Nick Wise and Linda Sunshine’s California Celebrity Vineyards: From Napa to Los Olivos in Search of Great Wines (The Overlook Press, June 15, 2016) provides an amazing selection from the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Kurt Russell, Mario Andretti, Yao Ming and Lillian Disney.
Whether you’ve started your foray into wine because of family traditions, the sheer challenge or simply the science behind it, you’ll soon know that it’s no easy task. Winemakers only have one chance a year to get it right; it is both an art form and a technical craft. Authors Wise and Sunshine set out to discover whether or not these celebrities have what it takes to succeed in such a challenging business and the stories behind their reasons for growing grapes are quite amazing.
One of the most unique celebrity wine-making situations comes in the form of a 7-foot 6-inch Chinese athlete. Professional basketball player Yao Ming says that his enthusiasm for wine comes from drinking wine with his father at a young age and developing a palate. He also cites his passion for Texas steaks as the beginning of his obsession once he tried some Napa Valley wines paired with red meats. Ming also wants to share these fine wines with Chinese people, since the fine wine craze took longer to catch fire in China and he’s been incredibly successful so far. When Yao Family Wines made their first appearance at a charity auction for the Special Olympics in East Asia, the inaugural bottle sold for 150,000 yuan (or $22,583)!
Not only is this an interesting book just to have on your bookshelf when you’re in the mood for some decadent wine, but if you have any plans to travel the California wine trail any time soon, this celebrity vineyard collection is one you’re going to want to reference, and maybe even use as a travel guide. And don’t forget to have a glass or two for us while you’re there!