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A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (The Tuscan Trilogy #2)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  488 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
In this laugh-out-loud tale, two adventurers discover that rare combination: joy and success. Candace, a painter, and Ferenc, a writer, begin a new life near the hill town of Montalcino. They restore a thirteenth-century friary, plant fifteen acres of vines, build a winery, tame a runaway tractor, excavate an Etruscan village, and battle volcanic fermenting vats, while lea ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published November 17th 2008 by Albatross (first published 2007)
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A guy's version of *Under the Tuscan Sun* -- It made me hungry and thirsty, and I loved the insights into planting a vineyard and rebuilding a centuries-old house. Witty and intelligently written.
(Then the author bio says he left Tuscany to sail the South Pacific -- If I'd worked that hard on my home, you'd have to tear me away with a pliers!)
This was a mildly entertaining account of how the Hungarian/Canadian author, who is a writer by profession, found and bought a crumbling ancient friary building in Tuscany, rebuilt it into a family home, and planted a vineyard with four different kinds of wine grapes. Pleasantly descriptive & humorous & evocative of living in Tuscany, yet it kind of lacked a soulful touch.

I was conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I was interested in the details, such as the hunt for the perfect
Karen Floyd
May 27, 2016 Karen Floyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It appealed to me on so many levels - from the home in Italy, with Italian friends, to the nitty=gritty of how to plant a vineyard on just the right soil to produce a great wine. Good wine surpasses any description. Mate is funny, self-deprecating and descriptive. Make no mistake, transforming a long-abandoned Italian monastery into a livable home and a great vineyard is very hard work, which Mate makes light of.
Readers gripe about the money the people who writ
Courtney Reynolds
A Vineyard in Tuscany has all of the requisite items for such a book--tantalizing descriptions of the local scenery and food, longer than anticipated renovations to a rambling house and a stellar end result that makes the effort worthwhile. It's an enjoyable and easy read, and the characters are very likable. I gave it three stars because it doesn't push past any expectations to be especially funny or provocative. It's an interesting account of newcomers in Tuscany which would make for a good va ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A vineyard in Tuscany

You know one of those travelling and lifestyle books, where people of fortunate circumstances and through their course of life share their enthusiasm for the newest destinations and make you jealous of the ever-changing scenery? Yeah, this is not one of them.

After finishing reading this book I feel like I’ve gained a friend in Máté. So deeply touched I was, and still am, for his adventures and the fulfillment of his life-long dreams. There were couple of moments when I was f
Oct 14, 2016 Tori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Mate's journey to find the perfect property to grow grapes and make wine. He does well in setting scenes and we get glimpses into some seemingly fascinating peoplr, but we don't get to know them well. The lack of that depth was disappointing.
Dec 14, 2016 Joshua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, 1 part home restorations, 1 part wine making, 1 part Italy, and 1 part hilarity.
Jun 17, 2009 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I'm at about the middle of this book. Good points: it really is funny. If a book is supposed to be humerous then I want some pretty good laughs. One story brought me to tears (the Italian test to receive an agricultural tax credit) so I think it qualifies on this point.
Bad points: No photos or maps!! The book is about the renovation of an historic Italian estate for crying out loud. The descriptions are good and yes I can go haul out the atlas...but I'm not going to find every little town and vi
Nesrin L.
Feb 26, 2014 Nesrin L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bored people, People seeking some laughs. Easy reading lovers
Shelves: my-2-pfennig
This was the 2'nd book out of Máté's "The Tuscan Trilogy", and I am still livid about the fact, that our Public Library had this one but not the first.
I really, really dislike (read, HATE!) it whenever I read a book series out of order, basically not reading from the beginning. But I was being repeatedly reassured by one of the Ladies that this was the first part. DX
Anyway, this is an non-fictional Autobiography about land-life in sunny Tuscany and about the process of renovating a House & c
Biblioteca Lardero
Un relato amable y divertido de cómo dos neoyorquinos soñadores luchan por crear desde la nada uno de los mejores vinos del mundo en la idílica Toscana.
¿Quién no ha imaginado una vida idílica en la Toscana? Ferenc y Candace Máté parecen haberlo logrado. Pero el verdadero sueño de Ferenc es crear su propio vino. Juntos aprenderán que para conseguirlo se requiere perseverancia, buen gusto y, sobre todo, la capacidad de reírse de uno mismo. Después de una hilarante búsqueda por sinuosas carreteras,
Rachel Olsen
Aug 15, 2012 Rachel Olsen rated it really liked it
Mate is quite talented with words - this is not his first literary rodeo. Eventually, he becomes adept at Italian wine-making as well in this memoir. This book is his quest to start his own small vineyard.

