Good Food Book Club

The Billionaire’s Vinegar: It’s The Orchid Thief of the Wine World – Join Us!

We’ll be taking a slight detour this September to read a true-life thriller about….a bottle of wine?

Yes, it’s true. There was a bottle of wine—vintage 1787 and allegedly once owned by Thomas Jefferson—that eventually sold for more than $150,000. The wine in question was a Château Lafite Bordeaux, and its mysterious history as told by author Benjamin Wallace is the subject of the gripping tale, The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine.

From its Amazon synopsis:

“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.” 

This is a captivating thriller that transcends genre in much the same way Susan Orleans’ brilliant story in The Orchid Thief broke through from a simple tale about the dark underbelly of the orchid collector’s world, to a much larger audience for its sheer and epic intrigue. The Billionaire’s Vinegar, in much the same way, is not just about the most elite collectors of wine, but about the vagaries, joys, and mysteries of human nature…and in this case, how it is piqued by very, very good wine.

With special thanks to one of our most devoted book club members for this month’s suggestion! Please join us to discuss The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace (Three Rivers Press, 2009) on Sunday, October 2 from 7:00-8:30pm at the Moscow Food Co-op. Remember to email  to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Billionaire’s Vinegar is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at