Shadows in the Vineyard

The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine


By Maximillian Potter

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Journalist Maximillian Potter uncovers a fascinating plot to destroy the vines of La Romance-Conti, Burgundy's finest and most expensive wine.

In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romance-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison—a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder—unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France's top detectives, the primary suspect's suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world's greatest wine.

Shadows in the Vineyard takes us deep into a captivating world full of fascinating characters, small-town French politics, an unforgettable narrative, and a local culture defined by the twinned veins of excess and vitality and the deep reverent attention to the land that runs through it.

On Sale
Jul 28, 2015
Page Count
304 pages

Maximillian Potter

About the Author

Maximillian Potter is Esquire magazine’s Editor-at-Large. Formerly the executive editor of 5280: Denver’s Magazine, he has been a staff writer at Premiere, Philadelphia, and GQ, and a contributor to Vanity Fair. He was a senior advisor to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, with whom he co-authored the governor’s memoir. Potter is native of Philadelphia with a BA from Allegheny College and MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School.

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