Kevin Begos - Tasting the Past (San Francisco Store)

Friday, June 15, 2018 - 6:30pm

In Conversation with Bo Thompson

Discover the hidden life of wine in Tasting the Past. After a chance encounter with an obscure Middle Eastern red, journalist Kevin Begos embarks on a ten-year journey to seek the origins of wine. What he unearths is a whole world of forgotten grapes, each with distinctive tastes and aromas, as well as the archaeologists, geneticists, chemists -- even a paleobotanist -- who are deciphering wine down to molecules of flavor. We meet a young scientist who sets out to decode the DNA of every single wine grape in the world; a researcher who seeks to discover the wines that Caesar and Cleopatra drank; and an academic who has spent decades analyzing wine remains to pinpoint ancient vineyards. Science illuminates wine in ways no critic can, and it has demolished some of the most sacred dogmas of the industry: for example, well-known French grapes aren't especially noble. 

We travel with Begos along the original wine routes--starting in the Caucasus Mountains, where wine grapes were first domesticated eight thousand years ago; then down to Israel and across the Mediterranean to Greece, Italy, and France; and finally to America where vintners are just now beginning to make distinctive wines from a new generation of local grapes. Imagine the wine grape version of heirloom vegetables or craft beer, or better yet, taste it: Begos offers readers drinking suggestions that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants. 

In this viticultural detective story wine geeks and history lovers alike will discover new tastes and flavors to savor.

Kevin Begos is a former MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow whose stories and research have appeared in major newspapers and other publications, including Scientific AmericanHarper'sSalon, the Christian Science MonitorUSA Today, and the New York Times. He reviews books for the Associated Press and is a former AP correspondent.

Bo Thompson, owner/partner and wine buyer, brings an abundance of wine experience to Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant from his involvement with some of San Francisco's most beloved and wine savvy restaurants like the Fog City Diner and Greens. In addition, he has an extensive e-commerce background after many years as a senior wine merchant at Virtual Vineyards, one of the pioneers of online wine sales (known today as Bo has also been called upon to lecture at Napa Valley's prestigious Copia: the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. His credentials additionally include editing a popular wine reference book and heading up his own consulting business that helped clients in the Wine, Publishing and Restaurant industries. 


1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Origins of Wine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616205775
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - June 12th, 2018

“A myth-busting, history-reclaiming, science-centric, skeptical—and yet loving and respectful—tour of the history, the present, and even the future of wine production.” 
Cat Warren, author of What the Dog Knows

“This is quite a book and I hope it is read widely throughout the wine world and that it has a