If you adore all things tuscan (I tend to), you'll enjoy this charming read. It's an education in Italian countryside living and tuscan wineries. The author drinks a lot throughout the book, which I expected as much given the title. But if that sort of thing bothers you, you've been warned. Ot
Feb 09, 2010 Jeremy rated it really liked it
It's a romantic notion, to move to Italy and start a vineyard. It's a romantic notion that I've thought about more than a few times, and even discussed with my significant other. So when she found this book in a used bookstore, I was eager to read it. When I realized that it was the same Ferenc Mate who wrote the classic sailboat book, From A Bare Hull, I was even eager to read it.

Ferenc has an easy going, humorous and fun to read writing style, and I found myself at the end of the book far too
Steve Kierstead
Jan 06, 2013 Steve Kierstead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Máté carries us through the adventure of finding and purchasing a house and land in Tuscany, restoring the house and grounds, planting and tending the vineyards and making (and enjoying) the wine. Lots of lively and quirky people, lots of misdaventures along the way, with the purchase, the construction, the vines and the bubbling, fermenting wine.

And other stories thrown in for flavor: I loved, for instance, the one near the end about Candace and the glider. I was terrified throughout the second
Oct 23, 2011 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! It's such an informative and humorous account of Ferenc and his family making a big decision to sell their beloved home for something with land to start a vineyard...a dream of Ferenc's. Reading his trials and tribulations as he reconstructs his 'ruin' and learns to plant a vineyard is so entertaining it was difficult to ever put the book down! It didn't hurt that I read most of the book while in Tuscany, I must admit. And it has certainly added to my dream of movin ...more
Rachel Brean
I picked up originally because of my love for a. Tuscany and b. wine. It satisfied both but the story itself didn't keep my attention that much.

The author provided very detailed architecture and construction details that I could have done without (he restores a friary). Also, his sense of humor (Hungarian) was sometimes hard to follow.

The descriptions of the Italian countryside were very detailed and beautiful and visiting Mate's website and seeing pictures of the friary he restored (http://www
Dec 08, 2011 Rene rated it really liked it
It's definitely different than Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun. I laughed at the family dialogue. I salivated over the food. I even clutched on to my chair as the Mate's drove around the hairpin turns throughout the hills of Tuscany looking for "the" property.

Is it really that affordable to live in Italy? Or do the Mate's make that much money writing books and painting? Where can I find my own villa to renovate and live in? And the food! Thank goodness for the recipes at the end of the book.
Jun 29, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed every bit of this heartwarming, witty, memoir that describes the way in which the author and his wife were able to "make their dreams come true". The book is filled with lovable characters, and detailed descriptions of all that is necessary to convert an old 13th century friary into a new home while maintaining the magnificent details of the original. The tremendous effort needed to convert the property to a thriving and award winning vineyard is well documented. The text is filled wit ...more
Memoir by Ferenc Mate, a Hungarian who purchased 60 acres with a 13th century friary in Montelcino. In just a few years he and his wife, Candace, remodeled (an understatement) the building into a home, relocated 2000 olive trees, and planted four varieties of grapes on their way to producing award-winning wines. The writing style is delightful – full of joy, self-deprecating humor, and a solid sense of place.
Feb 01, 2016 Gus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first novel I have purchased online and I finished it in two days. Mate and

his wife moved to Tuscany and purchase a ruin in order to make their own wine.

The life of these two is a little opulent at times but you have to love the Italian way,

the food, lifestyle and romantic notion of starting your own winery. With a passion

for wine I was always going to enjoy this book. Would I read another of Mate

novels if it wasn’t about wine probably not.
Kari Macknight Dearborn
It's a joy to read a book written not only by someone who is obviously so in love with the subject matter but who can also tell a great story. I was immediately taken on the journey of building a house and winery in the hills of Brunello and I can't wait to taste the wines for myself someday. If even in a dark corner of your mind you've longed for that pastoral life among the vines, this book will both shock you into the harsh reality and have you wistfully aching for that life for yourself.
May 08, 2010 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ferenc Mate already lived in Italy, but decided to buy and renovate an old abbey. He states early in the book that he is not a wealthy man, being only a writer, but this was quite an undertaking. Even though he put a lot of his own time and sweat equity into making this happen, this was almost a complete rebuilding of a 13th century building and the installation of a vineyard on the 70 acres he acquired. So an interesting book, but there had to have bewen quite a lot of money involved.
Jun 26, 2008 Almira rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Almira by: no one
Well, I had read his first book and really enjoyed that, but this one really put me off, so I quit reading it.

