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

PDF, $20.99 (US $20.99) (CA $27.99)

ISBN 9781569761687

Rights: US, CA & MX

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2015)


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James Beard Book Award Nominee 2016 Readable Feast Winner 2016 From the author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution comes the triumphant tale of how America belted France from atop its centuries-old pedestal as the world's top wine-producing and wine-drinking nation.   Until the mid-1970s, most American wine was far from fine. Instead, it was fortified and sweet, and came from grape varieties prized less for their taste than for their ability to ferment fast. Even in big cities, a bottle of domestically made Chardonnay or Merlot was hard to come by—and most Americans thought wine like that was for the wealthy anyway, not for them.   Then a series of game-changing events and a group of plucky entrepreneurs transformed everything forever. Within a generation, America would stand unquestionably at the world vanguard of wine, reversing centuries of Eurocentrism and dominating the Field. This change spawned hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in sales. European vintners found themselves altering centuries-old recipes and techniques to cater to these newly ascendant, free-spending tastes. The most popular fine wines worldwide became big, powerful, and loud—American, in other words.  American Wine tells that story. All the big players and milestones are here, with never-before-told details and analyses based on fresh interviews. Written in a fast-moving, engaging style free of wine jargon, American Wine is the first of its kind: a book focused solely on the rise of fine wine in the United States since the early 1960s, in California and elsewhere, and how that rise altered the way the world drinks—for better or worse.


"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. . . . AmericanWine 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.