Fifty years ago, the Napa Valley was a sleepy, inward-looking farm and ranching community, with two dozen wineries, very little art or music, and there was nowhere to find something exciting to eat. At that stage, only a handful of intrepid pioneers believed that the Napa Valley could one day rise up and earn a place alongside Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Tuscany as one of the great wine-producing regions of the world.

Still, with innovation, intelligence, and a unique spirit of cooperation, those intrepid pioneers built the Napa Valley into a world-renowned center of top-quality grape-growing and wine-making, and a cherished destination for wine and food lovers from all over the globe. How did they do it? What vision and principles guided their way? And what lessons does the Napa experience carry for other wine-producing communities across America and far beyond?

In these pages, Richard Mendelson answers all those questions, as he takes readers deep inside the key issues—legal, commercial, social, and environmental—that the Napa Valley pioneers wrestled with as ambitious entrepreneurs, yes, but as equally ambitious custodians of the land, soil, and natural resources on which our collective future depends. What Mendelson unfurls, from his unique insider’s perspective, is not just a riveting regional story, it is a story of America itself, working at its very best and in harmony with its most noble practices and ideals. This is a book to savor and to cherish for many years to come.