Posted by: montclairlibrary | April 26, 2016

Wine, history and mystery

Books about the world of wine, a list by the Friends of Montclair Library

Next week (Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30pm), author Frances Dinkelspiel will be at Montclair Library to discuss her book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California.

Judging by its literature, the world of wine is full of colorful characters and some serious intrigue. Here are eight books available through OPL that explore history, mystery, personalities and places through the lens of wine.

(And since we have a workshop this Saturday on using e-books, audiobooks and other electronic media available from the library, I’ve included links to the electronic versions of these books when available.)

Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel (338.47663 DINKELSPI) – “…rips the sunny label off the laid-back California wine trade to show the violence present in every glass of Cabernet. Set against the backdrop of the bucolic Napa Valley and points south, Tangled Vines explores the history of California’s world of wine and how passion for the liquid some have called ‘the elixir of the gods’ has driven people to extremes throughout its history.” (publisher)

Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine by Maximillian Potter (E-BOOK) – “In January 2010, the proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom.” (GoodReads)

The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace (641.2223 WALLACE – not at Montclair) – “In 1985, at a heated auction by Christie’s of London, a 1787 bottle of Château Lafite Bordeaux went for $156,000. But rumors about the bottle soon arose. Why wouldn’t [its finder] reveal the exact location where it had been found? Was it part of a smuggled Nazi hoard? Or did his reticence conceal an even darker secret?” (GoodReads) Also available as an e-book.

Judgment of Paris: California Vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George M. Taber (759.409 KING) – “The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest — a blind tasting — a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France’s best.” (GoodReads) Also available as an audiobook.

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler (338.76632 SILER – not at Montclair) – “An epic, scandal-plagued story of the immigrant family that built — and then spectacularly lost — a global wine empire.” (GoodReads)

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure by Don Kladstrup, Petie Kladstrup (940.5344 KLADSTRUP – not at Montclair) – “This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them.” (GoodReads) Also available as an e-book.

The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World by Christy Campbell (634.827 CAMPBELL – not at Montclair) – “In the mid-1860s, grapevines in southeastern France inexplicably began to wither and die. Jules-Émile Planchon, a botanist from Montpellier, was sent to investigate.” (GoodReads)

A Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma by Alan Deutschman (979.418 DEUTSCHMA) – Deutschman finds “a civil war being fought between Napa Valley, which epitomized prestige and wealthy excess, and neighboring Sonoma Valley, a ragtag bohemian enclave…” (GoodReads)


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