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December 18 , 2009

The Truant From Medicine

A Memoir


The engaging, witty, fascinating memoir of one of New Zealand's most eminent neurologists and winemakers. It all began when Ivan Donaldson's girlfriend, Chris, gave him Hugo Johnson's book Wine in 1966. A light bulb went off in the mind of the talented, ambitious young doctor. A fascination with wine started when he and that girfriend, now his wife of 46 years, started making fruit wines, then wine made with table grapes from her parents' garden. Things got more serious when he was working in London in the early 1970s and they were able to head off to France in their rackety old car to tour vineyards.Things got more serious still when, in the late 1970s, he and a group of Christchurch doctors planted out Mountainview vineyard in Halswell. And things became very serious indeed when, in 1984, Ivan and Chris Donaldson bought a parcel of land in the Waipara Valley on which to start Pegasus Bay Wines.It's now one of New Zealand's best-known and most awarded small wineries, still owned and run by the family and making magnificent wine using sustainable methods. It's highly sought after in overseas markets.Somehow, in between all this Ivan Donaldson has managed to carve out an impressive medical career. This engaging memoir tells how he has integrated the two great loves of his life. It's the story of one of this country's wine pioneers but also the fascinating account of a life in medicine, spent plumbing the deep mysteries of the human brain.
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