Eric's most recent book, The Vintner's Apprentice, was released in 2011. Available from Amazon!

REVIEWS of The Vinter's Apprentice

Anne Hood, former sommelier at Harry’s Savoy Grill, Wilmington and now sommelier at Buckley’s Tavern, Greenville, DE, November 2012:

"I don't just like this book, I love it. Beautifully photographed, very informative, answers questions I didn't know to have. Thanks for creating it!"

Herb Englebert, long time Philadelphia wine educator and radio host who has been leading national and international wine trips for over two decades, October 29, 2012:

"Eric has written a very interesting account of numerous visits and interviews. His style is both relaxed and informative, and you end up learning quite a bit more than you imagined you would - no matter how much you already know."

Bob Levine, New Jersey wine educator and founding president of the Society of Wine Educators, September 2012:

I have been reading your book in some detail and believe it is the best, and most accessible, treatise on the whole wine industry I have ever seen. It is very different from almost all the others in that rather than tell glowing stories about various wine qualities, it describes the whole process in an interesting and very readable manner. It is both unique and wonderful.

Dan Berger, (former wine columnist for the Los Angeles Times, nationally syndicated wine columnist for Creators Syndicate, writer for Decanter, Robb Report, Cheers, Beverage Dynamic and other publications), in his weekly wine commentary “Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences,” May 10, 2012:

WINE BOOK OF THE YEAR: The Vintners’ Apprentice, by Eric Miller, Rockport Publishers($24.99): Books that reveal how to make great wine often dwell on issues that are impractical at best and boring at worst. Miller, a superb wine maker for Chaddsford Winery in Pennsylvania, has distilled the basics, then displays the results not only with handsome photos, but quality interviews with a dozen people who make wine. Result: a superb synopsis.

Carlo DeVito, author of “East Coast Wineries: A Complete Guide from Maine to Virginia” and editor of many wine books (including those by Kevin Zraly), in his blog (eastcoastwineries.blogspot.com), April 4, 2011:

In Eric Miller’s new book, readers get behind-the-scenes access to the wine world’s masters of the craft, as well as a guide to the techniques that made them so successful.

Now, this isn’t a step-by-step, …For Dummies style guide to making wine. It doesn’t have formulas and rations, etc. So you still need something like Philip Wagner’s book “Grapes into Wine” or “From Vines to Wines” to make wine properly. But you shouldn’t waste one iota of time without first reading Eric Miller’s new book. It is an instant classic on the subject of winemaking, and is easily the most current, up-to-date catalogue of all the discussions going on between the world’s winemakers today.

Miller, who has spent a life time in wine, first at his father’s side making wine in the old Caywood vineyards at Benmarl Winery, and then later on at his own Chaddsford Winery along with his wife Lee, gives advice about the art and process of winemaking, from where to plant grapes to what grapes to plant to what you can expect to achieve in the final product. Most fascinating are his many interviews with winemakers from the United States, France, Italy, South Africa, Chile, and Germany. It's not just Miller's take on things, but he garners incredible opinions and advice from winemakers the world over. These master craftsmen relate their stories and share their understanding about selecting sites and planting vineyards, about harvesting and processing grapes, about cellar work and aging wines, about how to make critical decisions and how to avoid problems.

The book is a star studded affair, chock-a-block with fascinating interviews with people like vineyard manager and consultant Lucie Morton, Peter Gago of Penfolds, Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, Adam Lee of Siduri Winery, Johannes Selbach of Weingut Sellbach-Oster, Gary Pisoni of Pisoni Vineyards, Aurelio Montes from Montes Vineyards, Pauline Vauthier of Chateau Ausone, Richard Harbich-Olsen from Bedell Cellars, and many, many more.

Eric Miller is one of the most important winemakers on the East Coast. Chaddsford has grown to become Pennsylvania’s largest winery, and Eric Miller is among a handful of East Coast United States winemakers who have achieved national acclaim and recognition. His wines have been called “enchanting” and “perfect” by Gourmet, and have been featured in Food & Wine, The New York Times, Decanter, and many other prestigious wine and food publications.
If you like wine, and want to know more about it, buy this book. If you think you might want to be a home winemaker, buy this book. If you are thinking of getting in the wine business in anyway, from owning a small boutique winery, or becoming a sommelier, or becoming a wine sales person. You need to own this book. Wonderful!

Dave McIntyre, McIntyre’s Wine Line, (dmwineline.wordpress.com), December 1, 2011:

Ever wonder how your wine got to taste the way it does? If you realize that wine is more than just fermented grape juice, or if you’ve ever toyed with the idea of trying to make wine yourself, then The Vintner’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Wine Making, Taught by the Masters, by Eric Miller (Quarry, 2011, $25) is for you.

Miller is the owner and winemaker at Chaddsford Winery in Pennsylvania, so he could write a book like this on his own authority based on his three decades of winemaking experience. Instead, he peppers the book with interviews of wine’s luminaries, such as vineyard consultant Lucie Morton and winemakers Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros and Peter Gago of Penfolds. With their insight, and terrific photographs, Miller guides us through the cycle of wine production, beginning with selecting the proper vineyard site, pruning and trellising the vines, through fermentation, aging and bottling – everything except marketing.

