Blood From a Stone
A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead
by Adam S. McHugh
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Pub Date 11 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2022
André Simon Food and Drink Book Award Longlist
"This is the story of how wine brought me back from the dead."
Thus begins Adam McHugh's transition through the ending of one career—as a hospice chaplain and grief counselor—into the discovery of a new life in wine among the grapevines of the Santa Ynez Valley of California.
"This is the corkscrewing tale of how I got to Santa Ynez, eventually, and the questions that came up along the way," he continues. "You and I are going to take a long wine tour together on our way there, and we will make plenty of stops for a glass and some local wine history. As you will see, I reached into the old, old story of wine in order to find my new story, which begins, as so many wine love stories do, in the French countryside."
With warmth and wit, Adam tells the story of what happens when things fall apart and when where you live no longer feels like home. From the south of France to Champagne to the California central coast, the trail winds toward new life and healing through the good gifts of wine, friendship, and a sense of place. Pour a glass and join the adventure.
"Adam McHugh is one of the most effortlessly funny writers I know. In his new work, Blood from a Stone, Adam combines his wit with a tender vulnerability to tell a story as poignant as it is funny."
-Susan Cain, author of Quiet and Bittersweet
"For an avowed introvert, Adam McHugh lets it all hang out in Blood from a Stone, a very personal, soul-searching tale about a dying career, difficult divorce, and ultimately, inspiring rebirth thanks to Santa Barbara County wine country. Along the way, McHugh educates the reader in an engaging, accessible manner about the great sagas of wine, both those from Old World antiquity and more recent stories from the Santa Ynez Valley. This book should entertain wine neophytes and experts alike, or just about anyone who's pulling for the underdog."
-Matt Kettmann, author of Vines & Vision: The Winemakers of Santa Barbara County
"A sparkling delight, laced with deep and earthy emotion but ultimately finished with notes of hope and love. In Blood from a Stone, Adam McHugh gives us a cultural history of wine alongside his own story, letting us taste the cycles of grief, darkness, and joy that mark every life. With good humor and hard-won depth, he coaxes us toward the attentiveness that great wine, and great writing, can foster—and the result is nothing short of wonderful."
-Alissa Wilkinson, author of Salty: Lessons on Eating, Drinking, and Living from Revolutionary Women
"What a treat to read a wine book about something other than 'tasting notes.' Who cares whether you find that a wine smells like cherries or berries or Ethiopian coffee beans? How boring! Adam McHugh is after a more interesting game. History, religion, and his passion for one of his God's greatest gifts, for example. Page by page his wine pilgrimage, as he calls it, grows more interesting, humorous, and soulful."
-Kermit Lynch, wine importer and author of Adventures on the Wine Route
"Adam McHugh is a gifted storyteller and has created not only a wonderful tour guide through the rich history of wine but also a guidebook toward salvation and purpose from the depths of human misery and despair. As creatures with feelings, we can all relate by personal experience to his emotional love story. Anyone with an interest in wine, history, and culture will find his writing entertaining and provocative. Thank you, Adam, for baring your soul to remind us we are all pilgrims on the labyrinthine trail toward eternal and internal peace, love, and harmony; and thank you for bringing us back to the importance of humility, compassion, and sympathy in our daily living."
-Richard Sanford, winegrower Sta. Rita Hills, California