Vertical: Passion and Pinot on the Oregon Wine Trail showed up in my mailbox a while back. While I could not wait to dig in and read a wine book for fun after years of hardcore studying, I toyed with the idea of going back to read the first book, Sideways. I’d seen the movie, and, to be quite honest, did not love me some Miles, the main character.
Life happened, however, and I found myself on the road for three weeks. I stashed the book into a carry-on bag for the ride. Little did I know when I cracked the cover I would be the one who going for a ride. This time, I didn’t look down my nose at the sloppy character I remember Miles to be. Through the pages of the book empathy emerged and was cheering him on – even at the end.
I won’t tell you how it ends, but the events paralleled a major life event for me. There were so many times I felt Miles’s struggle while simultaneously rooting for him to find clarity on his journey, page after page, mile after mile. That whole life struggle thing aside, the laughter truly was the much-needed medicine this book solidly delivered. Snickering on the plane, giggling in bed, spitting out wine while reading in front of the fire place? Accept it. This is a book you won’t be able to read in silence without annoying folks in your vicinity.
In addition to the gift of giggles, there were its sultry, sexy and downright slutty moments. Let’s face it, wine delivers that to all of us in some form or fashion. Furthermore, the storyline also showed up with suspense, sharp turns, a healthy pile of truth with respect to the world of wine. It’s also a hard book to put down because there’s no telling what the heck is going to happen next.
Finally, just to add a cherry on the cake of a delicious piece of writing, there’s a glossary. I’ve never flipped to a glossary so much outside of a reference book in my life. But wait – there’s more: you’ll find an itinerary of bars, hotels and wineries in the back of the book, should you wish to sip along for the ride.
Many thanks to Lee and the folks at Loose Gravel Press for an unexpected gift of laughter and literary lightness when I needed it most.