The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries with Mark Gudgel @ Napa County Library

Join us May 18th, 6:00 pm at the Napa County Library for an evening with author Mark Gudgel as we discuss his new book The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries.

This is an in-person event. Register on Eventbrite here.

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The Rise of Napa Valley Wines: How the Judgment of Paris Put California Wine on the Map. In 1976, the picturesque, agrarian Napa Valley was all but unknown to those who didn't live there. That changed dramatically when Steven Spurrier and Patricia Gallagher decided to host a tasting of American and French wines in Paris.


“What an incredible book! My head is spinning with the histories and lives of all those pioneers. Getting hold of land, planting, buying, selling, fighting, marrying, divorcing, falling out, making up, (or not) and battling on through prohibition, two world wars, and now climate change, wildfire and covid. It’s quite a story! A real hymn to the power of perseverance, and sometimes blind optimism. And of course, talent. The only people who seem to have entirely lost out are original inhabitants of this Garden of Eden, the Wappos, whose sad tale is repeated elsewhere in the world to be sure, but is tragic nonetheless. Gudgel has written a fabulously informative book. I now know more about the subject than I did before. I am amazed that Gudgel managed to fit so much into so relatively short a book.” -Bella Spurrier

“The Judgement of Paris was without question the most significant event that elevated Napa Valley on the world stage for wine. Mark Gudgel's The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries is the story of the pioneers, farmers, and winemakers that landed north of San Francisco starting in the mid-1800s, and persevered with grit, passion, and a vision for over hundred years to make wine to rival France, and is as intimately interesting as it is factual. Mark is an excellent storyteller and gives the reader firsthand insights into the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that made Napa Valley what it is today. To know wine and this storied history of how Napa became world-renowned is to know the Judgement of Paris.” -Barry Waitte, President, Oakville Winegrowers Association

“In The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries, Mark Gudgel has written a lively, detailed and very readable history of the development of the Napa Valley into a world-famous wine region, pivoting around the famous Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976. This sort of perspective is invaluable for anyone with an interest in wine - and it's remarkable to think of how recent some of these developments are.” -Dr. Jamie Goode, author of Wine Science, 3rd Edition


Mark Gudgel: "My interest in wine grew increasingly profound when Sonja and I took a brief honeymoon in Napa and Sonoma in 2013, visiting several producers who, unbeknownst to us at the time, were destined to become some of our lifelong favorites. Shortly thereafter, we began writing a wine blog, with me doing the writing and Sonja taking the pictures. More than one viticultural publication took notice of our work, and soon I found myself working part-time as a wine writer."

Event address: 
Napa County Library
580 Coombs St.
Napa, CA 94559
The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries: How the Judgment of Paris Put California Wine on the Map (American Palate) By Mark Gudgel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781467151856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: History Press - May 8th, 2023

A wine country odyssey.