Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.75 shipping
Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours Hardcover – November 6, 2012
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
James Beard Awards, Best Beverage Book (2012)
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Hall of Fame for Best Wine Book (2012)
Wine & Spirits magazine, Best Drinks Book (2012)
Roederer Awards, Faiveley International Wine Book of the Year (2013)
OIV Awards, Best Viticulture Book (2013)
Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, Best Drink Book (2012)
André Simon Awards, Best Drink Book (2012)
A fantastic Christmas present for any wine geek, and one that will provide an endless source of fiendish questions for quiz-setters (The Guardian)
‘A magnificent achievement: colossally informative, illuminating and intriguing (Decanter.com)
This book is a thing of beauty - classic, well written and splendidly illustrated - and will be a point of reference for decades to come. (Bordeaux Undiscovered)
From the Back Cover
An indispensable book for every wine lover, from some of the world's leading wine experts.
Where do wine grapes come from and how are grape varieties related to one another? What is the historical background of each one? Where are they grown? What sort of wines do they make?
Using cutting-edge DNA analysis and detailing almost 1,400 distinct grape varieties, as well as myriad correct (and incorrect) synonyms, this book examines grapes and wine as never before. Here is a complete, alphabetically presented profile of all grape varieties of relevance to the wine lover, charting the relationships between them and including unique and astounding family trees, their characteristics in the vineyard, and—most important—what the wines made from them taste like.
Presented in a stunning design with eight-page gatefolds that reveal the family trees, and a rich variety of full-color illustrations from Viala and Vermorel's century-old classic ampelography, the text will deepen readers' understanding of grapes and wine with every page. Combining Jancis Robinson's worldview and nose for good writing and good wines with Julia Harding's research, expertise, and attention to detail plus Dr. Vouillamoz's unique level of scholarship, Wine Grapes offers essential and original information in greater depth and breadth than has ever been available before. This is a book for wine students, wine experts, and wine lovers everywhere.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Now comes this new volume, which is anything but pocket-sized. Massive and slip-cased, it has the gravitas of an aged Premier Cru. For each of nearly 1400 varieties there is an entry that gives you its color (from among five choices), common synonyms (for some widely grown grapes there are many), other varieties it is often mistaken for, and what is known of its origins and heritage (relying on recent, extensive, DNA testing of wine grapes). Then there is a brief summary of how it grows (vigor, resistance, when it ripens, and the like) and where it grows. As warranted, there is a discussion of what it tastes like and the quality of the wine it produces. Many of these grapes are actually very marginal from a wine making viewpoint, and are of interest for historical or relationship reasons. (I do miss the little sliding bar from the earlier book that suggested at a glance the likelihood of the grape producing a decent wine.)
The relationship information is fascinating. Selected grapes have a family tree associated with their entry. Looking at Cabernet Sauvignon we learn that Chenin Blanc is a sister of Sauvignon Blanc and, hence, an aunt of Cabernet Sauvignon. Freisa turns out to be a cross of Nebbiolo with an unknown grape. The foldout genealogy of Pinot Noir is remarkable. Who would have guessed that Lagrein is a granddaughter of Pinot, while Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are both great granddaughters? On a down side, the figure is sewn so deeply into the binding that part of the tree can't be read.
I decided to check on a grape of local (but not wine drinking!) interest. In the earlier book there is an entry for the Mission grape, the first wine grape brought to California; there is was associated with the Monica grape. The current volume doesn't have an entry for Mission (it has entries pointing you to a main entry for some synonyms, but not for others). Checking the index it turns out that Mission is actually Listan Prieto. (Which I'd certainly never heard of before.)
There are also beautiful color plates, originally published in France over a century ago, of selected grapes. (Interestingly, one is labeled "Mission"!)
But there are, alas, some imperfections. I've mentioned how the Pinot family tree is bound so that it is not all readable. While the paper in a volume this size is necessarily thin, the see-through on some pages is annoying; more opaque paper would have been nice. The label on the front of the slip case is somewhat crooked, and the one on the edge quite so. Production quality could have been better.
Had this been a standard book at half or even two-thirds the price it would have been an easy five stars. But in a slip-cased book at this list price you expect a little better attention to detail than this book manages. So I reluctantly drop my rating to four stars. Still an excellent investment for or gift to a devoted oenophile, it is not quite the value it could have been with a little better physical execution.
We're going to try writing to the publisher to see if we can get separate sheets of the full fold outs. After all, I paid for them.
