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A Moveable Thirst: Tales and Tastes from a Season in Napa Wine Country

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A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting roomsHank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting roomsHank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of a year. The result is A Moveable Thirst–an engaging, often hilarious book that’s one part Sideways, one part Frommer’s. The first part recounts their uproarious adventures on the road as Rick learns to sniff and spit like a true oenophile (but never stops asking stupid questions). The second part offers the most complete and detailed guide ever published to Napa’s wine rooms. For wine lovers and the more than 5 million people who visit Napa every year, A Moveable Thirst is a great read and an indispensable guide.


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A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting roomsHank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of A rollicking wine country travelogue paired with the only comprehensive guide to Napa’s public tasting roomsHank Beal is a wine pro–the executive wine buyer at an upscale supermarket chain. Rick Kushman is an ordinary joe–a guy who enjoys wine but doesn’t know a lot about it. Together, Hank and Rick set out to visit all 141 public tasting rooms in Napa during the course of a year. The result is A Moveable Thirst–an engaging, often hilarious book that’s one part Sideways, one part Frommer’s. The first part recounts their uproarious adventures on the road as Rick learns to sniff and spit like a true oenophile (but never stops asking stupid questions). The second part offers the most complete and detailed guide ever published to Napa’s wine rooms. For wine lovers and the more than 5 million people who visit Napa every year, A Moveable Thirst is a great read and an indispensable guide.

30 review for A Moveable Thirst: Tales and Tastes from a Season in Napa Wine Country

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scargosun

    This is a good book to read if you are going to Napa and you've got a good plane ride ahead of you. The fist half is written in multiple essay style, separated by different areas in the Napa Valley area the second half is a guide of the tasting rooms at the wineries. The guide has great info about the tasting rooms, their policies, prices and picnicking availability. I enjoyed this book for the way that the writer talked about the people involved in the winemaking process. These people live and This is a good book to read if you are going to Napa and you've got a good plane ride ahead of you. The fist half is written in multiple essay style, separated by different areas in the Napa Valley area the second half is a guide of the tasting rooms at the wineries. The guide has great info about the tasting rooms, their policies, prices and picnicking availability. I enjoyed this book for the way that the writer talked about the people involved in the winemaking process. These people live and breathe Napa Valley wine and they love what they do. You cannot help but catch a little wine-making fever when you read about these people. I also really liked the education about some of the intracacies of the wine-making process. I loved that is is part science and part instinct. There is a heart to wine but also there is a good amount of of the head involved too. There were a few things that caused a disconnect for me. I didn't like the way the author looked down on people that were obviously very new to wine or wine tasting. The author tells the reader several times that he is far from an expert but wastes no time looking down on people in 'limo tours' or non-spitters (he himself confesses that he can't spit well and that he drinks most of the wine rather than tasting it before he started this Quest). He also repeats himself a good deal. If this book were originally a series of published articles then I can see why this might be so it didn't keep me from enjoying the book. Again, I think it's a decent read made better by the guide in the back.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I gave this 4 stars more b/c of the great info that's useful when planning a wine trip than for the 'Quest' part of the book. I started reading this book before my trip to Napa, used the info about all of the wineries during my trip, and just finished the 'Quest' part now. It made me want to go back and I'll definitely revisit this book for any future trips to Napa. I gave this 4 stars more b/c of the great info that's useful when planning a wine trip than for the 'Quest' part of the book. I started reading this book before my trip to Napa, used the info about all of the wineries during my trip, and just finished the 'Quest' part now. It made me want to go back and I'll definitely revisit this book for any future trips to Napa.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I am getting ready to take my first trip to Napa and I loved the wit and humor of a newbie in tasting rooms. The back of the book has listings for all of the wineries in Napa and some pointers for tasting.I hope some of the recommendations meet our expectations!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Don McClintock

    This story is a hoot. It's basically a true story about two guys who travel through Napa and sample the wines. It's a very enjoyable read. Highly recommended. This story is a hoot. It's basically a true story about two guys who travel through Napa and sample the wines. It's a very enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laura Brown

