wine

Wine Is Money: How the Rich Are Changing Napa Valley’s Drink

Stu Smith and his brother, Charlie, put down a $500 option on about 200 acres of land on the slopes of Spring Mountain in 1971, eventually purchasing the property for $70,000. The views of the adjacent Napa Valley were stunning, and Smith, who had developed a passion for wine while completing his undergraduate degree in economics at Berkeley, was determined to get into the nascent California premium wine business.

Back to the Land: Richard Sanford and the Tao of Pinot Noir

Richard Sanford graduated from Berkeley in 1965, served a combat tour in Vietnam, and by 1971 found himself working from a mossy old barn near Lompoc with no plumbing or electricity.

A geographer by training, the Navy veteran was engaged in an improbable quest—transforming the barn and adjoining bean fields into a classic, Burgundian-style vineyard.

From the Spring 2018 Edibles and Potables 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.

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