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Longleaf Select University Press Titles Spring/Summer 2021

André Tchelistcheff and the Rebirth of Napa Valley
By (author): James O. Gump
James O. Gump


University of Nebraska Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Cloth over boards
Hardcover , Cloth over boards


General Trade
Jul 01, 2021
$40.95 CAD


215.9 x 139.7 mm | 420 gr

Page Count:

224 pages


10 photographs, 1 map, index
University of Nebraska Press
  • Short Description
Maestro is the first full-length biography on André Tchelistcheff (1901–94) that details the events of his life leading to his career as an expert winemaker, consultant, and mentor and how his wisdom helped revitalize a severely-damaged Napa Valley wine industry.

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.

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

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