You Had Me at Pet-Nat: A Natural Wine-Soaked Memoir (Hardcover)
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It was Rachel Signer's dream to be that girl: the one smoking hand-rolled cigarettes out the windows of her 19th-century Parisian studio apartment, wearing second-hand Isabel Marant jeans and sipping a glass of Beaujolais redolent of crushed roses with a touch of horse mane. Instead she was an under-appreciated freelance journalist and waitress in New York City, frustrated at always being broke and completely miserable in love. When she tastes her first pétillant-naturel (pét-nat for short), a type of natural wine made with no additives or chemicals, it sets her on a journey of self-discovery, both deeply personal and professional, that leads her to Paris, Italy, Spain, Georgia, and finally deep into the wilds of South Australia and which forces her, in the face of her "Wildman," to ask herself the hard question: can she really handle the unconventional life she claims she wants?
Have you ever been sidetracked by something that turned into a career path? Did you ever think you were looking for a certain kind of romantic partner, but fell in love with someone wild, passionate and with a completely different life? For Signer, the discovery of natural wine became an introduction to a larger ethos and philosophy that she had long craved: one rooted in egalitarianism, diversity, organics, environmental concerns, and ancient traditions. In You Had Me at Pét-Nat, as Signer begins to truly understand these revolutionary wine producers upending the industry, their deep commitment to making their wine with integrity and with as little intervention as possible, she is smacked with the realization that unless she faces, head-on, her own issues with commitment, she will not be able to live a life that is as freewheeling, unpredictable, and singular as the wine she loves.
"I lean more toward Champagne than Pét-Nat, but Rachel Signer’s addictive memoir drew me deep into the world of natural wine and into the company of its eccentric, obsessive and hedonistic citizens. Ultimately, though, it is Signer’s personal journey, her search for love and identity, which makes this such a compelling and moving book."
—Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Bacchus and Me: Adventures in the Wine Cellar
"You Had Me at Pét-Nat was like my favorite bottle of wine; I consumed it in one sitting. Dive head-first into the natural wine world with Rachel Signer to discover why these wines will deepen your pleasure as you meet the witty oddballs who make them. This is also the story of how one woman found healing and love when she finally let go of who she thought she should be and started living fully, wildly alive, as much as the wine in her glass."
—Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable!
"An inviting coming-of-age story that, though it takes place in a world of indigenous yeast and native grapes, crown caps and biodynamic, back-to-the-earth farming, speaks to the universal yearning of anybody trying to find herself, overcome insecurities and settle on her place in the world. Ms. Signer is an engaging writer whose story will certainly make you thirsty for a bottle of natural wine and maybe even compel you to re-examine the twists and turns of your own journey."—New York Times
"Rachel’s self-discovery story takes the reader through the Loire Valley, Paris, the Republic of Georgia, Sardinia, and her now-home of South Australia, as she learns about both natural wine and the unconventional life she thinks she wants to lead. The tale is as riveting as Rachel herself....If you love wine, travel, sustainability, or big risks, this is the book for you."—Patrick Janelle (AGuyNamedPatrick)
“Signer… takes readers on a movable feast… In this love letter to not only natural wines but also the community and ethos that sustain them, Signer shares her wine experiences, from working in a restaurant and wine shop to wine journalism and harvesting grapes, emphasizing both the traditions and environmental impact of vineyards and wine production…Her extensive journalistic experience shines through, and readers will learn never to look at a glass of wine again without considering the people pouring their hearts into every bottle.”—Booklist
"The book is an inspiration to chase your passions."—Matador Network