Fascinating New Book on California's Wine History

Submitted by krinehart on December 8, 2015 - 6:12pm
  • Book cover of Frances Dinkelspiel's new book photo

I just finished reading Frances Dinkelspiel’s new book Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California and recommend it highly. For those thinking that California’s wine industry had its start in Sonoma and Napa Counties you’ll be in for surprise.

Another surprise for me was learning of the connection between the author’s great, great grandfather, Isaias Hellman, and Joseph T. Grace, of Santa Rosa’s Grace Brothers Brewery.

Ms. Dinkelspiel writes that in 1920, after Prohibition went into effect, the California Wine Association, with headquarters in San Francisco, split its operations in two. One company kept the property and another kept the wine. Joseph Grace then purchased the CWA name and its wine which included two barrels of 1875 Port and Angelica which came from Hellman’s Cucamonga vineyard. It’s seems more than likely that Grace then had the wine bottled. For more of the story you’ll have to read the book.

Tangled Vines has been available since October of this year and the Sonoma County Library has purchased eight copies of which seven are circulating. There are 27 holds at the moment so if you’ve read the book and would like to donate it to the Sonoma County Library I’m sure it would be welcome.

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