Top books of 2023: Who said it best? Me or ChatGBT?

By Frances Dinkelspiel / December 21, 2023 /

My top books of 2023 – one version written by me, the other written by Chat GBT I love writing about my favorite books of the year. I started the practice at Berkeleyside, the news site I co-founded in 2009, where it continues. I wanted to make a list for 2023 but thought experimenting would…

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Mark C. Anderson, the arsonist at the center of Tangled Vines, leaves prison

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 7, 2022 /

Mark C. Anderson, the man behind the vast wine warehouse fire I write about in Tangled Vines, has been released from federal prison. Records show he walked out the doors of Terminal Island in southern California on Oct. 6, 2022. Anderson, now 73, was given compassionate release because of his poor health. He is relocating…

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After 13 years, I am stepping down from the Berkeley news site I co-founded, Berkeleyside

By Frances Dinkelspiel / June 10, 2022 /

After 13.5 wild and wonderful years, I am leaving Berkeleyside, The Oaklandside and Cityside to pursue new writing opportunities. To say I am proud of having helped create a news provider with 2 news sites and 25 employees would be an understatement. I will miss the wonderful crew, but I am confident they will continue…

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The Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm incinerated my house 30 years ago

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 21, 2021 /

As smoke swirled above me and blotted out the October sun and sirens filled the air, I lay flat on my back on Ashby Avenue near College, my hands pressing down on my lower stomach. I had just discovered two days earlier that I was pregnant with my first child, and I was so overcome…

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Wildfires ravage Northern California wine country

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 21, 2017 /

It has been a harrowing time in the Bay Area and in Napa and Sonoma counties. On Sunday, Oct. 8 a wildfire broke out in Calistoga and quickly grew, fed by 70-mph-winds and fed by tinder dry trees and grasses. Bu 3 a.m. it had swept through urban neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. At the same…

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In which I talk (more) about wine fraud, this time on television

By Frances Dinkelspiel / August 7, 2017 /

Every since I wrote Tangled Vines, I have become somewhat of a specialist on wine fraud. It’s not that hard to do given that wine crime is a growing industry. Every week, it seems, some merchant or wine maker or thief tries a new way to steal wine and sell it on the black or…

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The city of Whittier has named Tangled Vines as its pick for Whittier Reads 2017

By Frances Dinkelspiel / April 7, 2017 /

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…

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Talking about wine, my personal history, and journalism

By Frances Dinkelspiel / March 23, 2016 /

In February, I had the honor of serving as the featured speaker at the HarvEst Distinguished Women Lecture Series at UC Berkeley. As part of that, I participated in an interview for the series “Interview with History,” with host Harry Kreisler. Here is that interview, which is an hour long. We discuss Tangled Vines, my first book,…

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Goodbye 2015, it’s been a great year for ‘Tangled Vines’

By Frances Dinkelspiel / December 31, 2015 /

It’s New Year’s Eve, and when I reflect on 2015 I realize I have much to be grateful for, particularly in my professional life. There were definitely some sad moments – my stepfather died at 92, I had to cover the death of six young adults who plunged to their deaths from a rotted balcony…

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Tangled Vines is a New York Times bestseller!

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 20, 2015 /

I got the call all author’s dream about. In my case, it was an email. On Monday, Nov. 16, my editor at St. Martins Press, Michael Flamini, sent me a message. “Tangled Vines” is #10 on the NYT monthly crime bestsellers list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yahoo! We can now say, on any reprint and the paperback, “New York…

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