foreword by Jamie Kennedy
A Fool and Forty Acres is Heinricks’ beautifully written account of leaving behind the rat race, slowing life down, and establishing an intimate relationship with one small parcel of land in a magical corner of Canada.
You won’t find Prince Edward County on any map of the world’s great wine regions. Yet it is to this dollop of rolling limestone in eastern Lake Ontario that Geoff Heinricks brought his young family in pursuit of a dream of creating a truly world class wine. The County, as the locals call it, is a long way from the Niagara Peninsula, and three thousand miles from Burgundy, yet Heinricks and a few hardy souls like him claim that their wines will one day rival those of the legendary French province.
A self-described 21st-century peasant, Heinricks follows the seasons in his vineyards with exquisite attention, from digging the earth, to grafting and planting the vines, to trellising and pruning, to tending the young grapes, to harvesting the fruits of his labours. Along the way, he sketches the human history of the area, the native peoples whose tools and clay shards are heaved up by the soil, and the United Empire Loyalists, whose tidy barns and farmhouses still dot the landscape today.
He also presents a cast of his colourful County neighbours: from old-school farmers to refugees like him from the city, convinced in the wisdom of producing and consuming locally the very best food and wine in harmony with the land.
Geoff Heinricks is a former contributor to Frank magazine. He has established himself as a respected winegrower in Prince Edward County and has been called “the county’s soil guru and viticultural conscience” (Tony Aspler, Toronto Star).
“An outstanding memoir.… Topping this book would be a difficult act.… How an intellectual threw his shoulder behind the plough and created a credible vineyard in the place of scrub brush is a lively and exciting tale.… Pain, loss and humiliation are strong themes in A Fool and Forty Acres, yet it is a terrifically engaging success story.– It’s the author’s knack for storytelling and his unbridled love of the challenge that make this a wonderful contribution to the growing literature of life on the land.”
–Marianne Ackerman, The Gazette (Montreal)
“This delightful book is not only a viticultural primer, but a personal memoir, local history and geographic study of a fascinating microclimate. Most of all, it’s a celebration of wine in all its myriad splendour.… The book is as informative as it is entertaining. A reader learns a great deal about wine – including its history – seemingly by accident, so accessible is Heinricks’ approach to the topic.”
–Robert Reid, The Record (Kitchener)
“If this book were a wine, it would be something sparkling but robust, full of local flavour.… Through this impressionistic tale, even a wine or vine neophyte can easily imbibe all kinds of viticultural lore and information.…Heinricks writes with deft pacing, a sense of humour and an eye for telling details.”
–Andrew Vowles, Hamilton Spectator
“Absorbing reading both from the viticultural point of view and the historical. I started to read the book and was 40 pages into it in no time at all.… I consider this a super book, and you do not need to be a wine expert to read it."
–Malcolm Anderson, The Gazette (Montreal)
“[A] deft memoir of a life given over to the grape's dominatrix demands.”
–John Allemang, Report on Business magazine
“An absorbing glimpse into the intricacies and toils of creating a vineyard from scratch. Plus a vivid, living history of Ontario's Prince Edward County, the achingly pastoral peninsula that juts into Lake Ontario just west of Kingston.… Heinricks is studious, thoughtful and forthright, with the ability to write very well.… Often I recalled the long, richly detailed pastoral works of Thomas Hardy.”
–David Lawrason, Globe and Mail
"We've never met Geoff Heinricks, but he's a hero for turning his back on the bright lights and following his heart.… Heinricks' story of trying to create a world-class vineyard out on Lake Ontario, while keeping marriage, sanity and four kids together, is a lot of fun."
“There are few books on growing grapes quite like A Fool and Forty Acres. Maybe Marq de Villiers’ The Heartbreak Grape comes close.… You really don’t have to know a floraison from a vendage to enjoy this book. It is a universal read filled with humour, intelligence, wonderfully drawn characters, and an extraordinary sense of place. And after you read it, lift a glass of superior Ontario wine in salute. It’s that good.”
–Andrew Armitage, The Sun Times (Owen Sound)