Alibi Bookshop July Book Club: Tangled Vines

Alibi Bookshop July Book Club: Tangled Vines

Update: The author, Frances Dinkelspiel, will be joining us! It’s going to be a fantastic online event!

In July we’re staying local! Please join us for this true crime thriller set in Vallejo, “Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California” by Frances Dinkelspiel. So pour yourself a glass and get ready to dish and discuss!

On October 12, 2005, a massive fire broke out in the Wines Central wine warehouse in Vallejo, California. Within hours, the flames had destroyed 4.5 million bottles of California’s finest wine worth more than $250 million, making it the largest destruction of wine in history. The fire had been deliberately set by a passionate oenophile named Mark Anderson, a skilled con man and thief with storage space at the warehouse who needed to cover his tracks. With a propane torch and a bucket of gasoline-soaked rags, Anderson annihilated entire California vineyard libraries as well as bottles of some of the most sought-after wines in the world. Among the priceless bottles destroyed were 175 bottles of Port and Angelica from one of the oldest vineyards in California made by Frances Dinkelspiel’s great-great grandfather, Isaias Hellman, in 1875.

Sadly, Mark Anderson was not the first to harm the industry. The history of the California wine trade, dating back to the 19th Century, is a story of vineyards with dark and bloody pasts, tales of rich men, strangling monopolies, the brutal enslavement of vineyard workers and murder. Five of the wine trade murders were associated with Isaias Hellman’s vineyard in Rancho Cucamonga beginning with the killing of John Rains who owned the land at the time. He was shot several times, dragged from a wagon and left off the main road for the coyotes to feed on.

In her book, Frances Dinkelspiel looks beneath the casually elegant veneer of California’s wine regions to find the obsession, greed and violence lying in wait. Few people sipping a fine California Cabernet can even guess at the Tangled Vines where its life began.

A New York Times Bestseller
A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
A Best Book for Wine Lovers – Wall Street Journal
One of the Best Wine Books of 2015 – Food & Wine
Finalist for Best Nonfiction Book – Northern California Independent Booksellers
Finalist for a Northern California Book Award

“From its explosive prologue to the very last sentence, Frances Dinkelspiel has written an utterly riveting true crime book… Unlike… the wine collectors in Tangled Vines, I cannot taste ‘the earth, the sun, the sky, and the steady hand of the winemaker in that glass.’ But I know a spectacular book when I read one.” – The Los Angeles Book Review

Local pickup available, or online:

Karen Finlay is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Alibi Bookshop Book Club: Tangled Vines
Time: Aug 2, 2020 03:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 834 4126 7874
Password: 044502
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Date(s) - Sun, Aug 2, 2020
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm


Virtual Online Event
Anywhere With Internet,  


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  • Categories


    Crime, History, Vallejo, Wine


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