Nick Taddeo has crafted an inspiring and heartwarming tale in Night Wine.
His protagonist, Amerigo Pugliesi, a sixteen-year-old Italian boy, informs his shocked parents that he wishes to become a master winemaker and that he must go to France. Seeing that he is dead-serious, they reluctantly give their blessing. France is just a stop-over, though, for a wise old winemaker tells him to head for California where quality wines are being produced and opportunities abound. Eventually, he reaches the Napa Valley where be begins the hard work necessary to reach his goal.
Amerigo's story is familiar to generations of immigrants: overcoming obstacles such as bigotry, a strange language and feelings of inferiority. His life will eventually span three wars, Prohibition and the Great Depression; all will leave their mark on him.
However, when life's problems weighed heavily on him, he knew that he could return to his beloved vineyards where he would find solace.
Paul H. Griffen, California,
retired high school history/government teacher
In Nick Taddeo's third novel, Night Wine, Amerigo Pugliesi, a young Italian immigrant, arrives in America with some training in the French and Italian vineyards and a total commitment to becoming a winemaker. He attempts to secure employment in California only to be drafted into the U.S. Army. Amerigo returns wounded from battle and finally lands a
job in the Napa Valley with a German farmer who was trying without success to make wine. Using his skills, Amerigo saves the vintage and becomes a permanent part of the Immelhoff
When Prohibition strikes, the vintners and grape growers must either sell grape juice or sell their land and wineries. Through friends Amerigo meets an attractive, adventurous young woman who becomes his wife, and so begins his family. After Prohibition is finally brought to an end, Amerigo, with the help of Mexican migrant farm workers develops the Immelhoff Winery into a small but fine winery. However nothing prepares him for the tragic death of his wife, and the challenges brought on by corporate takeover attempts and trying to adapt to new technology.
Night Wine does not follow the usual or well-known families in the
Valley. It does, however, involve the multi-ethnic origins of the Napa Valley. Though the work is fiction, the development of the protagonist can be traced to Taddeo's father and an uncle, both immigrants who introduced him to the art of winemaking and the myriad characters who ferment, age, consume and sometimes even sell the elixir. Studying the smaller wineries in Santa Ynez and Paso Robles where the vintners were accessible and friendly gave him a good feeling for the early years. Researching the established wineries in Napa and Sonoma showed him how far the industry could go when the product is exceptional.
Night Wine is ultimately a story about the enormous influence diverse minorities have contributed to developing the California wine industry into the highly respected position it holds in the world today.
"The characters, and more, come alive on the pages to give the story and the wine country a life of substance and value."
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