From the hills of Napa to the mountain slopes of Piedmont, writers Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine went in search of great wine and famous people who are also winemakers. Their astonishing trip, the wines they tasted, and the incredible men and women they met are recounted in loving and often humorous detail in this fully illustrated and eminently readable new book, Celebrity Vineyards.
In the past few years, helming a winery has become more and more popular among the rich and famous. But how much involvement in the actual process of making that wine did those celebrities actually have? What was it like to get into winemaking after having a successful career in another field? Were they merely name endorsements or were they part of the incredibly difficult process of creating great wine from a field of grapes?
To find out, Wise and Sunshine journeyed to Northern California to interview such winemakers as B. R. Cohn, manager of the Doobie Brothers; screenwriter Robert Kamen of The Karate Kid fame; race car drivers Mario Andretti and Randy Lewis; filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola; legendary football coach Dick Vermeil; acclaimed chef Charlie Palmer; the Walt Disney family; and representatives from the estates of former TV actors Raymond Burr and Fess Parker. In Canada’s Niagara Wine Valley, they discovered the wine estates of actor Dan Aykroyd and hockey great Wayne Gretzky. And in the hills of Tuscany, they tasted the wines of race car driver Jarno Trulli, adult-film star Natalie Oliveros (known professionally as Savanna Samson), and world-renowned composer Ludovico Einaudi. Their last visit was to the hills of Spain, where they toured Anta Banderas, the winery of Antonio Banderas. Finally, the writers include a tribute to America’s very first vintner, Thomas Jefferson, whose Monticello estate is still producing wine from the grapes that the third president of the United States planted more than 200 years ago.
Written for fans of wine, travel, and the rich and famous, Celebrity Vineyards is a fascinating journey into a world that, for most of us, is only a dream. But what an amazing dream it is! Here are artists and entrepreneurs, dreamers and businesspeople who share a love of wine, a respect for the grape, and the joy of creating something amazing out of the land. Like a great glass of wine, these people will touch your heart and stay in your memory. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or can barely taste the difference between red and rosé, Celebrity Vineyards will delight, charm, and educate your palate.