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From Demon to Darling

A Legal History of Wine in America

Richard Mendelson (Author), Margrit Biever Mondavi (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780520259430
June 2009
$85.00, £71.00
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Richard Mendelson brings together his expertise as both a Napa Valley lawyer and a winemaker into this accessible overview of American wine law from colonial times to the present. It is a story of fits and starts that provides a fascinating chronicle of the history of wine in the United States told through the lens of the law. From the country's early support for wine as a beverage to the moral and religious fervor that resulted in Prohibition and to the governmental controls that followed Repeal, Mendelson takes us to the present day—and to the emergence of an authentic and significant wine culture. He explains how current laws shape the wine industry in such areas as pricing and taxation, licensing, appellations, health claims and warnings, labeling, and domestic and international commerce. As he explores these and other legal and policy issues, Mendelson lucidly highlights the concerns that have made wine alternatively the demon or the darling of American society—and at the same time illuminates the ways in which lives and livelihoods are affected by the rise and fall of social movements.
List of Illustrations
Wine Is Life: A Foreword by Margrit Biever Mondavi


1. Temperance
2. National Prohibition
3. Solving Problems Past
4. Transforming Wine in American Culture

Richard Mendelson is a wine law specialist at Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty in Napa, California, and Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, where he directs the Program on Wine Law and Policy. He also owns Mendelson Wines.
“The legal machinations of wine, described here, are a hoot.”—Miami Herald
“A thorough consideration of American wine's legal history.”—SF Chronicle
“Provides the definitive background for understanding the competing legal, political, economic, and social forces shaping the ongoing evolution of America’s wine culture.”—The World Of Fine Wine
“Highly readable . . . Should be a must-read for anyone who wants to produce or sell wine in this country.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Very engaging.”—Bookforum
“A splendid volume. . . This wonderful book should be agreeable to a great many palates.”—Choice
“Highly recommended.”—Charles Ludington Law & History Review
“Illuminating, provocative. . .” A Best Book of 2009—Wine & Spirits Magazine
“An engaging style that makes learning how law and wine have intertwined throughout this country’s history an enlightening educational journey.”—Wine Spectator
“A fascinating work.”—California Grapevine
"Reflecting America's complicated and often confused cultural identity, laws have long regulated who can and cannot make, sell, distribute, purchase, and drink wine. Richard Mendelson's compelling legal history is detailed but never dry because it reveals as much about Americans' attitudes towards themselves as about their understanding of wine."—Paul Lukacs, author of American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine and The Great Wines of America

"This concise yet well-documented history of how the wine industry has fared, and ultimately triumphed, through temperance, Prohibition, and convoluted control systems makes an enjoyable read for any serious oenophile."—Philip J. Cook, author of Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, a publication of the American Library Association

Finalist in the category of Culinary History, 2010 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Awards

2009 Drink Books of the Year, Wine & Spirits Magazine

2009 OIV Award in the Vitivinicultural Law Category, International Organisation of Vine and Wine

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