Curl up with a vineyard garden

March 01, 1992|By Carol Olten | Carol Olten,Copley News Service

In today's hectic world, we all dream of a quiet spot, a cozy getaway or a peaceful garden where we can lock the madness away and be alone with our own thoughts and the people we love best. A book on outdoor design can help even the humblest abode achieve these fantasylike qualities.

"A Vineyard Garden: Ideas From the Earth for Growing, Cooking and Entertaining" by Molly Chappellet; Viking Studio Books; 291 pages; $40.

The Chappellets and their five children left Los Angeles and moved to California's Napa Valley more than 20 years ago to seek a richer life in a rural environment. They landed near St. Helena in a place called Pritchard Hill, where mountain meadows are spotted with ancient madrone, live oak and buckeye trees, and redtail hawks swoop overhead.

This book is about how they started their own vineyard (Chappellet Vineyard and Winery) and came to live in a long, low ranch house on the hill that became their home.

The Chappellets have devoted 100 acres to viticulture and 500 acres to vegetable and flower gardens.

The book's chapters cover a range of garden topics: the vineyard garden, the wild garden (as in woods, fields and meadows), the cultivated garden and the volunteer garden.

Molly Chappellet writes of her personal experiences with children and gardens and also presents ideas for some of her unusual signature designs for tiny landscape trees, gilded pumpkins, chandeliers made of grapes and many others.

The Chappellet winery also is known for its unusual recipes, ranging from wild blackberry sandwiches to staples such as potpies and breads. Cooking enthusiasts such as James Beard, Clint Eastwood, Craig Claiborne and Hugh Johnson have been among the guests at the Chappellets' dinner table.

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