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Opinion: "Why support for reparations in California should be greater."
Mercury News

Opinion: “I’m 63 and I don’t want to lose my TikTok.”
Los Angeles Times

“$250 million up in flames: The infamous crime that scarred California’s Wine Country
A 2005 arson was the biggest crime ever involving wine. Now the man responsible has died.”
San Francisco Chronicle


About Frances

Frances Dinkelspiel is an award-winning author and journalist. Her books include Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, a New York Times bestseller, and Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, about her great great grandfather, which was a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller.


Photo Credit: Kelly Sullivan

Books by Frances


Dinkelspiel weaves elements of a mystery novel with historical narrative, dissecting the personal rivalries of modern Napa while tracing the provenance of the oldest wine lost in the fire through the history of California wine. The result is the most engrossing and engaging book about Napa Valley since James Conaway's two-volume saga, "Napa" and "The Far Side of Eden."

Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post

[Dinkelspiel’s] storytelling is clear and absorbing, a reminder that no matter how much beauty and poetry we may find in the glass, for many it’s ultimately all about the money.

Eric Asimov, The New York Times

Tangled Vines... opens your eyes to the dark side of the wine industry in California and is written in such a page-turning way that if you didn’t know any better, you would think you were reading a novel.”

—Jill Zimorski on Somm TV

Towers of Gold is “carefully researched and superbly written.” … It’s “a marvelous resource, a dramatic slice of Western history and a splendid read.”

Abby Pollack, San Francisco Chronicle


Tangled Vines is “a great tale, well-told.”

—Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star News

Dinkelspiel does an excellent job of tracing Hellman’s career as a financier, and sketches in a crisp portrait the glittering San Francisco Jewish community into which he and his family ultimately settled, alongside the Haas, Lilienthal, Strauss, Zellerbach, Fleishhacker and other families of German and Alsatian origins.

—Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times


Frances Dinkelspiel is a veteran, award-winning journalist who co-founded Berkeleyside and its non-profit parent organization, Cityside. She has helped news organizations around the country refine their business strategies, attract new audiences, and bring in additional revenue.