An Unlikely Vineyard
The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir
Foreword by Alice Feiring
"Not only does Deirdre Heekin take us on her own, personal path to this 'unlikely vineyard,' but she also offers us—as a vigneronne—the chance to understand something more universal: that authentic wine, with soul, can be crafted if one observes and takes care of one's terroir and vines. By choosing a most demanding yet most rewarding way of farming—the biodynamic way in Vermont—she is an inspiration both for farmers and for every wine lover who seeks in the taste of a grape a place, a landscape, a climate, a history."
—Pascaline Lepeltier, master sommelier, Rouge Tomate, New York City
An Unlikely Vineyard tells the evolutionary story of Deirdre Heekin’s farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment.
Is it possible to capture landscape in a bottle? To express its terroir, its essence of place—geology, geography, climate, and soil—as well as the skill of the winegrower?
That’s what Heekin and her chef/husband, Caleb Barber, set out to accomplish on their tiny, eight-acre hillside farm and vineyard in Vermont.
But An Unlikely Vineyard involves much more. It also presents, through the example of their farming journey and winegrowing endeavors, an impressive amount of information on how to think about almost every aspect of gardening: from composting to trellising; from cider and perry making to growing old garden roses, keeping bees, and raising livestock; from pruning (or not) to dealing naturally with pests and diseases.
Challenged by cold winters, wet summers, and other factors, Deirdre and Caleb set about to grow not only a vineyard, but an orchard of heirloom apples, pears, and plums, as well as gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, roses, and wildflowers destined for their own table and for the kitchen of their small restaurant. They wanted to create, or rediscover, a sense of place, and to grow food naturally using the philosophy and techniques gleaned from organic gardening, permaculture, and biodynamic farming.
Accompanied throughout by lush photos, this gentle narrative will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.