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The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of…

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive… (original 2009; edition 2008)

by Benjamin Wallace

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6442814,998 (3.49)34
Title:The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine
Authors:Benjamin Wallace
Info:Crown (2008), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Donated
Tags:nonfiction, wine

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The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace (2009)


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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I had only medium expectations for this book, and for the most part that was right on target. Moderately interesting, especially for someone like me who has a passing knowledge of French wine and some of the more famous chateaus. Gets a little dry at times.

Unfortunately, I'm considering ranking this two stars -- if I could rank the ending separately, I would -- because it was such a letdown at the end. I had read reviews that the ending seemed rushed, but this was much worse than I had imagined. He practically drops the story with no ending at all -- there's an intermediate court judgment, a quotation from someone saying they believe they'll eventually prevail, and then... the end?

Couldn't he have waited to publish this until he found out what actually happened?? Or, at the very least, given us a little update on where each of the major characters stood as of the date of publication?

Ugh, I was literally in disbelief when I got to the end of the book. Definitely an unfinished feeling. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Great page-turner about the forgery of rare wines, this book has already been optioned by the movie industry.
~Stephanie ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
Liked the book but the ending was very unsatisfying. Shows how nonfiction is just an interesting as fiction. ( )
  ericasz | Jan 6, 2015 |
It's amazing what not reading the back of a book will do for your experience of reading the book. I didn't read the back of this book, so I wasn't expecting the ultimate outcome until I was well in. As tale about the wine culture over the last 30 years and delving into a few specific bottles it succeeds very well. The 50 pages before the last 50 pages dragged a little but they helped to tie the story together. I definitely recommend it for fans of wine and fans of micro-histories. ( )
  rockinghorsedreams | Nov 13, 2014 |
This book started slowly and was rather dry, however as the main theme of the book emerged it was apparent that the dry backstory was necessary information. Overall, the book was a fascinating look into the world of old vintage wines and the people who collect and trade them. ( )
  debbie.menzel | Feb 6, 2014 |
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and in memory of Claire Wickham Woodroffe
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A hush had come over the West Room. Photographers' flashes strobed the standing-room-only crowd sliently, and the lone sound was the crisp voice of the auctioneer.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307338789, Paperback)

“Part detective story, part wine history, this is one juicy tale, even for those with no interest in the fruit of the vine. . . . As delicious as a true vintage Lafite.” —BusinessWeek

The Billionaire’s Vinegar tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it. Was it truly entombed in a Paris cellar for two hundred years? Or did it come from a secret Nazi bunker? Or from the moldy basement of a devilishly brilliant con artist? As Benjamin Wallace unravels the mystery, we meet a gallery of intriguing players—from the bicycle-riding British auctioneer who speaks of wines as if they are women to the obsessive wine collector who discovered the bottle. Suspenseful and thrillingly strange, this is the vintage tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries. Updated for paperback with a new epilogue.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It was the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold. In 1985, a 1787 bottle of Cha^teau Lafite Bordeaux--one of a cache unearthed in a bricked-up Paris cellar and supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson--sold at auction for $156,000. The discoverer of the bottle was pop-band manager turned wine collector Hardy Rodenstock, who had a knack for finding extremely old and exquisite wines. But rumors soon arose. Why wouldn't Rodenstock reveal the exact location where it had been found? Was it part of a smuggled Nazi hoard? Or did his reticence conceal an even darker secret? Author Wallace also offers a history of wine, complete with vivid accounts of subterranean European laboratories where old vintages are dated and of Jefferson's colorful, wine-soaked days in France. This tale of what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries is also the debut of a new voice in narrative non-fiction.--From publisher description.… (more)

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