California Vines, Wines & Pioneers (Monahan)

California Vines, Wines & Pioneers 
Sherry Monahan, 2013
The History Press
160 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781609498849

Grab your glass and take to the wine trail with food genealogist Sherry Monahan as she traces California wine roots in California's Vines, Wines & Pioneers. While cowboys and early settlers were writing the oft-told history of the Wild West, California's wine pioneers were cultivating a delicious industry.

The story begins when Franciscan missionaries planted the first grapes in Southern California in 1769. Almost a century later, news of gold drew thirsty prospectors and European immigrants to California's promise of wealth. From Old World vines sprang a robust and varied tradition of wine cultivation that overcame threats of pests and Prohibition to win global prestige. Journey with Monahan as she uncorks this vintage history and savors the stories of California's historic wineries and vineyards.

Included are over 60 wineries who are still in business and have a historical tie. **Includes 16 pp. color-photo insert** (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Where—state of Illinois, USA
Raised—state of New Jersey
Currently—lives in Raleigh, North Carolina

Sherry has written several non-fiction books on the Victorian West. Her most recent include Mrs. Earp: The Wives and Lovers of the Earp Brothers and California Vines, Wines & Pioneers. She also penned books about Tombstone, Pikes Peak and The Wicked West.

She's currently working on Ethel's Decision, which is the remarkable true story of an upper-class family who settled the rugged land of Lake County, California in the 1880s. Their motive was to gain back the money they lost in England, but these high-society aristocrats preferred cricket, boating, and acting over the chores of farming.

In addition to being an author, she calls herself the Genie with a Bottle because she traces the genealogy of food and wine. She coined the term, Winestry, and likes to say, "History never tasted so good."

You may have seen her on the History Channel in many shows, including Cowboys and Outlaws: Wyatt Earp, Lost Worlds: Sin City of the West (Deadwood), Investigating History and two of the Wild West Tech shows. She was honored with a Wrangler Award in the Western Heritage Awards for her performance in the Cowboys and Outlaws show in 2010.

She has her own column called "Frontier Fare" in (and is a contributing editor) True West magazine. Her "Frontier Fare" column is being turned into a book that will be released in 2015.

Other publications include the Tombstone Times, Tombstone Tumbleweed, Tombstone Epitaph, Arizona Highways, and other freelance works.

She's the incoming President of Western Writers of America and holds memberships in the following organizations: Women Writing the West, the Authors Guild, Wild West History Association, The James Beard Foundation, Association of Professional Genealogists, and SASS. She's also a charter member of the National Women's History Museum.

In addition to writing, she works as a marketing consultant and professional genealogist.

Sherry is also the author of history books on the North Carolina towns of Apex, Cary, and Southport. Each includes 200+ images and historical details and recollections. (From the publisher.)

Book Reviews
California Vines, Wines & Pioneers, a new history of the Golden State's wine industry that began in 1769 when Franciscan friars planted wine grapes in their first mission at San Diego. Author Sherry Monahan profiles more than 50 Old World pioneers who cultivated historic vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and other counties, explaining their contributions and taking the story up through the twin challenges of Prohibition and the Phylloxera pestilence.
Pete Basofin - Sacramento Bee

Discussion Questions
1. What wine history fact surprised you the most? Why?

2. Which winery or wineries did you know were historical? Name them.

3. Which winery or wineries were you surprised to learn were historic? Name them.

4. After reading their history, are there any brands of wine you went out and sampled? Which one(s)?

5. If you sampled "history in a bottle" did you reflect on its history? How?

6. Which recipes, if any, piqued your interest? Why?

7. Did you find yourself getting thirsty or hungry as you read the book? Discuss.

8. Do you think the author did a good job in making California’s wine history fun? Why or why not?   

9. Do you feel this book would make a good travel guide if you went to Napa or Sonoma? Why or why not?
(Questions courtesy of the author.)

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