Napa Valley

Horns, Haloes, and Heroism: The Science of Doing the Right Thing

Yesenia Guitron knew something was wrong at the bank branch where she worked. She was getting complaints from customers—many from Mexico and undocumented—that they were being charged for accounts they had never opened and were receiving debit cards they had never requested. Guitron, a personal banker at a local Wells Fargo in the Napa Valley town of St. Helena, began to realize that some of her colleagues, under intense pressure to open accounts, were doing so without customers’ knowledge.

From the Spring 2017 Virtue and Vice issue of California.

Price is Right? Drinking Premium Wine is Image Therapy—If We Know It’s Pricey

Thirty years ago, the most-prized wines in California—including Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet, Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot, Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet—sold for under $30. Opus One got attention with its shocking price of $50. Inflation since then has roughly doubled the value of money. But the cheapest of those famous wines now costs about four times as much. Heitz Martha’s Vineyard is now $200; Opus One is $225.

Uncorking Memories: Cal-Trained Chemist’s Book Traces How He Influenced Wine World

In 1958, fresh from earning a Ph.D. in agricultural chemistry at UC Berkeley, Richard Peterson took a job with E. & J. Gallo winery in Modesto. He’d previously been wooed by Pillsbury, who at the time was experimenting with the novel idea of freezing dough for ready-to-bake biscuits, and were seeking out the brightest new food scientists in the nation. But Peterson was more attracted to enology and viticulture, especially because there was so much room for improvement: American wine at the time was pretty horrible.

Avoiding a Tragic Wine Crush: Seismic Expert Urges Safer Barrel-Stacking Method

A forklift operator at Wild Horse Winery near Paso Robles was maneuvering between barrel rows in the wine cellar when suddenly the ground started to shake. The 18-foot-high stacks swayed above her and then collapsed, burying her in an avalanche of 600-pound barrels. It took rescuers over an hour to reach her, after carefully draining and removing barrels one by one.

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