Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma

Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma

by Alan Deutschman
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Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma by Alan Deutschman

When acclaimed journalist Alan Deutschman came to the California wine country as the lucky house guest of very rich friends, he was surprised to discover a raging controversy. A civil war was being fought between the Napa Valley, which epitomized elitism, prestige and wealthy excess, and the neighboring Sonoma Valley, a rag-tag bohemian enclave so stubbornly backward that rambunctious chickens wandered freely through town. But the antics really began when new-money invaders began pushing out Sonoma’s poets and painters to make way for luxury resorts and trophy houses that seemed a parody of opulence. A Tale of Two Valleys captures these stranger-than-fiction locales with the wit of a Tom Wolfe novel and uncorks the hilarious absurdities of life among the wine world’s glitterati.
Deutschman found that on the weekends the wine country was like a bunch of gracious hosts smiling upon their guests, but during the week the families feuded with each other and their neighbors like the Hatfields and McCoys. Napa was a comically exclusive club where the super-rich fought desperately to get in. Sonoma’s colorful free spirits and iconoclasts were wary of their bohemia becoming the next playground for the rapacious elite. So, led by a former taxicab driver and wine-grape picker, a cheese merchant, and an artist who lived in a barn surrounded by wild peacocks, they formed a populist revolt to seize power and repel the rich invaders.
Deutschman’s cast of characters brims with eccentrics, egomaniacs, and a mysterious man in black who crashed the elegant Napa Valley Wine Auction before proceeding to pay a half-million dollars for a single bottle. What develops is nothing less than a battle for the good life, a clash between old and new, the struggle for the soul of one of America’s last bits of paradise. A dishy glimpse behind the scenes of a West Coast wonderland, A Tale of Two Valleys makes for intoxicating reading.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767914604
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/08/2003
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,124,800
File size: 404 KB

About the Author

Alan Deutschman has been writing for top magazines since 1988. He has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, GQ, and New York Magazine, and he was the Silicon Valley correspondent for Fortune. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal and Business Week bestseller, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. He lives in San Francisco.

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Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DrZeus More than 1 year ago
A fairly interesting tale of Sonoma and Napa valleys with an emphasis on how snooty Napa was and how the hippy folks in Sonoma avoided becoming just like them. A little too partisan to be really enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two things struck me about the book. First, the eccentric characters were not unlike those that one runs into routinely in a venue I'm more familiar with--small town deep south. Though flavored of California, of wine country, and of blue-state sensibilities, dress any one of the Sonomans in a blue sports coat and khakis and stick a bourbon-and-coke in his hand and you have yourself an everyday southerner of some stripe. Rich, poor, pretentious, humble, genuine, phony, romantic, hateful, kind, any of these just so long as slightly eccentric-cum-affected. Secondly, I noted a similarity in the characters' efforts to find transcendent meaning by pursuing pastimes with literal religious fervor. Wine, wine making, environmentalism, green space preservation, leisure--all find their place as the god of some Sonoman who otherwise found deity deceased in college and liked it that way, or so he thought. In parallel, take a less than rare southerner and find him worshiping on the gridiron any given Saturday or gleaning metaphysical truth from a blues man in a juke joint and you'll see the reverse image of your friendly Sonoman. I thought the book was well written and, intentionally or no, painted a clear picture of postmodern man's failure to find meaning. No idol satisfies, no passion fulfills, and A Tale of Two Valleys depicts that nicely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know several people within this tale and I find the reality far from what is portrayed. It's hard to believe that the author did not do his homework when writing this book. However, it was well written but the true character it is not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fast read that introduces you to some intriguing characters. I think it is particularly interesting for someone who is familiar with Napa and Sonoma. It makes you want to take a drive to the CA wine country to check out the locales discussed. I felt that Deutschman fluttered around like a butterfly from one topic to another almost aimlessly at times. I yearned for more depth. I don't think this book lives up to all the hype it got--nevertheless it is a worthy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A most enjoyable read!! Makes me want to re-visit wine country-Sonoma and Nappa- and feel like an insider!