Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California | Mechanics' Institute

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Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California
Author Frances Dinkelspiel in conversation with journalist Julia Flynn Siler

Book cover of Tangled Vines

Program is preceded by a wine tasting and reception at 6:00 p.m.

On October 12, 2005, a fire broke out in the Wines Central wine warehouse in Vallejo, California. Within hours, the flames had destroyed 4.5 million bottles of California's finest wine worth more than $250 million, the largest destruction of wine in history. The fire was deliberately set by a passionate oenophile named Mark Anderson, and among the priceless bottles destroyed were 175 bottles of Port and Angelica from one of the oldest vineyards in California made by Frances Dinkelspiel's great-great grandfather, Isaias Hellman, in 1875. Mark Anderson was not the first to harm the industry. The history of the California wine trade is a story of vineyards with dark and bloody pasts. In her new book, Frances Dinkelspiel looks beneath the casually elegant veneer of California's wine regions to find the obsession, greed, and violence lying in wait.

Frances Dinkelspiel is an award-winning journalist and the author of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California. Towers of Gold was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and named a Best Book of the Year by the Chronicle and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. She is the co-founder of the news site Berkeleyside and her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, People, San Francisco Magazine, and other venues. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Julia Flynn Siler is author of The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, which was a New York Times best seller.  She is also the author of Lost Kingdom: Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and the America’s First Imperial Adventure. She is an award-winning journalist and is a contributing writer for The Wall Street Journal.

Co-sponsored by California Historical Society.

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