Monday, April 25, 2011

Grape immersion

‘Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in the Napa Valley’ captures the multisensory experience of wine country

More than 5 million people visit Napa Valley in California each year. Do they just love wine, or are they searching for something more?

Tourism experts and anthropologists George Gmelch and Sharon Gmelch explore this form of “experiential tourism” in their new book, Tasting the Good Life: Wine Tourism in the Napa Valley, published by Indiana University Press.

Through the authentic, first-person narratives of 17 people – from winemaker to vineyard manager, from celebrity chef to server, from hot air balloonist to masseuse – the authors provide extraordinary insight into the work that supports this increasingly popular form of tourism and the effect of wine tourism on an American icon: the compact and visually stunning Napa Valley.

The authors answer all your questions, and more. What is wine tasting all about? What do visitors take away from the experience? Why does renowned chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry say, “This is where I want to be”? What has happened to the valley as a result of tourism?

“More people today are interested in actively engaging with the places they visit and in supplementing the tourist gaze (passively looking at historic sites, art, or natural wonders) with other sensory or bodily experiences. Wine tourism satisfies these desires. It offers the sounds of nature and the visual beauty of a rural landscape enhanced by vineyards, winery architecture, and landscaping—with the opportunity to concentrate on other senses, particularly smell and taste,” write the authors in the book’s introduction.

Order the book online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Indiana University Press.

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