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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2006
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
on November 3, 2006
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2012
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
on October 12, 2012
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2007
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2006
This is a great book that is an in depth view of how wine evolved to be traded among empires and countries. I was startled to learn as I read this book that there was so much political haggling of wine in the early ages. This shows that wine has always been an important product of enjoyment for the ages. The book is a little too in depth at times, but you wouldn't want it the other way, so it is good. I enjoyed this book as a bathroom book and had enjoyable mornings reading this.
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on July 19, 2013
The book was purchased as a gift and the beneficiary was very pleased after reviewing the book. There were interesting historical stories and pictures. Great gift to a wine lover.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2006
Anyone who is serious about wine and the business of wine needs to have this book in their library. It ties together the history of the wine business with rest of human history. I had no idea the wine trade was as old as it is --
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23 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2006
As soon as I heard about this book in a wine newsletter, I ordered it from Amazon. As a Ph.D. student with an interest in markets of all kinds and a lover of wine, I had tremendous hopes for this book.

Though the first few chapters on the origins of the wine trade held my attention, rarely did I find the anecdotes and bits of trivia that I had hoped to share with friends over a bottle or two. The book reads like a high school history book, which would be fine if the writing flowed smoothly and made the less-than-exciting content easy to absorb. Though I make no claim of being a great writer, I found the writing style extremely distracting, almost to the point of making the book unreadable. The overuse of cliches and the awkwardness of sentences is so prevalent that I caught myself counting how many consecutive paragraphs contained some hackneyed phrase or a sentence with a semicolon, and had to go back and reread a page or two.

When I ordered this book, I would have been delighted with either of two things: a light, summer read that would move quickly and provide a nice break from my school reading, or an in-depth history of the wine business that I could use as a reference for a future paper about the economics of the wine industry. Unfortunately, the book is neither. The poor quality of the writing (changing of verb tenses, incorrect use of gerunds, etc...) makes the book an effort to get through, and one that any college-level writing teacher would have a field day attacking with a red pen. And though I have no problem struggling through a difficult book if the payoff is a thorough understanding of the topic, after finishing this book I was left with the emtpy feeling that I knew little more about the history of wine business than I had before reading it.
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