Wine and the Vine: An Historical Geography of Viticulture and the Wine Trade

By Tim Unwin | Go to book overview

PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION

In the five years that have passed since the first publication of Wine and the Vine, the global wine industry has seen considerable change. Levels of wine consumption have continued to fall in the old producing countries of Europe, while the importance of New World producers such as Chile, Australia and South Africa has continued to rise in the market place. Technological changes in vine cultivation and wine making have also played a significant role in transforming the wines that we drink, with international wine makers now travelling the globe and using their technological expertise to produce new wines, often specially designed to suit the tastes of specific north European markets.

These changes have been matched by the publication of an increasing amount of research on the history of wine, and of major new texts on viticulture and oenology. In the historical sphere, there have been detailed regional case studies such as that of Piemonte edited by Rinaldo Comba (1992, 1994), new accounts of specific countries and periods including Loubère's (1990) The Wine Revolution in France, and more obscure yet beautifully illustrated works such as the collection of papers by the geographers Alain Huetz de Lemps, Jean-Robert Pitte, Xavier de Planhol and Philippe Roudié (1990) entitled Les Vins de l'Impossible. Likewise, Pierre Spahni (1995) has written an invaluable survey of the contemporary international wine trade, providing not only a broad overview of recent changes, but also detailed analysis of specific import markets and exporter profiles. On the viticultural and oenological side, major new texts include Boulton, Singleton, Bisson and Kunkee's (1996) comprehensive Principles and Practices of Winemaking; Ron Jackson's (1994) ambitious Wine Science, Ough's (1992) Winemaking Basics, John Gladstones' (1992) somewhat controversial Viticulture and Environment, and the second volume of Coombe and Dry's (1992) excellent Viticulture. As well as these, 1994 saw the publication of Jancis Robinson's edited The Oxford Companion to Wine, which provides a wealth of readily accessible information on all aspects of wine, from its origins and spread to the complexities of its contemporary production and legislation. While the main arguments of the first edition of Wine and the Vine remain little affected by such research,

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