Napa and Sonoma Feature


Best Books and Films



Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California's Wine Country (2010), by Michael Chiarello. The Food Network star's book takes its name and inspiration from his southern Italian-style Yountville restaurant.

Bouchon Bakery (2012), by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. The legendary Keller and his executive pastry chef share recipes that made Yountville's Bouchon Bakery an instant hit.

The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook: Celebrating Wine, Food, and Friends in the Napa Valley (2011), by Dolores and Jack Cakebread. This book collects 25 years' worth of recipes from the authors' annual cooking workshops.

The Essential Thomas Keller: The French Laundry Cookbook & Ad Hoc at Home (2010), by Thomas Keller. Recipes inspired by Keller's upscale and down-home Yountville establishments show the chef's great range.

Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country (2011), by Sondra Bernstein. The chef behind Sonoma County's two "fig" restaurants reveals her cooking secrets and adapts some of her signature dishes.

Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook (2001), by Cindy Pawlcyn and Brigid Callinan. Pawlcyn describes her iconic eatery as "a cross between a roadside rib joint and a French country restaurant." She shares recipes and expounds on her culinary philosophy.


Murder Uncorked (2005), Murder by the Glass: A Wine-Lover's Mystery (2006), and Silenced by Syrah (2007), by Michele Scott. Vineyard manager Nikki Sands is the protagonist of this light and humorous mystery series that unfolds in the Napa Valley.

Nose: A Novel (2013), by James Conaway. A fictitious Northern California wine-making region (couldn't be Napa or Sonoma, could it?) is the setting for a mystery.


The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste (2005), by Elin McCoy. Examination of the American critic's enormous influence considers the sources and worldwide impact of his wine rating system's dominance.

The Far Side of Eden: The Ongoing Saga of Napa Valley (2002), by James Conaway. Conaway's second book on the Wine Country picks up where the first (Napa, 1992) left off.

The Finest Wines of California: A Regional Guide to the Best Producers and Their Wines (2011), by Stephen Brook. Part of the World's Finest Wines series, this book profiles 90 top producers.

Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business (1999), by Robert Mondavi and Paul Chutkow. Wine tycoon Robert Mondavi tells his story.

The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty (2007), by Julia Flynn Siler. The author ruffled a lot of feathers in Napa when she published this tell-all book.

Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine (2005), by George M. Taber. The journalist who originally broke the story of the pivotal event analyzes its history and repercussions.

Matt Kramer's New California Wine: Making Sense of Napa Valley, Sonoma, Central Coast & Beyond (2004), by Matt Kramer. The Wine Spectator columnist on the development of California wine and the wine industry.

Napa Valley: The Land, the Wine, the People (2001), by Charles O'Rear. A former National Geographic photographer portrays the valley in this lush book.

The New Connoisseurs' Guidebook to California Wine and Wineries (2010), by Charles E. Olken and Joseph Furstenthal. An excellent survey of the state's main wine regions.

Sniff, Swirl & Slurp (2002), by Max Allen. This compact handbook provides guidelines on maximizing the wine-drinking experience.

When the Rivers Ran Red: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America's Wine Country (2009), by Vivienne Sosnowski. The author chronicles the devastating effect of Prohibition on Northern California winemakers.

Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and Its Wine (2003), by Charles Sullivan. The story of America's unique varietal is the story of California wine country.


Bottle Shock (2008). Filmed primarily in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, this lighthearted, fictionalized feature about the 1976 Paris tasting focuses on Calistoga's Chateau Montelena.

Mondovino (2005). Documentary filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter probes the rocky relationship between the wine industries of California and Europe.

Updated: 07-2013

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