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Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures Hardcover – December 3, 2012
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Noted American oenophile Lukacs tells the story of wine over eight millenniums and around the globe. Themes of interest to oenophiles, from wine’s longtime disrepute in North America to England’s love affair with Bordeaux, and fascinating details―for instance, the unearthing of 26 casks of wine in King Tut’s tomb―heighten the pleasure of this engrossing narrative. A richly readable and authoritative addition to the literature of wine. (Kirkus Reviews)
In highly readable prose, Lukacs tells the story of winemaking’s worldwide history, recounting such ever-fascinating stories as the discovery of champagne and the creation of phenomenally unctuous and costly wines from what appear to be overripe, rotten grapes. (Booklist)
Just when it seemed that there was nothing new to be said about wine, Paul Lukacs tells an intriguing and original tale that is thoroughly enjoyable reading. (Mark Kurlansky, author of Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man and Salt: A World History)
Inventing Wine makes us grateful as wine lovers that we are living in the second golden age of wine, when the quality and choices far exceed anything possible before. (Paul Jameson - New York Journal of Books)
Paul Lukacs’s Inventing Wine focuses on how the perception of wine has changed over time, through wars, revolution, prosperity and deprivation. ... Inventing Wine is broader and more ambitious in scope than his previous books, looking at how wine and Western civilization grew up together. (Dave McIntyre - Washington Post)
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Top Customer Reviews
In the twenty-first century all new non-fiction books must have subtitles. It seems to be a rule. The book publishers do not trust their public to pick up a book and read a few pages. They don't imagine that we can imagine what is inside a book. No, they must spell things out for their dullard customers in a subtitle.
But hasn't the proliferation of subtitles robbed books of some of their mystery? Now, "Inventing Wine" is a nice title, isn't it? Most people tend to think of wine as a product as natural as corn or apples, so the idea that wine is somehow "invented" is intriguing. Invention implies the existence of inventors, and we all know that Thomas Edison was a very interesting fellow. Reading about the personal and professional zigs and zags which precede discovery is almost always a thrill.
The subtitle of this book tells us it is a "new history" of wine, and with these words the head scratchers will be somewhat reassured, while those of us hoping for an ingenious and novel take on wine will begin to doubt. There is good reason for doubt, for this book includes too much muddy history and not enough sparkling invention. In this light, perhaps subtitles should be regarded as subtle warnings, rather than insults to our intelligence.
In the beginning, wine was not invented, but discovered, the accidental byproduct of yeast, grapes, and desperate thirst. The creation of this miraculous fluid and its impacts were so mysterious, the ancients had no doubt wine was a gift of the gods. Naturally, the fermented juice was soon incorporated into religious rituals. Because of its presumed sacred nature, its cost, and its scarcity, wine was no everyday drink.Read more ›
There was a lot in here I had no idea of - that Bordeaux was not a place where wine grapes grew (until merchants realized they could save on shipping), that Bordeaux wine estates were constructed as branding for their wines - and made to have old-looking buildings to confer gravitas and "HERITAGE" as brand attributes - that sweet wines were the ne plus ultra for centuries...etc. etc. Riveting revelations in every chapter!
As other reviewers note, the book is frightfully repetitive. Wine's long history of having a very short shelf life could have been much briefer and replaced with more expansive narrative about its economic role or its role in promoting cross-cultural commerce.
While the book provides a considerable amount of interesting facts, particularly about wines role in early religions, what is most disappointing about the book, is its lack of charm. Its like a dry tannic wine. You can drink it, get a little buzz, but not really enjoy the experience. Wine is meant to bring pleasure. A book about it, should strive for the same.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A terrific book. I looked for a history of wine book for a while that does what this book does. It covers the production of wine over time and why it was important culturally.Published 8 months ago by Alan L. Emery
The book is redundant, labored and painful to read. The good news is that it is thorough, informative and well researched. A good editor could have made it better.Published 9 months ago by Wayne E. Ballentine
This is a fine history of the evolution of fine wine. It is not a do-it-yourself book and it is not a book of ratings and recommendations. Read morePublished 11 months ago by ROY A WISE
This book presents the story of the evolution of wine from its primitive, and not very palatable origins, to the current global business of wine. Very readable but still thorough.Published 12 months ago by wineprof
A very interesting approach to the history of the wine industry.Published 13 months ago by Michael M.
I prefer more information on the scientific progression of viticulture and the scientific measures of great wine. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Muldune
Much appreciated insight and information about wine, one of our favorite subjects! Jeanne MiliganPublished 17 months ago by Jeanne Milligan
Paul Lukacs is a great writer and this book is really interesting. Loved it!Published 18 months ago by Ale Esteves