Book Review The Wandering Vine

Follow a father and daughter's journey as travel along the trickle of history.
The cover of the Wandering Vine
The cover of the Wandering Vine


The story of a father and daughter and their Jewish inheritance entwined with the story of The Wandering Vine, a book that brings to aficionados more than the tall tales of a tulip glass half-filled with a ruby concoction.

With food writer Nina Caplan, one travels along the trickle of history, following the wine flowing from a broken bottle, capricious but never wayward, revelling in the pre-Caesar antiquity, quoting Strabo and D.H. Lawrence, encased now in a liquid cocoon of crafted words, Dylanisms and a field of dandelion where a grassy wall entices the wine lover to go on a journey.

The author of The Land Where Lemons Grow traces in her second book the Roman conqueror&rsquos footsteps backwards, from wind-swept Brittany, through France, riding with the Phoenicians and on Goya&rsquos turbulence, right to Etna and Vesuvius before the volcano burst&hellip Perhaps this is where it all began.

This brings to mind the mud-encrusted amphorae a friend&rsquos mother had exchanged for her gold bangle in a Naples fishing village almost a hundred years ago and ensconced lovingly in their ancestral home in a Bengal village.

For us in India, Caplan says the wine bus must begin at the Taj Mahal though, from where &ldquoOttoman architect Mimar Sinan&rsquos apprentices who designed the Taj&rdquo went back home to southern Turkey and brought back wine to medieval India. Carrying Caplan, we then keep moving west across Spain and Italy, fleeting through three DOCGs&mdashIrpinia one may have never heard of as a quality marker&mdashalways trailing the vine this time with an outstanding travel journalist declaring, &ldquothe grapes the Romans ushered across the world may be, in the end, their greatest legacy&rdquo.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller