André Tchelistcheff and the Rebirth of Napa Valley

James O. Gump

At Table Series

224 pages
10 photographs, 1 map, index


July 2021


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2021


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2021


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Wine insiders called André Tchelistcheff the “winemaker’s winemaker,” the “wine doctor,” and simply “maestro.” After Prohibition brought Napa Valley and its wine industry to the brink of catastrophe, Tchelistcheff (1901–94) proved essential in its revitalization.

Tchelistcheff’s unique background—a sickly child, a Russian émigré forced from his homeland during the Bolshevik Revolution, a White Army lieutenant who fought in the Crimea, a physical laborer in a Bulgarian coal mine, a Czechoslovakian-trained agronomist, and a French-schooled viticulturist and enologist—prepared him for a remarkable winemaking career. He spent thirty-five years in Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyard and nearly two “post-retirement” decades doing freelance consulting work for more than thirty wineries.

His early struggles forged his principal character traits, which he passed on to an entire generation of winemakers. His students, including some of the most accomplished winemakers of the post-Prohibition period, marveled over their mentor’s sense of authority, profound insight, humble presence, and abundant wisdom.

This inspiring account of Tchelistcheff’s life includes interviews with friends, family, and mentees, which reveal how one man used his passion and knowledge to help save a community on the edge of disaster. In Maestro James O. Gump preserves the memory of a fascinating individual and one of the most influential winemakers of the modern era.

Author Bio

James O. Gump is a professor emeritus of history at the University of San Diego. He is the author of The Dust Rose like Smoke: The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux, second edition (Nebraska, 2016), and The Formation of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa.


"This well-illustrated work is an easy read, filled with firsthand accounts of Tchelistcheff. An important history of Napa Valley's wine industry and some of its significant personalities of the 20th century, it will be a good addition to libraries with strong collections on Northern California history or viticulture."—B. D. Singleton, Choice

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Tchelistcheff Tour, Part 1
2. Kaluga
3. The Apache Dancer
4. Beautiful Place
5. The Mentor
6. Heublein
7. The Consultant
8. The Tchelistcheff Tour, Part 2

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