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Wine: The 8,000 Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade Hardcover – August 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; First Edition edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258711
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the long list of books about wine, few have focused exclusively on the story of its trade—the business of getting the fermented product from vineyard to consumer. Pellechia (Garlic, Wine and Olive Oil), a New York City wine merchant and former vintner, seeks to address the subject with his ambitious historical survey. The oldest archeological evidence of wine making dates to about 6000 B.C., from a site in what is now the country of Georgia. Wine was traded in Hammurabi's Mesopotamia and in pharaonic Egypt, and its production expanded exponentially in tandem with the Greco-Roman empires. After the fall of Rome, the Christian church sanctioned wine making and its trade, and with the coming of the Renaissance and the early modern period, the business progressed in step with other improvements in transportation, politics and commerce. Pellechia has done his research, packing a lot into a short book about a large subject, and while his exposition and style are workmanlike, his effort and enthusiasm come through. The story comes to fuller life the closer it gets to the present day; maps and parenthetical observations offer additional touches of color. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Among the first commodities exchanged among the peoples of the world, wine offered traders portability, constant demand, and relatively steady supply. Pellechia focuses on the commercial and mercantile facets of wine history rather than on the beverage's gustatory value. Because grape growing began in the Mediterranean basin, it was only natural that the first trade routes sprang up with the Phoenicians, whose far-flung empire made transportation of wine essential. Greeks, with their trusty amphorae, took over much of this market before Romans brought the entire Mediterranean region under their sway and learned to reap great benefit from shipping wine throughout their realm. Former barbarians learned the value of wine trade, setting the stage for the explosive growth of international markets that commenced with the dawn of the age of exploration. The great blight that destroyed European vines actually encouraged trade in the nineteenth century. At present, the only significant restraint on wine trade remains the plethora of national and local laws and regulations left over from urges toward Prohibition. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

My writing life began at age 12, after a teacher read one of my compositions to the class and said it was the best in the class. He held me after class to encourage me to be a writer.

Over the years, I wrote poems and stories, and wrote for newsletters at work. After a brief interlude, when I lived for two years in Tehran, Iran, and traveled the countryside where ancient wines had been produced, the wine bug grabbed me. The idea of getting into the wine business came to me, too, after having worked on a number of projects as a script writer for a few wineries and their promotion campaigns. I had already started to consume wine regularly and to make it at home. To me, it was just a short leap to make wine commercially.

That short leap cost me some money but I got a winery up and running and when the money ran out eight years later, I had to close up shop. But I kept writing, yet I switched to wine writing and then I added food writing to that.

After closing the winery, I went to work as a wine salesman for a winery and then for a distributor. After that, I opened a wine retail shop with a partner.

My immersion in the wine world has me traveling the, well, the wine world. I continue to write and I have added a blog to that effort: vinofictions.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Kerlin on August 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was delighted with Pellechia's first book, "Garlic, Wine and Olive Oil" so I was prepared to enjoy his history of wine - and I was not disappointed. It is easy to read, and I enjoy the human dimension he employs in telling the story. Naturally, a history book includes the tales of well-known people and major events of past and present centuries, but Pellechia retells many of those stories with the twist of how the development, the trade, and the appreciation of wine was affected by those people and events. Not what you normally hear about in history class! The book itself is well-illustrated, with interesting sidebars. There is a personal feel to the prose and the illustrations that make the book feel special and unusual. A good addition to my personal library, and a great gift for friends.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Charles Gillenwater on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a well researched and documented book, which traces the beginning, not of wine, but of the wine trade. If you ever wanted to know all about the true history of wine, and commerce makes or breaks anything, then read this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Greg Dew on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found the book extremely interesting in so many ways, eg. Geography, History, the evolution of wine storage over the centuries, the comparison of regulations from Nation to Nation.

We all should have heard of Babylon (even from Boney M a few years ago) but how many of us would have known that it was roughly where Baghdad stands today. Who would have known that the earliest remnants of wine grapes found (so far) were in the Republic of Georgia?

A wonderful learning book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mrthinkndrink on December 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tom Pellechia is to be commended for the amount of research he put in to writing this book. It begins with a mention of the Paleolithic wine discoveries made by Patrick McGovern in the trans-Caucasus region of far western Turkey/eastern Georgia and moves quickly to Mesopotamia, where evidence of an actual wine trade is easier to establish. Though it would be impossible to provide a complete record of the wine trade between then and now, the author does an admirable job of hitting the highlights, of discussing the evolution of the trade and its impact on various societies at various times in history, and of elaborating on the many anecdotes about wine history that are often inaccurately bandied about the contemporary wine world. While it's true that the narrative thread could have been pulled a bit tighter and that the writing suffers from a lack of editing (hence the 4 star rating) this is a valuable read and a solid resource for anyone with an interest in the history of wine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PAUL DEBARY on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pellechia doesn't approach the subject of wine history with the academic rigor of Hugh Johnson, but he looks at it from a different perspective that's perhaps more immediately relevant to today's consumer. As a former vintner and current wine retailer, the author concerns himself more specifically with the history of the wine trade than with the history of wine in general. He has a decent grasp of European history, especially Ancient European History, and the occasional errors he makes don't detract from his basic points. His narrative style is good and he kept my interest throughout. Although the book suffers from occasional typos and other lapses of editing, which become more frequent as the book progresses, his most interesting information is toward the end, where he provides an inside look at the immediate forces that shaped today's industry. Anyone who wants to be a knowledgeable wine consumer could benefit from reading this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rooftree on March 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an enjoyable and highly informative book. I had no idea of the way that wine was so intricately tied up in the progress of civilization. The book covers a vast swath of history and almost the entire planet while describing the evolution of wine and the wine trade.

The author seems to hold few biases and gives an even-handed treatment to the various aspects of this story. The only bias that I detected was towards wine merchants. This is not surprising since he makes his history as a merchant very clear. But I was disappointed that the final sentence, and particularly the final phrase, of this book were so focused on the importance of wine merchants. I read this book as a result of an interest in wine and history. Wine merchants are a necessary part of the story, but from my point of view they're just one cog in the wheel.

As another reviewer mentioned, the author's writing style leaves a little to be desired. This is not a major fault. It's just that I found his sentence structures and choice of words to be a bit awkward at times.

Although I've raised a couple of critical points, I still enthusiastically recommend this book. It's a fairly quick read, is filled with easy-to-digest information, and pulls together many facets of the story of wine. If you like wine and history, this is the book for you.
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