Overview

At the age of 47, when he a successful publishing executive and living with his wife and four children in an affluent Chicago suburb, John Shafer made the surprise announcement that he had purchased a vineyard in the Napa Valley. In 1973, he moved his family to California and, with no knowledge of winemaking, began the journey that would lead him, thirty years later, to own and operate what distinguished wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. called "one of the world’s greatest wineries." This book, narrated by ...
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Vineyard in Napa

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Overview

At the age of 47, when he a successful publishing executive and living with his wife and four children in an affluent Chicago suburb, John Shafer made the surprise announcement that he had purchased a vineyard in the Napa Valley. In 1973, he moved his family to California and, with no knowledge of winemaking, began the journey that would lead him, thirty years later, to own and operate what distinguished wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. called "one of the world’s greatest wineries." This book, narrated by Shafer’s son Doug, is a personal account of how his father turned his midlife dream into a remarkable success story.

Set against the backdrop of Napa Valley’s transformation from a rural backwater in the 1970s through its emergence today as one of the top wine regions in the world, the book begins with the winery’s shaky start and takes the reader through the father and son’s ongoing battles against killer bugs, cellar disasters, local politics, changing consumer tastes, and the volatility of nature itself. Doug Shafer tells the story of his own education, as well as Shafer Vineyards’ innovative efforts to be environmentally sustainable, its role in spearheading the designation of a Stags Leap American Viticultural Area, and how the wine industry has changed in the contemporary era of custom-crushing and hobbyist winery investors.

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Editorial Reviews

Wine Spectator

“This is also the story of the people who came to Napa Valley in the 1970s from many different walks of life, how they and a young industry came of age, overcoming disappointment, avoiding making the same mistakes twice, and facing realities - both economic and environmental - that are humbling and sobering.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520954120
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 11/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Sales rank: 696,146
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Doug Shafer is President of Shafer Vineyards. He and his father were winners of the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional."
Andy Demsky is a Napa Valley–based writer and PR consultant.
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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xv

Map of Napa Valley, 2012 xvii

Prologue 1

1 John Shafer 6

2 January 1973 17

3 A Wine Country Emerges from a Wilderness 20

4 The Pendulum Swings 25

5 Arrival-1973 27

6 Grapes 29

7 Cabernet 34

8 Grape Future 42

9 Alfonso 45

10 1976 48

11 Hillside Cabernet 54

12 Family Winery 57

13 Selling Wine 63

14 Libby 70

15 New York 72

16 Chain Saws 74

17 Napa Vintners 79

18 Arson 83

19 Trouble 88

20 January 1983 91

21 1982 Cabernet 97

22 Other Labels 100

23 Elias 103

24 Napa Valley Wine Technical Group 115

25 The Food-Wine Era 117

26 Hillside Select 124

27 The Good, the Bad, and the Very Bad 126

28 The War of the Apostrophes 131

29 The AVA 136

30 The District 141

31 The Hearing 154

32 Chardonnay 158

33 Killer Bugs 164

34 Sustainability 173

35 Identity Crisis 179

36 Down and Up Again 185

37 Sangio-what? 188

38 Identity Crisis (This Time It's Personal) 192

39 Nonstop Nineties 202

40 Syrah 205

41 Cults 210

42 El Nino 222

43 A New Millennium 226

44 Going Solar 230

45 Hospitality 234

46 Television Gets Real 238

47 The Internet 242

48 Points 246

49 The Downside 248

Postscript: Stags Leap at Last 252

Index 257

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