There is one particular book which is like a love letter to Spain with regards to the Spaniards, their culture and wine. Its title is “The Winemaker” and the author is Noah Gordon. The novel retells the 19th century story of a lad, Josep Alvarez by name, who passes through different stages in his life so that he finally becomes a winemaker and finds true love. How does this happen?
Everything starts in the village of Santa Eulália which is a small grape-growing place in Northern Spain. The main character’s father grows black grapes from which he prepares very cheap and low quality vinegar. Unfortunately, the second half of the 19th century is a very “intensive” period of time in all terms. The last of the series of civil Carlist Wars takes place in Spain. Phylloxera is the plague that harms grape species and vineyards in France and to the south. It also devastates huge Catalan vineyards and “robs” people’s vocation.
Josep and a group of other innocent young farm workers from the Catalan village are involved in the assassination of Juan Prim who is a political leader and statesman of Spain. The General and the Prime Minister of that time is assassinated by wealthy and powerful men with the help of the unsuspecting lads from Santa Eulália. These events change Josep’s life at 180° and very drastically. He goes to France and works in the vineyards of a wealthy French winemaker. After several years spent there, he returns home.
Stepping in his homeland, the young man faces the reality. His father is dead and his elder brother Donat is already an heir of the family vineyards. The big brother doesn’t possess the inherited and inner feeling of being a winemaker and that’s the reason why he tries to get rid of his father’s lands. Having come back just on time, Josep makes his best to prevent all this and his inner love for agricultural life makes him do business with his brother. He starts almost from scratch and step-by-step he turns into an inspire vintner and a famous winemaker who has managed to fight phylloxera. But this is not the end of the story because the young man finds true love and makes a happy family.