Over a Barrel: The Rise and Fall of New York’s Taylor Wine Company
Author Thomas Pellechia undertook obvious meticulous research to write Over a Barrel. The book focuses on The Taylor Wine Company located by the Finger Lakes of New York but extends far beyond the region and this wine company. It encompasses the history of the American wine industry from its paltry beginnings in the 1870s, both in the northeast and the western states but includes a great deal of politics and business. The Taylor wines began when the family settled in Hammondsport in 1684, eventually establishing a vineyard in 1880. This was a family-run business with a father, three active sons, and two less active daughters. The winery thrived but family friction, divisions, and other disruptions threatened it early on. The winery went public in 1961 and was taken over by major companies in 1977, yet declined drastically as they didn’t keep up with the changing times. The book is very detailed, almost hair splitting, and few readers would be interested in the long chapters with scores and scores of names and dates. A chapter-by-chapter summary may have saved those readers. A location map is also missing. The book is only text with a gallery of twelve black-and-white historic photos.