Americans learned how to make wine successfully about two hundred years ago, after failing for more than two hundred years. Thomas Pinney takes an engaging approach to the history of American wine by telling its story through the lives of 13 people who played significant roles in building an industry that now extends to every state. While some names—such as Mondavi and Gallo—will be familiar, others are less well known. These include the wealthy Nicholas Longworth, who produced the first popular American wine; the German immigrant George Husmann, who championed the native Norton grape in Missouri and supplied rootstock to save French vineyards from phylloxera; Frank Schoonmaker, who championed the varietal concept over wines with misleading names; and Maynard Amerine, who helped make UC Davis a world-class winemaking school.
Thomas Pinney is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Pomona College. He is the author or editor of several books including the two-volume A History of Wine in America (UC Press). The second volume of this definitive wine history won the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for best book on wine, beer, or spirits.