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Rashda Khan is the food columnist for the San Angelo Standard-Times and is the 2015 president of the San Angelo Writers’ Club. She also writes fiction as award-winning author Mina Khan.
You can find her on the following social networks:
Website/Blog: Stories by Mina Khan http://minakhanbooks.com/
Facebook Author Page www.facebook.com
Award-winning author Russell D. Kane, who shares his time between Houston and the Texas Hill Country, is a technical writer, researcher, wine blogger, and book author whose work spans three decades. His best-selling book The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine (Texas Tech University Press, 2012) provides insights and stories from the pioneers of Texas wine.
RUSSELL D. KANE
NONFICTION / FOOD AND WINE HISTORY
Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing (Images of Modern America)
January 19, 2015
Paperback, 978-1467132732, 96 pages (also available as ebook)
Reviewed by Rashda Khan for Lone Star Literary Life, 4.5.2015
If you’re a wine lover and a history buff, you’ll enjoy Texas Hill Country Wineries by Russell D. Kane. It’s a treasure trove of geeky information about the wine culture in the central Hill Country area. Since the Hill Country begins north of Austin, then meanders south to San Antonio and sweeps westward for about two hundred miles (covering around 25 counties) there’s a lot of ground for Kane to cover.
The book is more of a scrapbook than a treatise. While it is divided into chapters (mostly reflecting the different regions within the Texas Hill Country), you will not get page after page of type to sift through (except for the introduction, which is an interesting and quick read). Instead, Kane has pulled together a collection of photographs of the different wineries and vineyards in the area. I enjoyed looking through the historical and location photos more than the “posed people” photographs. Fortunately, the collection consists of a good mix.
What I enjoyed even more is reading through the captions, many of which contain intriguing, and sometimes surprising, nuggets of information. For example, I learned that the Balcones Trail, the eastern entry to the Texas Hill Country, “intersects the path of the immigrants to the region from Europe in the 1800s.”
Many of the photographs bear witness to all the different immigrant stories that are a valuable part of Texas history. They show the heritages, the fortitude, and the entrepreneurial drive that let early pioneers settle, grow, and define their new home.
I learned how Val Verde Winery, the oldest continuously operated winery in Texas, stayed “in business during the Prohibition by selling sacramental and medicinal wines and grapes for personal winemaking and from other farming activities.”
While I enjoyed the snippets of information, Texas Hill Country Wineries left me craving for more. I will definitely be looking up Kane’s other book, The Wineslinger Chronicles.
This slim volume will make for a neat addition to the collection of anyone interested in Texas wine culture. I plan to keep my review copy in our guest room for visiting family and friends to peruse. It would also serve as an interesting secondary resource for those planning a road trip through the Texas Hill Country with stops at the different wineries.
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