Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in the Napa Valley

Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in the Napa Valley


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253223272
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 06/09/2011
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

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

What People are Saying About This

Johns Hopkins University - 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.

CEO, The Napa Valley Destination Council - Clay Gregory

I applaud the Gmelchs’ even-handed and thorough approach to tackling this complex topic. . . . Tasting the Good Life does an excellent job of identifying not only the economic benefits of well-planned tourism development and defined constraint in a genuine American icon such as the Napa Valley, but it also explains clearly the benefits that are received by the residents who shape the character of this special place. Well done!

retired CEO, St. Supery Winery - 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.

University of California, Berkeley - 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.

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