Appellation Napa Valley by Richard Mendelson



Thanks to a far-sighted band of creative pioneers, and thanks to a very special community intelligence and spirit, the Napa Valley has transformed itself from a sleepy, inward-looking farm and ranching enclave into one of the most prestigious and exciting wine-growing regions in the world.

In Appellation Napa Valley, the renowned wine lawyer and industry authority Richard Mendelson takes us inside the legal and commercial struggles that did so much to make the Napa Valley into what it is today. Along the way, he brings us incisive portraits of the men and women who joined hands in common cause and common spirit, igniting a revolution in American wine and food in the process.

Enlivened by exquisite maps and drawings from vineyards and cellars, plus a foreword by the celebrated French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, Appellation Napa Valley is a unique keepsake book to be savored and cherished for many years to come.


RICHARD MENDELSON brings a unique background and perspective to Appellation Napa Valley. A native Floridian, Mendelson went to Harvard and then fell in love with wine while doing post-graduate work at Oxford. From there, he immersed himself in Old World wine culture and history during a year-long apprenticeship at one of the most prestigious wineries in Burgundy. Fascinated by the crucial intersection of wine and law, Mendelson then earned his law degree from Stanford Law School and headed for what was the exciting new frontier for American wine and food: the Napa Valley. Mendelson joined Napa's leading law firm, Dickenson Peatman and Fogarty, and soon began helping vinters, grape-growers and policy makers evolve a New World system of appellations, to build Napa's emerging wine industry and at the same time build and protect the valley's agricultural and cultural wealth.

Over the years, Mendelson has earned a reputation as the preeminent wine lawyer in America. Today Mendelson directs the program on Wine Law and Policy at the U.C. Berkeley Law School, and he teaches wine law at other Bay Area universities. His previous books include From Demon to Darling: A Legal History of Wine in America, published by UC Press in 2009, Wine in America: Law and Policy, published by Wolters Kluwer in 2011, and Spirit in Metal, a book about Mendelson's work in metal sculpture, published in 2011 by Val de Grace Books.