A must-read for anyone interested in wine or simply in corporate greed.
I miss the days of roaming through bookstores. With ever fewer, the ones remaining seem extra special. Today I happened to wander outside of a locally owned bookstore that had a rack of books on sale outside. “Napa at Last Light” caught my eye because I grew up near Napa Valley, started going there from age 10 and developed a taste for vino that’s spanned many decades. I even had an adventurous year-long stint working in the Cosentino Winery tasting room. I say “adventurous” because it was a seismic leap to go from bellying up to the wine bar to being behind the bar.
I grabbed the book and found out that it’s about the changes of the valley over the last two decades. Hint: with the word “calamity” in the sub-head, many of them are not good.
This summary on its book jacket reeled me in:
Napans who grew up trusting in the beneficence of the “vintner” class now confront in the twenty-first century multinational corporations and their allies who have stealthily subsumed the old family landmarks and abandoned the once glorious conviction that agriculture is the highest and best use of the land. Inherent in that conviction is the sanctity of the place, threatened now by a relentless drive for profits at the expense of land, water, and even life.
But if you need more convincing, the Foreward indicates it’s a must-read for anyone interested in wine or corporate greed in America:
Wine isn’t just another example of corporate commercialism, for the traditions it represents have always stood apart. They no longer do. Napa was so blessed that its land and communities should have withstood the excesses of the system, should have survived in their own right even as others passed yin America’s ongoing maelstrom of development and greed. But it has not and best serves now as a microcosm of a country where opportunity and the ever-intensifying struggle for financial supremacy have trumped even the most sacrosanct ideas and institutions.