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.
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 KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved