A Moveable Thirst: Tales and Tastes from a Season in Napa Wine Country

Overview

A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting rooms

Hank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of a year. The result is A Moveable Thirst–an engaging, often hilarious book that’s one part Sideways, one ...

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Overview

A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting rooms

Hank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of a year. The result is A Moveable Thirst–an engaging, often hilarious book that’s one part Sideways, one part Frommer’s. The first part recounts their uproarious adventures on the road as Rick learns to sniff and spit like a true oenophile (but never stops asking stupid questions). The second part offers the most complete and detailed guide ever published to Napa’s wine rooms. For wine lovers and the more than 5 million people who visit Napa every year, A Moveable Thirst is a great read and an indispensable guide.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

There are 141 wine tasting rooms open to the public in California's Napa Valley, and Kushman, the TV columnist for the Sacramento Bee, decided he was going to visit them all with Beal, an executive wine buyer for a supermarket chain, offering his expert perspective. Both men are listed as coauthors, but it's Kushman alone who narrates their tours. He offers plenty of engaging vignettes, along with practical advice—don't wear white if you haven't gotten the hang of spitting yet—and accessible mini-lectures on subjects ranging from the history of white Zinfandel to the proper technique for fermenting wines in oak barrels. The stories, originally published as a series of newspaper columns, are consistently upbeat, reveling in Napa's image as "the heartbeat of American winemaking," and even Kushman marvels at how polite everyone at the wineries is during their visits. The generous spirit extends to the detailed tasting room guide that follows the main narrative, where about the worst they'll say is that the service in a popular place gets slow during busy hours. So the ratings won't tell tourists if one tasting room is better than another, but they do offer a workable idea of what to expect at each venue. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471793861
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/30/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

HANK BEAL is a wine pro who's won medals at the California Wine Tasting Championships. As Executive Wine Buyer for a California supermarket chain, Nugget Market, he buys over 1 million bottles of wine a year.

RICK KUSHMAN enjoys wine but doesn't know much about it. He's not afraid to ask questions. When not in Napa, he's a nationally syndicated television columnist for the Sacramento Bee.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

A Season in Napa Valley.

One: Downtown Napa.

Two: Oak Knoll District.

Three: Carneros.

Four: Yountville/Stags Leap.

Five: Oakville.

Six: Chiles Valley and Pope Valley.

Seven: Rutherford.

Eight: St. Helena.

Nine: North Valley.

Ten: The Mayacamas Mountains.

Eleven: Calistoga.

The Tasting Rooms of Napa Valley.

Tips for Wine Tasting.

Downtown Napa Tasting Rooms.

Oak Knoll District Tasting Rooms.

Carneros Tasting Rooms.

Yountville/Stags Leap Tasting Rooms.

Oakville Tasting Rooms.

Chiles Valley and Pope Valley Tasting Rooms.

Rutherford Tasting Rooms.

St. Helena Tasting Rooms.

North Valley Tasting Rooms.

Mayacamas Mountains Tasting Rooms.

Calistoga Tasting Rooms.

Tasting Room Index.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 24, 2008

    Unique and Useful guide to Napa Valley

    The first half of this book (about 200 pages) is a collection of essays about the authors' visits to all 141 "public" wine tasting rooms in the Napa Valley. It's often very funny, for either a beginner or more veteran person. And it includes some fascinating stories - for instance, about the "glass tasting" at Franciscan! It is always well written, and never pompous. The authors - one a big-deal wine pro - clearly feel that wine is supposed to be fun, and that it should taste good. They have a clear love of people who left other lives to enter the strange, rare world of wine, and make bocce ball their national sport. <BR/><BR/>For these guys, a "public" tasting room is one you can get into without making an appointment well in advance - many rooms require an appointment, but let you make it as you walk in the door, and your appointment is now. Tasting rooms also include places that are pure tasting rooms, for instance in the city of Napa ("Napa Town" to the locals).<BR/><BR/>The second part is a detailed listing and description with hours, prices, etc., of each of the 141 tasting rooms, organized geographically. Very useful, current as of roughly 2007, and some things will be subject to change. You will be surprised to see which rooms have no tasting charge! I was, and I'm an old pro at wine tasting.<BR/><BR/>The downside: this book covers ONLY the Napa Valley, and will eventually grow dated.<BR/><BR/>Rick Steves, on his radio program, told Arthur Frommer that there are no great travel writers today doing guide books. Frommer, of course, laughed and told him there was Rick Steves - but Steves said there was no one else. Maybe this book, with it's different structure, fun attitude, and great stories, plus standard guidebook type info, hints at the future of travel books. Frommer's Europe on $5/Day broke the mold and made a new one half a century back. <BR/><BR/>There's nothing else like this on the market.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2010

    A great read!

    I found it amusing and informative. While a tad out of date, much of the information is still pertinent. Rick Kushman is a lot like me - someone who enjoys wine, doesn't know a lot about it, and isn't a snob about it. There were a couple of places where I actually laughed out loud when reading it. How can you go wrong with a book like that?

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    Posted June 3, 2009

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    Posted January 29, 2010

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