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.

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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