Book Review: The Vineyard Book by Jack Johnston (Illustrated by Moira Manion)

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The Vineyard Book, written by Jack Johnston and illustrated by Moira Manion, is described by the publisher as intended for adults to be a grape growing tutorial, but it is written more like a children’s book than anything else. Keeping this in mind, I still had trouble thinking of it as anything other than a children’s book, based on the formatting used therein.

Cover of The Vineyard Book

Cover of The Vineyard Book

The Vineyard Book takes the reader on a fun, easy, entertaining look through conventional viticulture practices from the spring, through the growing season and harvest, and wrapping up with senescence, pruning, and the following spring.

At 44 pages, and barely more than a hand full of sentences per page, this will be the quickest wine book read you’ll ever experience! The Vineyard Book is laid out just like a children’s’ book: easy to read and understand, few words, and large, entertaining illustrations.

The information provided in the book is very accurate in terms of a very basic overview of viticultural methods. Even though it looks like a book for children, technically an adult wanting to start a vineyard could read this and get a pretty solid idea of what to expect and what needs to be done during nearly every stage of the growing and dormancy phases. The Vineyard Book uses actual viticulture terms, such as “cordon”, “trellis”, “grafting”, and “pruning”, so while it’s written in a way that a child can understand, it also introduces

Illustration from The Vineyard Book

Illustration from The Vineyard Book

the correct terms instead of pussyfooting around with cutesy made-up terms that just describe the process and not the actual words.

The illustrations in the book put a smile to my face, and definitely helped tell the story in an entertaining way. Two of my favorite drawings were of a cat going to the bathroom in a post hole, and also a deer attempting to seduce a scarecrow. While the illustrations help add a certain educational assistance to the text for the children, it also provides the adults with a chuckle and a smile.

Note: this book primarily describes conventional viticulture techniques, and does not go into the realm of organic, biodynamic, or otherwise sustainable viticulture. Perhaps a follow up book is in order?

Illustration from The Vineyard Book

Illustration from The Vineyard Book

Though the book was designed for adults learning about grape growing, I think The Vineyard Book is ideally suited for children of wine lovers who have an interest in grapes, farming, or the outdoors in general. Of course, it could always make a great gag gift for the beginner grape grower with a sense of humor!





To purchase The Vineyard Book, you must contact the publisher directly, as there is no online ordering of this book. If you would like to purchase The Vineyard Book, please send a check for $23 USD payable to ACME PRESS to the following address:

P.O. Box 1702
Westminster, MD 21158

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1 comment for “Book Review: The Vineyard Book by Jack Johnston (Illustrated by Moira Manion)

  1. William Myers
    November 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Great book, I will make sure I will get the book and read it. Will let you know.

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