American Wine

American Wine
American Wine

American Wine

A Coming-of-Age Story
By Tom Acitelli


352 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Cloth, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $35.95)

ISBN 9781569761670

Rights: US, CA & MX

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2015)


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The story of how the United States came to dominate fine wine
In 1976, the bicentennial year of American Independence, the nation’s wine was an international afterthought—stylistically and commercially. Within a generation, however, the United States would stand unquestionably at the world vanguard of wine, reversing centuries of Euro-centrism and dominating the fruit of the vine so thoroughly that Europeans were forced to adopt American words to describe their own creations. In the process, it spawned a wine culture and became intertwined with a kind of aspirational living: American fine wine became a foundational element of gourmet food, reality TV, a myriad of print publications and blogs, expensive vacation packages, gift catalogues, and even the plot of an Oscar-winning movie. Using primary sources, including interviews with the major figures in the rise of American fine wine, the book traces the controversial personalities and seismic events that led to American commercial and stylistic dominance of the world’s most celebrated alcoholic beverage—a dominance that shows no signs of waning.


“A tasty combination of commercial and culinary history reflecting the maturations of the wine business and Americans' taste buds.”  —Kirkus Reviews

American Wine is a glittering panorama of the colorful, visionary people who made appreciation of fine wine an everyday pleasure in America. It is thorough, accurate, and comprehensive but written with dramatic flair.” —Larry Stone, owner, Lingua Franca Wines, and wine director, Huneeus Vintners

“It wasn’t until the 1970s that our wine industry quit making ‘domestic’ wine and began making ‘American’ wine. In that decade a generation of talented young winemakers proved themselves to be world class. . . . It was a thrilling time to be a wine lover. Tom Acitelli’s new book captures American wine at the crossroads in stop-action wordography perfectly.” —Craig “Meathead” Goldwyn, former wine critic, Chicago Tribune, and founder, International Wine Review

“Tom Acitelli tells with both color and accuracy the wonderful story of American wine after World War II and how it became a giant among world wines. His focus on the sometimes crazy people behind it all makes the book a delight to read. . . . American Wine brings them alive in an easy style that is as refreshing as a Napa sparkling wine.” —George M. Taber, author of Judgment of Paris and To Cork or Not to Cork

“As both a wine and history buff, I enjoyed American Wine immensely. In my lifetime I’ve witnessed huge advances both in the quality and perception of domestic wines, and Tom’s book puts it all in context in an entertaining and informative manner.” —Philip Greene, author of To Have and Have Another

“Told through a series of dramatic narrative snapshots, Acitelli’s book offers a vivid history of American wine’s twisty road to enological success. Truly a page-turner for oenophiles as well as for those who just enjoy tales that combine the right mix of complexity, acidity, and fruit-driven fun.” —Ian Mount, author of The Vineyard at the End of the World

"an engaging, anecdotal look at some of the characters and events that have led the United States to become the biggest consumer of wine in the world." —The New York Times Book Review

“I happily recommend [American Wine] to novice and expert alike. Great story-teller (Acitelli) meets great story (wine in America)—it’s a perfect pairing.”  —The Wine Economist

Author Biography

Tom Acitelli is the author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution. He is the founding editor of Curbed Boston and was a senior editor at the New York Observer for five years. He contributes regularly to Town & Country and has written for the New York Times, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg View,, and Redbook. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.