This seems to be a very good reference that one would keep throughout a career in wine. No point in cheaping out on the book design and publication.
Kay Gray and Elmer Swenson had a child. Her name is Brianna. She has proven to be a fairly popular girl, particularly in the American Midwest, where the winters hardly faze her. Some have slandered Brianna -- "She comes from a promiscuous family," they say. It is true that her family tree is an amazing sight, with many clans represented, including the labrusca, rupestris, and aestivalis. But let's be charitable. Brianna is a grape, after all.
Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including their Origins and Flavors, is a big book, weighing seven pounds, comprising 1,242 pages. It was a massive undertaking, but its main pleasures are often not its size or its comprehensiveness. No, the joy here is in the littler things: the grape family trees, the DNA profiling, the grapes' geography, the authors' odd asides, and the lists of good producers of each grape.
This book has laudably big ambitions, but often stumbles. Like new software, version 1.0 of Wine Grapes is incomplete and not always user-friendly. Promising, yes, but one hopes it will assume a more perfect form in the future. But in the here and now, should you buy this book?
There are some reasons you may want to keep your hard-earned money:
• It is very expensive ($90 and up).
• It is awkwardly sized and does not have the format or illustrations that make for a good coffee table book. The color plates in the book are attractive, but not especially useful. Mainly, they seem to be a way to justify the book's price.
• This volume will not help you identify that unusual vine spotted by the side of the road. Unlike a field guide for trees or wildflowers, Wine Grapes doesn't include any detailed scientific drawings or descriptors. It is useless in these circumstances.
Then what is the book good for? In the preface the authors suggest that
…this book should prove a boon for growers trying to decide which vines might thrive in their particular circumstances…
Unfortunately, Wine Grapes is not really up to this task either. Certainly a grower could page through this very large book, noting grapes that might be suitable for his fields. It would be a good starting point. But there is no way for the grower to cross-match his particular circumstances to the grape varieties. An internet-based database would be much more useful than this book.
Nor is the information on each grape variety in Wine Grapes systematic or comprehensive. Ideally, the grape grower would like information on degree days, the length of the growing season, the suitability of different types of soils, and the susceptibility of the grape to various pests, at the least.
But the quality of information for each grape in this book is highly variable. Even major grape varieties lack information on degree day requirements, and for many grapes there is little information of any kind. For instance, the entry for Biancolella reads only "Late ripening." For some varieties the heading "Viticultural Characteristics" is simply missing.
The task of assembling complete information on 1368 grape varieties was no doubt extremely daunting, so it is understandable that the listed viticultural characteristics of the GF-GA 48-12 grape are sketchy. What is a bit hard to understand is the authors seeming indifference to what is known. For example, Maynard Amerine did extensive research on the compatibility of grape varieties and climatic zones many years ago, but his work is ignored. Instead, the authors treat Dr. Gregory V. Jones' (preliminary) "Climate Maturity Groupings" as if they are entirely new and novel.
The strength of Wine Grapes lies in three areas: the history and parentage of the grape (and synonyms for the grape), where the grape is grown, and which vintners produce the best versions of the variety.
The history and parentage sections are often very arcane, suitable reading for academics only. But sometimes they are fascinating too. Who knew that Savagnin is one of the oldest grape varieties or that Savagnin and Gewürtztraminer are genetically identical? In this case the DNA studies seem to have created some more opportunities for research. If Savagnin and Gewürtztraminer are genetically identical, why do they taste so different?
The section for each entry profiling where the grapes are grown lists France first, followed by Italy, Spain, Portugal and other European countries. This is useful information, but also awkward. In the case of Cabernet Franc, for example, plantings in Spain are described before those in the United States, even though America grows substantially more of the grape. No figure is given for total production in the U.S. Instead, plantings in each of the states (primarily California, Washington, New York and Virginia) are described. This makes one wonder. Wouldn't this be a better book if it were primarily a collection of maps, a "World Atlas of Grapes?"
Good producers for each grape and region are also listed, a real plus for those seeking new vinous experiences. Looking for a Minnesota Brianna? Check out Parley Lake Winery or Indian Island Winery.
Wine Grapes was certainly a substantial undertaking, and it is a valuable resource for academics and the geekiest among us. One can imagine a better book though. This improved book would be map-based and include more information on climate and soil types. This book might also come with a web site and database that would truly make it a valuable resource for growers. I look forward to Wine Grapes v.2.0.