Usually, “tell all” books are reserved for movie stars and high-profile athletes, but a new book will shed light on the not-so-flattering family history (and dirt) of the Mondavi family and wine empire. Julia Flynn Siler’s “The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty” (Gotham Books, $28) has been atop Amazon’s nonfiction best-seller list even prior to its release today. The “no-holds-barred” book has already been compared to an atomic bomb, as it reportedly tells the story of how Robert Mondavi helped put Napa Valley on the map, only to have his empire subject to family tensions, corporate buyouts and the eventual loss of the winery:
Flynn Siler’s effort is likely to leave emotions raw over its inside-the-boardroom portrayals of how the Mondavi family was forced to sell off its namesake winery. A reading at Copperfield’s Books in Napa was nixed, although the store management reportedly said the date was never confirmed … Flynn Siler’s work has become a hot topic amid plans for this weekend’s third reunion of former Mondavi staffers. Organizer Cindy Deutsch, a former winery sales manager, suggested that Flynn Siler attend the reunion but faced strong objections.
If nothing else, “The House of Mondavi” should shed light into the tumultuous world of the wine business. While it seems that some aspects of the book border on gossip–take, for example, the part about the alcolohism of Mondavi’s first wife–Siler’s effort is undoubtedly well-researched and rife with fascinating tidbits about the wine business. Whatever you may think of its controversial nature, it’s probably a must-read for Bay Area wine lovers.