Recommended Books and Films for North Idaho Reads 2015

North Idaho Reads 2015 Theme: Wine Stories
Growing grapes and creating wine are the focus of North Idaho Reads (NIR) for 2015.
NIR is a cooperative effort involving multiple libraries, businesses, and other groups to promote reading by selecting a particular book, or collection of books based on a theme, and developing related programs for the readers.
The centerpiece of NIR’s activities this year is “Idaho Wine Country,” a nonfiction book by writer Alan Minskoff and photographer Paul Hosefros.
But other fiction and nonfiction books examining viniculture in the U.S. and Europe are also recommended. And include:

North Idaho Reads“Idaho Wine Country” – Writer Alan Minskoff and photographer Paul Hosefros took to the back roads of Idaho for 15 months, interviewing and photographing more than 50 winemakers and grape growers and documenting all stages of grape and wine production. Their book, the first full-length exploration of the state’s emerging wine industry, chronicles an enterprise on the verge of discovery. Alan Minskoff will attend three special programs during October 2015. To obtain a copy for signing please preorder copies through The Well Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, 208-215-2265, or check with your local bookstore.

“Blackberry Wine” –  JoAnne Harris,  the author of “Chocolat,” wrote this romance. As a boy, writer Jay Mackintosh spent three golden summers in the ramshackle home of “Jackapple Joe” Cox. A lonely child, he found solace in Old Joe’s simple wisdom and folk charms. The magic was lost, however, when Joe disappeared without warning one fall. Years later, Jay’s life is stalled with regret and ennui. His bestselling novel, “Jackapple Joe,” was published 10 years earlier and he has written nothing since. Impulsively, he decides to leave his urban life in London and, sight unseen, purchases a farmhouse in the remote French village of Lansquenet. There, in that strange and yet strangely familiar place, Jay hopes to re-create the magic of those golden childhood summers. And while the spirit of Joe is calling to him, it is actually a similarly haunted, reclusive woman who will ultimately help Jay find himself again.

“Shadows in the Vineyard” –  Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romanée-Conti, Burgundy’s finest and most expensive wine.  In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison – a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France.

“Wine and War” – In 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and the German army almost immediately began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, wine makers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their heroism has remained largely unknown until now. “Wine and War,” by Donald and Petie Kladstrup, tells the alternately thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious and often daring measures to save their finest and most precious crops and bottles as the Germans closed in one them.

“The Billionaire’s Vinegar” – It was the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. In 1985, at a heated auction by Christie’s of London, a 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux —unearthed in a Paris cellar and supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson — went for $156,000 to a member of the Forbes family. The discoverer of the bottle was Hardy Rodenstock, a pop-band manager turned wine collector with a knack for finding extremely old and exquisite wines. But rumors about the bottle soon arose. Why wouldn’t Rodenstock reveal the exact location where it had been found? Was it part of a smuggled Nazi hoard? Or did his reticence conceal an even darker secret? Pursuing the story from London to Zurich to Munich and beyond, author Benjamin Wallace offers a mesmerizing history of wine and of Jefferson’s wine-soaked days in France. Suspenseful, witty, and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries.
“Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age” – Wine connoisseur Joel Butler teamed up with biblical historian Randall Heskett for a remarkable adventure that travels the biblical wine trail in order to understand what kinds of wines people were drinking 2,000 to 3,500 years ago. Along the way, they discover the origins of wine, unpack the myth of Shiraz, and learn the secrets of how wine infiltrated the biblical world. This fascinating narrative is full of astounding facts that any wine lover can take to their next tasting, including the myths of the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, and Jewish wine gods, the emergence of kosher wine, as well as the use of wine in sacrifices and other rites. It will also take a close a look at contemporary modern wines made with ancient techniques, and guide the reader to experience the wines Noah (the first wine maker!) Abraham, Moses and Jesus drank.

“Bottle Shock” – Paris-based wine expert Steven Spurrier heads to California in search of cheap wine that he can use for a blind taste test in the French capital. Stumbling upon the Napa Valley, the stuck-up Englishman is shocked to discover a winery turning out top-notch chardonnay. Determined to make a name for himself, he sets about getting the booze back to Paris. Directed by Randall Miller, who also wrote the screenplay along with Jody Savin and Ross Schwartz.Stars Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, and Rachael Taylor. Released in 2008 by Freestyle Releasing and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (DVD). Rated PG-13.

“A Good Year” – Failed London banker Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) inherits his uncle’s (Albert Finney) vineyard in Provence, where he spent many childhood holidays. Upon his arrival, he meets a woman from California who tells Max she is his long-lost cousin and that the property is hers. Based on the book “A Good Year” by Peter Mayle. Directed and produced by Ridley Scott. Screenplay by Marc Klein. Released in 2006. Distributed by 20th Century Fox.