This is not a text, nor is it a memoir, though Miller and his interview subjects give a sense of what a winemaker’s life is like (hard work, mostly). Miller explains many of the technological tools available to the winemaker, and while he isn’t at all polemic about some of the controversial ones, he clearly favors many of the modern advances in enology. In discussing the question of using commercial versus native yeasts, for example, he clearly favors the former and the control they give the winemaker.

Miller has written an excellent primer on winemaking that should appeal to beginners and regular imbibers alike.

Hudson, Cattell, Wines & Vines magazine, October, 2011:

Eric Miller, winemaker and co-owner of Chaddsford Winery in Chadds Ford, Pa., is the author of The Vintner’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Wine Making, Taught by the Masters. What sets his book apart are 12 interviews with authorities from around the world who discuss the art and processes that go into making fine wines.

Interspersed throughout the book are autobiographical accounts of Miller’s life in wine—from his early education in Europe to working with his father, Mark Miller, at Benmarl Vineyards in New York, to the establishment of Chaddsford Winery with his wife, Lee.

Each chapter is divided into two parts: a description of some aspect of winegrowing or winemaking followed by interviews. Of the six interviews with people from the United States, three were from the East: viticulturist Lucie Morton from Virginia, Jon Held from Stone Hill Winery in Missouri and a combined interview with Richard Olsen-Harbich and Don Cavaluzzi with Raphael on Long Island.

The insights and opinions offered by those interviewed (including six people from abroad and several Californian vintners) contribute to an understanding of wine around the world. As Miller tells his readers, “You will find that they do not work with a recipe, but rather react to challenges unique to any given region and vintage.”

The Washington Post, Lifestyle, November 30, 2011:

Ever wonder how your wine got to taste the way it does? If you realize that wine is more than just fermented grape juice, or if you’ve ever toyed with the idea of trying to make wine yourself, then “The Vintner’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Wine Making, Taught by the Masters”(Quarry, 2011, $25) by Eric Miller is for you.

Miller is the owner and winemaker at Chaddsford Winery in Pennsylvania; he could write an authoritative book like this based on his three decades of experience alone. Instead, he peppers the book with interviews with luminaries such as vineyard consultant Lucie Morton and winemakers Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros and Peter Gago of Penfolds. With their insight, and terrific photographs, Miller guides us through the cycle of wine production, beginning with selecting the proper vineyard site, pruning and trellising the vines, and continuing through fermentation, aging and bottling — everything except marketing.

This is neither textbook nor memoir, though Miller and his interview subjects give a sense of what a winemaker’s life is like (hard work, mostly). Miller explains many of the technological tools available to the winemaker, and while he isn’t at all polemic about some of the controversial ones, he clearly favors many of the modern advances in enology. In discussing the use of commercial or native yeasts, for example, he clearly favors the former and the control they give the winemaker.

Denise Gardner, Pennsylvania State Viticulturist, Penn State University, (thevinetowine.blogspot.com), July 28, 2011

Wine Read: "The Vintner's Apprentice" by Eric Miller
I've recently been introduced to this book, "The Vintner's Apprentice," and I'd have to say that it's worth the buy just for the pictures! Eric Miller, winemaker at Chaddsford Winery (in the Philadelphia area, near Longwood Gardens) wrote this book together with his wife, Lee Miller. The excerpts about wine growing are incredibly catchy, and everything from planning a vineyard to actually making the wine is captured in small easy-to-read-and-understand paragraphs. "The Vintner's Apprentice" is also filled with a huge collection of unique pictures, many which were produced by my dear friend, Mark Chien.

Eric has said that he envisions this book would be a classic, must-read for all those wine students interested (or fascinated... completely enthralled even...) with wine. I would say this book is perfect for all wine lovers that want just a tad bit of extra information, not too scientific, but also a wild array of images on what wine production looks like. I found a few that were posted online through Google Images.

This book gives wine an image - not the Napa image, not the French image, not even the Australian image - but the wine image. It ensures the fact that wine is everywhere - in so many cultures, in so many forms, and in so many situations. This truly will take your breath away...

Nick Stengel, blog (masterofwinejourney.blogspot.com), August 27, 2011:

Some time ago, I took a couple of courses in air conditioning repair. My theory was to save the restaurant money by doing simple things myself instead of calling the $85/hour crew whenever a drain got clogged or an air filter needed changing. Anyway, the bulk of HVAC repair turned out to concentrate on electrical systems, and so I took a week or so to learn how to read circuit diagrams. They were fairly straightforward and easy to understand.

On the first day of actual repair, however, what I saw was anything but a simple diagram! And I suspect that phenomenais at work as I learn about viticulture (growing grapes) and enology (making wine). I am reading about five of these books at once, so as I write the reviews, take them with a grain of salt and remember this metaphor. I have no experience in actually tending vines or making wine, so what I think of as good writing and clever useful insight may well be a load of crap once you reach the crushpad.

