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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Welcome to the wine country, a place of natural beauty, excellent taste, and extraordinary wealth. To the north there is Napa, a manicured playground for the rich, studded with trophy weekend homes and gourmet eateries. To the south lies Sonoma, where chickens still run free around the main plaza and residents are desperately trying to keep things simple. In this irresistibly readable book, award-winning Vanity Fair journalist Alan Deutschman does much more than report on the lifestyles of the super-rich and slightly tipsy; he offers an incisive portrait of the classic battle between purity and progress as it plays out in one of the world's most stunning settings.
It all begins when he finds himself with two sets of keys -- one to a mansion tucked away in the hills of Napa, the other to a modest bungalow in Sonoma. The former affords him access to the world of novice vintners, the nouveau riche who think nothing of dropping a few thousand dollars on dinner or, in one case, a half million on a single bottle of wine. The other set of keys draws him into a cozy circle of bohemians, a ragtag group of artists, activists, locals, and working-class folks trying to keep their beloved valley from being overrun with "McMansions" and resorts. Admirably, Deutschman tries to hang with the underdogs, but once you've tasted the fine vintages, it's hard to go back to the house red.
Blossoming with juicy gossip as well as fascinating historical research, A Tale of Two Valleys is something to savor, perhaps with a good cheese. Jessica Leigh Lebos