    A book written by a writer for the Sacramento Bee and the Executive wine buyer for Nugget Markets (which has an awesome selection). Good friends, they decided to fulfill a Quest to visit as many open-to-the-public wineries and tasting rooms in Napa Valley as possible; they end up hitting 141, and Rick weaves their visits into a very readable and friendly chronicle. A great book for the layman wine connoisseur. This book organizes wineries by Napa Valley's AVA's, and provides a lot of useful info A book written by a writer for the Sacramento Bee and the Executive wine buyer for Nugget Markets (which has an awesome selection). Good friends, they decided to fulfill a Quest to visit as many open-to-the-public wineries and tasting rooms in Napa Valley as possible; they end up hitting 141, and Rick weaves their visits into a very readable and friendly chronicle. A great book for the layman wine connoisseur. This book organizes wineries by Napa Valley's AVA's, and provides a lot of useful information regarding cost, directions, culture, vibes, and general expectations so that you can walk in with some confidence. I've been reading this book during my commute and it makes it pretty hard to go into work and not spend the day drinking wine and picnicking. ;-) A very fun read with a lot of useful information in a unique format. Some of the wineries have closed since the book was first published (and Taylor's Refresher is now Gott's Roadside), but there is still lots to learn. Definitely recommended!

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is really half a guidebook. The first half of the book is a narrative journey of Napa Valley tasting rooms over one year. Kushman - who is a television critic, not a wine writer - writes about the people he meets, the wines he drinks and offers an overview of the valley. His narrative is relaxed and ideal for those who know a little about wine but may be intimidated by the Napa Valley experience. The second part of the book is listing and review of each and every tasting room in Napa. There This is really half a guidebook. The first half of the book is a narrative journey of Napa Valley tasting rooms over one year. Kushman - who is a television critic, not a wine writer - writes about the people he meets, the wines he drinks and offers an overview of the valley. His narrative is relaxed and ideal for those who know a little about wine but may be intimidated by the Napa Valley experience. The second part of the book is listing and review of each and every tasting room in Napa. There is no detailed map of the valley so this book should be a supplement to other materials but it list items not readily available in other guides. For a traveler who wants a little more out of the Valley than Highway 29, this book is invaluable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I came across this book while browsing the California travel section this winter in preparation for our trip to the Napa Valley this past April. While not even on the same plane as Bill Bryson's travel writing, it was actually really enjoyable. It was fun to read while looking ahead to our trip and does a good job giving a picture of the sunny, delicious personality of Napa wine country. It was written geographically as the two guys work their way through the valley, so was useful to us as we pl I came across this book while browsing the California travel section this winter in preparation for our trip to the Napa Valley this past April. While not even on the same plane as Bill Bryson's travel writing, it was actually really enjoyable. It was fun to read while looking ahead to our trip and does a good job giving a picture of the sunny, delicious personality of Napa wine country. It was written geographically as the two guys work their way through the valley, so was useful to us as we planned each day, plus it had great info like beautiful spots to picnic. It makes you crave a glass of wine-- not just to drink, but to taste slowly and savor-- and gives you a much better taste of the place than any of the regular travel guides.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    Two guys visit 141 tasting rooms around Napa. Rick enjoys wine, but doesn't know very much about it so he asks dumb questions occasionally. Hank is a wine pro who is a wine buyer for a CA supermarket chain -- he does not ask dumb questions. First half of the book covers the visits and wines tasted and purchased. The second half is a listing of all 141 tasting rooms with important info like - picnics? reservations required? etc. Really enjoyed it and now I want my own 9 month trek to all the wineri Two guys visit 141 tasting rooms around Napa. Rick enjoys wine, but doesn't know very much about it so he asks dumb questions occasionally. Hank is a wine pro who is a wine buyer for a CA supermarket chain -- he does not ask dumb questions. First half of the book covers the visits and wines tasted and purchased. The second half is a listing of all 141 tasting rooms with important info like - picnics? reservations required? etc. Really enjoyed it and now I want my own 9 month trek to all the wineries / tasting rooms. I tend to go back to the same ones, but now I know some of the hidden gems that only wine insiders know about. Wine tasting anyone?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    This is a great book to read if you are planning a trip to Napa. Bascially two friends go on a quest to visit all the wine tasting rooms in Napa during a season of wine making. The author has a great sense of humor as he talks about the people he encounters and the things that go in to making wine. The book also has wine tasting tips and a list of the tasting rooms with relavent information you would want to know if you go to Napa. I highly recommend it for anyone planning a trip there. Sure mak This is a great book to read if you are planning a trip to Napa. Bascially two friends go on a quest to visit all the wine tasting rooms in Napa during a season of wine making. The author has a great sense of humor as he talks about the people he encounters and the things that go in to making wine. The book also has wine tasting tips and a list of the tasting rooms with relavent information you would want to know if you go to Napa. I highly recommend it for anyone planning a trip there. Sure makes me want to go back!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book got me super excited to return to Napa Valley this fall. It covers tons of wineries/tasting rooms and you also learn about the process of making wine. I picked up some good tips of where to get great eats in Napa as well. I recommend if: you are traveling to Napa and want an insiders view on where to visit OR want to learn a little more about the vineyards that make some of the best wine in the world!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I really enjoyed this book, maybe because Napa Valley is close to my heart and it's a goal of mine to visit every public winery. This was a fun read with great details about the wines and people in Napa. I also laughed at the differences between Hank and Rick at the wineries. It was a nice balance to hear both experiences. I wish there was an updated version of this book! That would be 5 stars! I really enjoyed this book, maybe because Napa Valley is close to my heart and it's a goal of mine to visit every public winery. This was a fun read with great details about the wines and people in Napa. I also laughed at the differences between Hank and Rick at the wineries. It was a nice balance to hear both experiences. I wish there was an updated version of this book! That would be 5 stars!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    So far so good! I really like the perspective of the main character. I am also taking notes since I have moved to CA and really want to travel to Napa. Update: A great read for all those looking to travel to Napa! It really helps guide first time visitors and make you feel less awkward about your first Napa experience!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is "the" book for learning more about wine in general and California wine in particular. It's a fast, fun ride through Napa Valley as the authors work on completing a quest to visit every wine tasting room in the Valley. A nice, easy writing style makes the book fun and hysterical in some places. I'd like a copy to add to my "food and wine" shelf. This is "the" book for learning more about wine in general and California wine in particular. It's a fast, fun ride through Napa Valley as the authors work on completing a quest to visit every wine tasting room in the Valley. A nice, easy writing style makes the book fun and hysterical in some places. I'd like a copy to add to my "food and wine" shelf.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Definite read for a trip to Napa Valley. This is a book for folks who are not sommeliers, but love wine or are learning about wine. I enjoyed this book and I agree with all of the author's suggestions & reviews of the wineries. I think I'll read it again now! Definite read for a trip to Napa Valley. This is a book for folks who are not sommeliers, but love wine or are learning about wine. I enjoyed this book and I agree with all of the author's suggestions & reviews of the wineries. I think I'll read it again now!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barney

