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Review: Shadows in the Vineyard

December 30, 2014

Shadows in the Vineyard

Nestled in the Côte d’Or region of France, the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is one of the most revered and respected vineyards in the world.  The vines are easily accessible to anyone and it isn’t uncommon for people to jump the fence to pick a grape and pop it into their mouths.  In 2010, someone jumped the fence with much more sinister intentions.   He drilled a hole in two vines, injected them with poison, plugged the holes, covered the vinestocks with soil, and sent this note to the owner:

You just received a map of a part of Romanée-Conti in which you can see a circle.  A few days after the end of the harvest, the medium-size vines which are inside this ring have been drilled a few centimeters under the surface of the ground and a piece of black electric wire has been put into the holes.  Why? You will know why in about 10 days.  In just enough time for you to realize this is not a joke.

The owner thought it was a sick joke at first but still contacted the police and they didn’t take it lightly.    This threatened the future of the wine industry in a country that takes their wine industry very seriously.  The ensuing investigation was large and involved a complicated sting operation.  Maximillian Potter first wrote about this story in a piece for Vanity Fair and has now expanded the story in Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World’s Greatest Wine.

I thought the story of the sabotage and attempted blackmail of such a fabled vineyard sounded fascinating so I was excited to read Shadows in the Vineyard.  I’m sad to say the book didn’t live up to my high expectations.  For me, there just wasn’t enough meat to the story.  I realize some background material was necessary to tell the story but it seemed most of the book was background story and I found much of it to be dry.  That could be because I’m not really a wine lover.  I do feel that Potter did his homework with Shadows in the Vineyard, though, so it should hold appeal for oenophiles.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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17 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2014 6:30 am

    I thought the book would be a whodunit. Disappointed it was not so.

  2. December 30, 2014 6:41 am

    Sounds like a great story though; maybe it would be better just to get the Vanity Fair piece!

  3. December 30, 2014 8:15 am

    Wonder if this should have been left alone as a great magazine article… Sounds like an interesting story though, and I might try to find it.

  4. readerbuzz permalink
    December 30, 2014 9:22 am

    I often read books that should have stayed as magazine articles. Too bad.

    Here’s my latest post: A Little Nonsense.

  5. December 30, 2014 10:01 am

    I listened to this one and found it interesting but as you say a lot of information… a lot a lot a lot. 🙂

  6. December 30, 2014 10:24 am

    Thanks for your candid review Kathy. It sounds like an interesting story. Too bad the book did not live up to your expectations.

  7. Beth F permalink
    December 30, 2014 11:11 am

    I still intend to listen to this! But I’ll be warned.

  8. December 30, 2014 11:18 am

    The premise sounds good but I don’t think it’s for me.

  9. Literary Feline permalink
    December 30, 2014 3:09 pm

    It’s too bad this book didn’t live up to its potential. It sure sounds like it could have been good.

  10. December 30, 2014 5:24 pm

    Sounds like it would have been better as a novel based on true life events.

  11. Patty permalink
    December 30, 2014 7:56 pm

    I am had at you! Lol…I had to look up oeniphiles and I probably am one!

  12. Diane permalink
    December 30, 2014 8:34 pm

    Gee this sounds good Kathy. Hadn’t heard of this one previously.

  13. December 31, 2014 12:23 am

    When I read the “plotline”, I thought it was fiction! It’s too bad it wasn’t as good as you expected.

  14. December 31, 2014 1:39 pm

    that’s such a shame it didn’t live up to expectations. Just reading the description had me wanting to track it down but a dry read about wine does not sound appetizing

  15. December 31, 2014 8:49 pm

    I have such a big problem with books that have too much background story. It makes me feel like I’m reading someone’s past rather than present, which is what is usually more interesting.

  16. January 1, 2015 7:11 pm

    I do love my wine so this appeals to me, but maybe I could just read Vanity Fair 😉

  17. bookingmama permalink
    January 6, 2015 11:27 am

    CRAZY!!!! I can’t believe it’s a true story. Sounds like the book had a lot of potential.

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