun for it' DECANTER

'Beautifully written... can just as easily be savoured by teetotallers as by wine fanatics' JANCIS ROBINSON

'An entertaining account of the Languedoc's "wine revolution"' THE WEEK

'Good fun if you don’t drink, even more fun if you do' FOCUS MAGAZINE

'I became totally absorbed by its light-hearted insight into winemaking in the emerging Languedoc region... A thoroughly enjoyable read, I found it an entertaining way to become an authority on the Languedoc without leaving my armchair' BIRMINGHAM EVENING POST

'This is a book for anyone who appreciates wine and is interested in learning more about one of France’s most colourful and historic regions' THE GLOBE AND MAIL

'Sit back and quaff this tale that’s part wine guide, part travelogue and wholly enjoyable... It’s a glorious romp in which the reader may both learn something about the area of southern France and even pick up a few wine-making tips along the way. Eat your heart out Peter Mayle' WORCESTER EVENING NEWS

'The story is told with gentle humour... There's a refreshing lack of romantic embroidery, and a glimpse into the lives of some colourful locals.' Simon Woolf writing on the Tim Atkin MW website http://www.timatkin.com/articles?1287

'A delightful book that introduces you to the Languedoc – you don’t realise how much you are actually learning about the local wine, food and life as Patrick weaves the explanations and shares his discoveries in the warp and weft of his story telling.' The Wine Maestro http://www.thewinemaestro.co.uk/6575/virgiles-vineyard/

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Selina will also be interviewing me about Arrazat's Aubergines at the same time on 4 December

Selina McKenzie will be interviewing me about Virgile's Vineyard live on Talk Radio Europe at 13.40 UK time on 27 November

Together with Virgile Joly, I shall be signing copies of ‘Virgile’s Vineyard’ at a launch party for the new edition of the book to be held at the Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon in London on 30 October. The event is hosted by Naked Wines, who have purchased 10,000 copies of the book for their customers! - www.nakedwines.com
(By invitation from Naked Wines only)


Adrienne Fryer, who painted the cover images for both 'Virgile's Vineyard'and 'Arrazat's Aubergines', will be promoting all my books at the exhibition of her paintings which she is holding from 19th to 23rd October at The Old Chapel, Fore Street, Chagford, Devon.

http://www.patrickmoon.co.uk

French Entrée Magazine

Languedoc Living

The French Village Diaries, 24 March

Cherie's Place, 3 March

Brett, the Wine Maestro, 23 February

Serialised in BBB Midi Magazine, starting February 2014

Cayocosta72 Bookblog, 31 January

Recommended by BBB Magazine, December 2013

BBB Magazine, December 2013

The Omnivore Author Pitch, 29 November

Extract appears on travelmag.co.uk, 20 November

Elixir Magazine, 4 November

The story begins when Patrick moves into a property he has inherited from his Uncle. Taking a sabbatical from his regular job, he relates his experiences of living in the Languedoc during 2001. He learns about the region, its wines and winemaking, and becomes integrated with the locals. Travelling around, he visits many historical monuments and wine cellars, becoming acquainted with many of the local wines in order to stock his own cellar.

Very early on in the year, he discovers Virgile's Cave in the nearby village of St Saturnin. Virgile is just getting going on his own. He needs all the help he can get, and he and Patrick become good friends.

With a chapter on each month of the year, Patrick writes about all the stages of the winemaking process, from pruning the vines on cold winter mornings through to picking the grapes in the early autumn, fermentation and bottling. Virgile has to make many difficult decisions along the way. He is very meticulous about everything he does and comes across as a bit of a perfectionist! It's long hours and hard work, but Virgile's raw passion and determination to succeed are second to none. His motto, 'Si tu veux, tu peux', has clearly got him where he is today.

Written with wit and in a very readable style, I'd heartily recommend this highly informative and light-hearted book to all wine lovers.

by Julie Boulton


Forget the winter months - transport yourself to the sunny South of France as an Englishman spends a year in Languedoc befriending a host of eccentric and exciting characters and, in particular, helps out young Virgile who is doing all he can to produce the best wine from his small patch. You'll wish you were there, you'll wish you knew these people and, above all, you'll wish you were drinking the wine!

by Darren Bertram


I was told about this book by a wine industry friend, I really love the journey of the book the following of the seasons and the life of the characters there in. If you like wine you must read this book.

by Brian Morrison


This is a great book for any wine lover, especially those that love the Languedoc. It's engaging and easy to read and what better way to spend your evenings than reading this whilst enjoying a bottle of Virgile's wine.

by Francesca Jacklin


 

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