    I finished just in time for our book club event tonight. It's a fun and light-hearted tour through Napa, but I learned so much reading about wines, landscapes and the people of Napa. I couldn't resist pouring a glass and reading a few pages each night. A delight! I finished just in time for our book club event tonight. It's a fun and light-hearted tour through Napa, but I learned so much reading about wines, landscapes and the people of Napa. I couldn't resist pouring a glass and reading a few pages each night. A delight!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a really interesting book that talks about the tasting rooms of Napa Valley. It gives you a good idea of the overall experience. I loved the style of writing, which mixed in anecdotes about the founders of the wineries, tasting etc.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    A fun read, if you are going to Napa, I think this is a good "insiders guide." Of course, it's only two men's opinions, so I didn't take it for gospel, but it was fun to talk to people in Napa about where we were going and then check this book out. A fun read, if you are going to Napa, I think this is a good "insiders guide." Of course, it's only two men's opinions, so I didn't take it for gospel, but it was fun to talk to people in Napa about where we were going and then check this book out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mullins

    This is a great book for anybody who has an interest in wine. It is a fun account of the journey of two men through the 141 tasting rooms of Napa Valley. Very well-written, a good balance of humor and wine trivia.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ward Kadel - drXeNo

    Please see my review that I wrote for WineLog.net as a staff blogger. Please see my review that I wrote for WineLog.net as a staff blogger.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Went to Napa this fall. This book was helpful in deciding what areas we wanted to focus on. Some very funny anecdotes intertwined with informative text.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ivory

    A fun narrative of the authors' "quest" to visit each and every tasting room in Napa... A fun narrative of the authors' "quest" to visit each and every tasting room in Napa...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    Great book!! A must read if you plan to head to Napa. Can't wait for our trip in September...now, comes the hard part, picking among the many great sounding wineries!! Great book!! A must read if you plan to head to Napa. Can't wait for our trip in September...now, comes the hard part, picking among the many great sounding wineries!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hardeep

    *Sigh*... I wanted to finish this book- really. I guess I am just not that much of an oenophile. That said, I would HIGHLY recommend this book to someone planning to make a trip to NAPA.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I would have enjoyed this more right before, or during, a trip to Napa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sheilon King-brock

    Great review of Napa wine country. It is taking me a while to get through the book...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    A really enjoyable travelogue without the pretension. Useful in finding little wineries too. Highly recommend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Love reading this after our recent trip to Napa.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandon St.Martin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara Grace

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