Book Reviews

Book Review: Tangled Vines

On October 12, 2005, a massive fire broke out in the Wines Central wine warehouse in Vallejo, California.

Within hours, the fire destroyed close to five million bottles of fine wine worth more than $ 250 million. This is the largest destruction by fire in the history of wine. Many famous Napa Valley wineries, rich collectors, along with wine clubs, stored their wines in the warehouse.

The fire had been deliberately set by a passionate oenophile named Mark Anderson, who has a degree in law, worked in Japan and speaks fluent Japanese. He dabbled in wine storage, and sold his clients wines to generate cash flows for his lavish and extravagant life style.

Among priceless bottles destroyed, were 175 bottles of “port and Angelica” bottles from one of the oldest wineries of the state in Cucamonga County founded 1875. Rancho Cucamonga was one of the biggest California vineyards in the 19th century when Napa Valley residents never dreamed of producing wine or growing grapes.

Frances Dinkelspiel researched this narrative meticulously. The reader will understand how California’s viticulture started, how it evolved and what happened during the end of the 19th century up to be beginning of the 21st.

The story is told engagingly, brings to life the transformation of California into the state with the strongest and most diversified economy in the U.S.A., portraying outside personalities that history forgot. Today, the wine industry contributes $ 28 billion to California’s GDP. Other important contributors are agriculture, software and software development.

Tangled Vines is an excellent book that compels the reader to turn page after page.

Highly recommended.

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