I am delighted to announce that the city of Whittier in Los Angeles County has selected Tangled Vines as its Whittier Reads selection for 2017. (As has the city of Benicia, but more on that later.) I will be delivering a lecture on April 7 and then attend a dinner put on by the Whittier Library Foundation later that evening. The Foundation is a major sponsor of the libraries. It raises about $600,000 a year to fund the library programming, which includes Whittier Reads.
I cannot tell you how honored I am to have my book selected. It means lots of new readers will pick up Tangled Vines and will discuss it at various library events. But what I am equally excited about is the programming Whittier is doing around the book.
They are bringing in the former Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Mark Anderson to talk on Monday, April 9. Steve Lapham spent years pursuing and prosecuting Anderson for his role in setting a fire in a wine warehouse in Vallejo on Oct. 12, 2005, that destroyed 4.5 million bottles of wine worth $250 million. Lapham won a conviction and Anderson is serving a 27-year sentence at Terminal Island Prison in southern California.
I am planning on attending Lapham’s talk. Even though I interviewed him extensively for the book, we spoke while Anderson’s case was still active. Although Lapham was forthright, I am sure there are facts he did not reveal. Maybe I can get him to reveal some juicy details.
On Tuesday, April 10, Paul Spizzeri, the director of the Homestead Museum, the ancestral home of the Workman and Temple families, some of the earliest white settlers of LA, will deliver a talk, “Who Killed John Rains?” For those of you who have read my book, you know Rains owned the Cucamonga Vineyard from 1858 until he was murdered in 1862. His murder was never solved although Rains and four others were killed in various fights for control of the vineyard. Spizzeri is a fine historian who specializes in the violence of early Los Angeles so I am sure this will be a fascinating talk.
There are lots of other excellent events that connect to wine and Tangles Vines. Other lecturers are talking about the history of wine in California. There will be a number of wine-connected films, including “Bottle Shock,” “A Year in Burgundy” and “Somm.” There will be a dinner with five courses and a chef demonstrating how to cook with wine. There will be a guided tour of Mission San Gabriel, which grew more grapes than any other mission.
Please join me in Whittier. Here is a listing of all the events.