When I heard that St. Catharines resident Larry Horne had penned a book recounting his experiences with wine, I had one thought — who better to capture the infectious hold this ancient beverage can have on one’s life.
I first met Horne, pictured above at a local Niagara restaurant sharing a beer, after he had left a 30-year career in broadcasting to help start up Calamus Estate Winery in Jordan. While sales manager at Calamus, Horne would often contact me and ask to meet at a local restaurant where he would slide me a brown-bagged bottle for prospective review. It was no real surprise then that when Horne revealed to me that he had written a memoir of his affair with wine, he asked me if I would give it a read.
In his book, Besotted: My Love Affair with Wine, Horne takes readers on a whirlwind journey to some of the world’s best winemaking regions. Interspersed with amusing stories of his early days of amateur winemaking, wine club gatherings, blind tastings, and accounts of a fledgling Niagara wine industry, the book is an easy read — just 96 pages — and is as, well, laid back as the author himself.
Readers of the book will learn that Horne’s affair with wine has deep roots, laid down over 30 plus years. Accompanied by Alice Bannon, his wife of 40 years, Horne shares memorable experiences — some good, some not so good, but always entertaining — of their visits to California, France, Germany, Italy and more. By the way, that’s Alice’s artwork on the label. The book will be most appreciated by wine lovers with a penchant for travel, potential wine collectors, and just about anyone with an profound interest in wine. Chapter five introduces readers to the trials, tribulations, and, most importantly, the cost of collecting and storing wine.
Besotted also gives readers a peek into Horne’s values. He writes fondly of the many friendships forged during tastings at home and abroad and over a glass, or more, some set in idyllic surroundings. After reading his travel accounts in chapter six, you may find yourself yearning to follow in Horne’s wine-stained footsteps.
Horne pays homage to winemakers, winery owners, writers, sommeliers, advocates and just about anyone in the business of wine who has crossed his path and left a lasting impression.
What I like most about this book is that it is a concise, light-hearted account of the many facets of a life in which wine has played a pivotal role — a book that many wine lovers and those in the industry will easily relate to.
Besotted: My Love Affair with Wine
Author: Larry Horne
Published by Sonderho Press
Price: $20 (plus shipping, if applicable)
Available at Barnes and Noble, Indigo and Amazon or by order from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org