I know that vineyards produce grapes, to produce wine, which most of us drink, but he kept writing about drinking so much that he was drunk frequently. I don't need to read about that, and I did not find this uproariously funny. I gave it 4 chapters before I quit, and that's 3 chapters more than normal!

Don't waste your time
Jul 14, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Vineyard in Tuscany is nice romp through the trials and tribulations of acquiring land in Italy, restoring a friary, and producing your own wine. If like romantic notions like travel, wine, etc, then you'll enjoy this book. You'll trot along to the end and realize that you too will now want your own vineyard. It's a good read, yet I found myself at the end just a bit unsatisfied that he had rushed through, what I felt, were his wine-making adventures.
Yolanda Cortez
Me gustó mucho el libro. La manera en que describe y platica los platillos toscanos dan ganas de estar ahí para comerlos, confío en que iré un día a la Toscana y daré con esos lugares que describen ahí para disfrutar de esas comidas que solo los naturales de la región suelen conocer. Su manera de contar las cosas me gustó mucho, tiene muy buen humor y eso es importante. Y el amor que demuestra hacia lo que quire la tierra, el vino, su familia y amigos, deleita. Es muy entretenido.
Mar 25, 2011 Marilyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was my bookclub book, chosen by a winelover. We did wine tasting of noble reds which was fun. The book however, neglected to mention how this person came by so much money, so that he could hire to have an Etruscan ruin/ house/vineyard turned into a world premier one - all the while buying an apratment in Rome, so his kid to go to a good school, and a ski house in the Alps. Of yes, he also went yacthing around British Columbia. Not only would I not want to be an owner of a vineyard, but----
Debbie Howell
Jun 29, 2009 Debbie Howell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tuscany, wine, Italian food, a charming old house--the book had some great ingredients, but the result was disappointing. The author didn't win me over, didn't tell his story in a compelling way, and the book was poorly edited. There was far too much detail about the renovation of his house, and it felt like Mate was stretching the story out to fill pages. It was a cotton candy book--fluff that just dissolves when you consume it--there's not much to it, and it's not very satisfying.
Jul 28, 2015 Bess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bess by: MomIsReading
An excellent follow-up to his first, but I think my fault was in not reading it all the way through, as one would a fiction book - but rather dropping it in the middle and picking it up later. I think I would have enjoyed it much more.

That said, if you're into this kind of memoir, it's a total must.
Jun 16, 2013 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard Ference Mate a few times on Rick Steves' podcast, and enjoyed his stories about running a winery in Italy. It's certainly an enjoyable read, but I wish he had spent more time on the vineyard/wine aspect, rather than dedicating about half the book to the restoration of the house (which I am sure is interesting to many, just not why I picked up the book).
Jul 06, 2011 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cross between Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence . Terrifically funny (albeit slow at the start).

Great tale of buying a farm in Tuscany, converting it to a vineyard and winery.The books he's written must have made Mate a ton of money, because he sure spent a lot to complete this epic project. The he just goes off sailing for a year - go figure!
Jenny Gendel
Apr 06, 2011 Jenny Gendel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel-narrative
These are the favorite kinds of book, and something I dream of doing, which is being an expat, and living in another part of the world, and enjoying and writing about my experience. I don't know anything about writing but I do like to escape with the idea. I want to go out and taste his wine, and will look the next time I'm in a wine store.
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Ferenc Máté has made a career of out documenting his own quests—whether it’s restoring a Tuscan ruin, building a vineyard from scratch, or sailing the seven seas.

Born in Transylvania, he escaped at age eleven when the Hungarian revolution was crushed by Soviet tanks. He grew up in Vancouver and has lived in California, Paris, Rome, the Bahamas and New York. He has worked on a railroad extra-gang a
More about Ferenc Máté...

Other Books in the Series

The Tuscan Trilogy (4 books)
  • The Hills of Tuscany
  • The Wisdom of Tuscany: Simplicity, Security & the Good Life - Making the Tuscan Lifestyle Your Own
  • The Tuscan Trilogy: The Hills of Tuscany / A Vineyard in Tuscany / The Wisdom of Tuscany

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