Writing the History of Napa–Blog Style

A rather remarkable project is underway at The Wine Country Club Blog.

John Olney is writing his book online, in blog form, rather than in private and out of view. The books is a history of Napa Valley wineries that pre-date 1900 but can still be viewed today. The emphasis is on the people and owners at each of these properties. It’s an ambitious project.

Writing and re-writing the book in a blog format makes the project a somewhat collaborative exercise. Olney wrote in an email, "I have the advantage of "live input" from the reader who reviews the current draft and advises me of new possible information and/or corrects my faulty interpretations. I guess you can say that when I have "completed" a story, it will actually end up as a story written by many under the coordination of myself as team leader."

John gives his readers perhaps too much credit in the process. The information he’s unearthed about the interesting individuals who helped found and develop the Napa Valley wine Country is very detailed and takes a good deal of research. I suspect any input he’ll get from readers will be little. But that’s ok. As the project stands now, it is a real gift.

To this point, John has online fascinating histories of Chateau Montelena, The Krug property, Bouchaine Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyards and Niebaum-Coppola.

At this point, the work is more scholarship than storytelling. But for those who are drawn to the history and the "cultural terroir" of the Napa Valley, this very interesting effort is fascinating stuff. And of course the way he is going about this, doing the initial writing online, brings up a number of blog and internet-related issues that might deserve some thought and appreciation.

Posted In: Wine Blogs


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