That being said, Vintner's Apprentice was quite good and a more entertaining treatment of the subject than I have seen. It approaches the basic steps of growing grapes and turning them into wine through a series of interviews with famous and important wine people. There are many pictures. The book itself is gorgeous. It is geared towards an enthusiastic amateur lover of wine, and instead of providing knowledge, it tends to lay out the land and ask the pertinent questions without answering them. There is a good framework here for more study, it is worth checking out.

Paul Vigna, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA, March 21, 2011:

Skipped across the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail wineries on Saturday, and it looked like the warmer temps the day before brought everyone out of hibernation. We were elbowing our way in at a couple of stops, as Barrels on the Brandywine began its third weekend. Passports are on sale through the end of the month and good through weekends in April.

Having finished reading "The Vintner's Apprentice," there was no better time to get the copy autographed, so popped in at Chaddsford, where author and owner/winemaker Eric Miller was sitting behind a table signing and selling copies. He also was pouring 2005 Chambourcin out of what I assume was a double magnum, or it could have been Methuselah (eight bottles worth) or Salmanazar (12 bottles worth). Simply, it was one big-ass bottle that might take care of all your guests at the next wedding reception you're holding. Especially considering the age of the vintage, that wine was delicious.

Miller can be quite proud of one of the wine market's newest published texts. It's fun to read, a mix of personal anecdotes and a how-to guide to the entire process of growing grapes and making wine. It's broken into easy-to-digest chapters that cover everything from vineyard practices to fermentation to blending and bottling. But what raises its level are the interviews with winemakers/winery owners/etc. around the world. Nothing enriches a text more than added voices. In addition, the art is spectacular. It's a book well worth buying as a resource text or coffee table ornament, or for a friend who's interested in some aspect of wine (besides just consuming it).

Paul W. Jameson (Jameson Wine Experience), February 1, 2011:

Driving through Pennsylvania Wine Country, one encounters a number of unexceptional wines. But then one arrives at Chaddsford Winery, in the Brandywine Valley outside of Philadelphia, and one comes upon some world-class wines. How do they do it?

Eric Miller, the owner of Chaddsford, has written a book about wine making. The Vintner’s Apprentice is subtitled “An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Wine Making, Taught by the Masters,” and one approaches the book hoping that Miller will reveal some of his secrets. The Foreword by Kevin Zraly (of Windows on the World Complete Wine Course fame) suggests that this will be the go-to book for budding wine makers to “understand where to plant grapes (soil types, weather and wine conditions), what grapes to plant (Vitis vinifera, Vitis labrusca, hybrids), and what you can expect to achieve in the final product.”

Nobody who is seriously interested in starting a vineyard and/or a winery, however, would want to rely on The Vintner’s Apprentice as a primary source on how to do it. This book’s target audience is much wider—people who like wine who would like to know more about all the steps that go into making wine, while letting someone else do the growing of the grapes and the making of the wine. For this audience, the book provides a reader-friendly guide to the process, giving enough detail that one can ask intelligent questions of the pourers in the winery tasting room. In the right circumstances, this can lead to being referred to someone higher up in the winery, someone who may then open up some of the better stuff. So it’s knowledge well worth gaining, even if one is not going to start a winery.

Each section contains several pages of text, interspersed among copious, beautiful photographs with captions, and is followed by an extended interview with someone in the wine business focused on the subject of the proceeding section. For example, following the section on blending wines, Miller interviews Pauline Vauthier, winemaker at the top Saint-Émilion estate of Château Ausone, where she discusses the decisions she makes in determining the final blend of that wine and the other properties she oversees. One can only be envious of the places Miller gets to go, the people he gets to meet, and the wines he gets to drink, all in a day’s work.

If reading The Vintner’s Apprentice whets your appetite, and you find yourself deciding to give it a go making your own wine, the back of the book includes a handy list of resources, such as suppliers of winemaking supplies and equipment, vineyard supplies, grapevine nurseries, and grape and juice suppliers. Also included is a list of books dealing specifically with grape growing and wine making that should definitely be consulted before proceeding further with a wine making venture.

The Vintner’s Apprentice is a clearly-written, fun-to-read book by someone who knows much more about the subject than he reveals here. Budding winery owners should look elsewhere, but for the rest of us this is as good an introduction to the grape-growing and wine-making process as we have seen.

Roger Morris:

….in his blog for isantemagazine, discussed the book in detail but we loved his simple beginning statement “And a very good book it is.”

Beth Ceccarelli, in the online dining guide for Main Line Today, said “The work features interviews with wine masters…plus personal stories and their techniques…a fabulous gift for a wine lover, but you don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate it.”

GRUB STREET Philadelphia proclaimed that Eric “Wrote the Book on Winemaking” and said “Miller provides an inside look at his craft…from planting vineyards and harvesting grapes, to cellaring work and aging wine.”

And according to Rich Schwartzman who interviewed Eric for Chadds Ford Live, this “wine table book…can be useful for anyone from a serious winemaker to the local hobbyist who makes a few gallons per year under the sink.”

Deb Mortillaro, co-owner, Palate Partners/Dreadnought Wines, 2013 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA said: “By the way your book is fabulous. The more I read it the more I learn.”

Home | About | Photos | Activities | Events | Services
610.574.6445 | info@ericmillerwine.com