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Local writes winemaking memoir 


Christopher Weir of Paso Robles

Paso Robles resident Christopher Weir has written a new winemaking memoir, entitled “The Mad Crush,” that chronicles his travels from Santa Barbara to SLO, with “some detours to Paso along the way,” Weir said. The book is officially being released this week.

“The first time Bill made wine, he was buck naked…” begins “The Mad Crush,” the, “improbable but true story about the making of one great wine and the souls who paved its way over a period of 115 years—including nude grape stompers, a freethinking village potter, a California surfing legend, a reclusive winemaker, the winemaker’s ex-wife’s one-legged boyfriend, and a mysterious dead coyote.”

Along the way, “The Mad Crush” unearths a trove of serendipitous stories, all of them somehow pointing the way to a century-old vineyard that, “cuts an unlikely path through the history of winemaking in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties,” Weir said.

the mad crush

The Mad Crush starts when Bill Greenough, owner of Saucelito Canyon Vineyard in the Arroyo Grande valley, recruits author Christopher Weir to work the 1995 “crush,” which is the seasonal push to process the harvested grapes.

What ensues is a life-changing harvest season during which a “motley winery crew is challenged to make fine wine the hard way in the face of folly, adversity and even fire.”

While “The Mad Crush” revolves around the “eyebrow-raising escapades” of the 1995 crush, it ultimately tells the larger tale of a historic vineyard and the adventuresome characters who call it home.

From the planting of the vines in 1880 by an itinerant Englishman to Greenough’s 1960’s winemaking exploits in Santa Barbara’s bohemian Mountain Drive community, “The Mad Crush” is, “not just an exploration of winemaking, but also a question of destiny.”

“The Mad Crush: A Memoir of Mythic Vines and Improbable Winemaking,” is available as a trade paperback and an eBook. It is available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and other select booksellers. For more information visit

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