Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in the Napa Valley

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Overview

Five million visitors a year travel to California's Napa Valley to experience the good life: to taste fine wines, eat fine food, and immerse themselves in other sophisticated pleasures while surrounded by bucolic beauty. Tourism is the world’s largest employer, and tourists today want to experience the world through all five senses. Tasting the Good Life tells the story of Napa tourism through the words of the tourists who visit and the men and women who provide the products and services they rely on. The stories of 17 people—from winemaker to vineyard manager, from celebrity chef to wait staff, from hot air balloonist to masseuse—provide extraordinary insight into this new form of tourism and its impact on an iconic American place.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Winesworld's Magazine

"An excellent book for all tourists, winery managers, and city or region planners." —Winesworld's Magazine, August, 2011

Midwest Book Review

"Tasting the Good Life is a fine study of wine and what it offers people, highly recommended." —Midwest Book Review, August 2011

Napa Valley Register

"Tasting the Good Life is an interesting and readable consideration of what tourists are doing to us—and what we think of ourselves." —Napa Valley Register, October 6, 2011

Rue Ziegler

"Opens a new chapter on California's celebrated Napa Valley...presenting
both the economic benefits to, and the negative social impacts on, those
who live and work in 'Eden'." —Rue Ziegler, California Heritage Research Group

Clay Gregory

"Even-handed and thorough....Well done!" —Clay Gregory, CEO, The Napa Valley Destination Council

Susan Jakab

"I just finished it, and am recommending it to all our friends who are interested in wine. It's a wonderful book—I learned a lot. It has everything: an interesting subject, broadly treated; good design and good editing; a sense of humor; smoothly written oral histories by pros. And, best of all, the Gmelches have written a book with intellectual heft that's accessible to the general reader." —Susan Jakab, retired editor, Johns Hopkins University

Michaela Rodeno

"Because of its natural beauty, temperate climate, and fine wines, Napa Valley is a major attraction for visitors.... This book offers a look at how wine tourism in Napa Valley developed, how it affects the local population, and what the future might hold. It is a fascinating read." —Michaela Rodeno, retired CEO, St. Supery Winery

Nelson Graburn

"This ethnography is a winner. Written by Napa Valley insiders George and Sharon Gmelch, it reveals both sides of the renowned wine tourism industry, paying attention to the visitors and to the voices of key local people. Tourism scholars and wine and food tourists alike will find it enlightening." —Nelson Graburn, University of California, Berkeley

From the Publisher
"Opens a new chapter on California's celebrated Napa Valley...presenting
both the economic benefits to, and the negative social impacts on, those
who live and work in 'Eden'." —Rue Ziegler, California Heritage Research Group

"This ethnography is a winner. Written by Napa Valley insiders George and Sharon Gmelch, it reveals both sides of the renowned wine tourism industry, paying attention to the visitors and to the voices of key local people. Tourism scholars and wine and food tourists alike will find it enlightening." —Nelson Graburn, University of California, Berkeley

"Tasting the Good Life is an interesting and readable consideration of what tourists are doing to us—and what we think of ourselves." —Napa Valley Register, October 6, 2011

"I just finished it, and am recommending it to all our friends who are interested in wine. It's a wonderful book—I learned a lot. It has everything: an interesting subject, broadly treated; good design and good editing; a sense of humor; smoothly written oral histories by pros. And, best of all, the Gmelches have written a book with intellectual heft that's accessible to the general reader." —Susan Jakab, retired editor, Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253356444
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 6/9/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

George Gmelch is Professor of Anthropology at the University of San Francisco and Union College. He is author of 11 books and numerous articles, many of which have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Psychology Today, Society, and Natural History.

Sharon Bohn Gmelch is Professor of Anthropology at the University of San Francisco and Roger Thayer Stone Professor of Anthropology atUnion College. She is author of 7 books, including Nan: The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman, The Tlingit Encounter with Photography, and Tourists and Tourism.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Tasting the Good Life
1. The Napa Valley—a Brief History
2. The Tourism of Taste
3. Consuming Place: Napa's Culinary Terroir
4. From Vine to Wine
Vineyard Foreman: Juan Martinez
Vineyard Manager: Jim Lincoln
Winemaker: Pam Starr
5. Touring and Tasting
Wine Educator: Ellen Flora
Tasting Room Consultant: Craig Root
Tasting Room Server: Jim McCullough
Salonnier: Shawn LaRue
Wine Tour Guide: Don Partier
6. Food and Fine Dining
The French Laundry: Thomas Keller
The Front of the House: Salvador Aguilara and Josefina Gonzales
Napa Valley Cooking School: Barbara Alexander
From Back to Front of the House: Edgar Bonilla
7. Napa's Other Pleasures
Wine Train: Melodie Hilton
Massage: Claude Smith
Hot Air Ballooning: Joyce Bowen
Bike Tours: Brad Dropping
Art Gallery: Paul Thoren
8. Tourism, Quality of Life, and the Future of Napa
Acknowledgments
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

Indiana University Press

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