Tripping through southern California’s 19th century wine past

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 4, 2015 /

I have been having a great time touring around talking about Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist on the Vineyards of California. I am in Los Angeles as I write this, taking a breather after talking at The Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, the Galleano Winery in Mira Loma in Riverside…

Read More

On the road with my book, Tangled Vines

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 8, 2015 /

Tangled Vines was officially published on Tuesday Oct. 6. On Wednesday, I did my first outreach for the book. I went to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park to appear on In Deep, a radio show hosted by Angie Coiro. Many Bay Area residents will remember Angie from her days as a traffic announcer. Then she…

Read More

Violence in the Vineyards

By Frances Dinkelspiel / September 25, 2015 /

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, much of the Catholic world was focused on the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. Pope Francis, a pope who has come to symbolize the rights of the poor and downtrodden, anointed Junipero Serra a saint. In doing so, the Pope cast light on the…

Read More

5 little-known facts about the history of California wine

By Frances Dinkelspiel / September 11, 2015 /

My forthcoming book, Tangled Vines, focuses on the largest crime involving wine in history: an arson fire that destroyed 4.5 million bottles of wine worth $250 million. The book also traces the life one of the bottles lost in the fire. It was made in 1875 in a vineyard in Rancho Cucamonga in southern California…

Read More

My new book, Tangled Vines, will be published in October

By Frances Dinkelspiel / September 6, 2015 /

I am very excited to announce that my new book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California will be published on Oct. 6, 2015 by St. Martin’s Press. I have been working on this book since late 2009, ever since I wrote a story for the New York Times…

Read More

Resurrecting the dead: the ghosts of past Jewish San Franciscans

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 4, 2014 /

Adolph Sutro, the former mayor of San Francisco, stood by his wife’s grave, a long slab of granite nestled on a slight incline near the top of the Home of Peace cemetery in Colma. Sutro then pointed to his name, chiseled on a step near his wife’s tomb, and explained that he really wasn’t buried…

Read More

Interviewing famous people for Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 30, 2014 /

Two years ago, Berkeleyside, the news site I co-founded and write for, launched Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas. The idea was to use the ideas that form Berkeley – notions of social justice, world-class science, food, etc, – as a basis to hold a gathering that would explore them in depth. The second Uncharted happened last weekend,…

Read More

Isaias Hellman, Helen Hunt and NBC’s "Who Do You Think You Are?"

By Frances Dinkelspiel / March 24, 2012 /

I had the opportunity to appear on NBC’s popular genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?”with the Academy Award-winning actress Helen Hunt. In searching for her roots, Hunt discovered she was a descendant of William Scholle, a German Jew who came to San Francisco around the time of the Gold Rush and who became…

Read More

Towers of Gold Named A Best Book of 2009 by Northern California Booksellers

By Frances Dinkelspiel / May 6, 2009 /

It’s no secret that I love independent bookstores. I am down in Los Angeles and yesterday dropped into the new Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood, even though I had spent the previous two days surrounded by authors and books at the LA Times Festival of Books. Still, I wanted to see what they had and what…

Read More

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

By Frances Dinkelspiel / April 22, 2009 /

For years I have wanted to attend the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which is easily the largest — and best — book festival on the West Coast. Each year more than 100,000 people go to the UCLA campus to hear more than 450 authors talk about a range of topics. It has always…

Read More