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Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours Hardcover – 25 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846144469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846144462
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 8.2 x 28.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This thousand-plus-page monument combines 21st-century science with the ambition, scale and authority of 19th-century scholarship. It may be the nerdiest wine book ever published (and, trust me, that's a competitive title) but it's also a work of astounding scholarship, and as a piece of book-making, is an outright masterpiece (John Lanchester Guardian, Books of the Year 2012)

Features extraordinarily detailed profiles of close to 1,400 vine varieties employed in the production of wine around the world ... I learned a huge amount ... What struck me most, though, was how engaging and passionate it was. This wasn't a dry cataloguing of grapes, a microscopic look at their DNA; this was a heartfelt exploration of wine history. (Max Allen [Australia's best-known wine writer] Weekend Australian)

This book is a thing of beauty - classic, well written and splendidly illustrated - and will be a point of reference for decades to come. With Christmas coming it may well be worth considering as a present for those wine enthusiasts amongst your friends and family. I am going to put it on my list when I write to Santa that's for sure! (Bordeaux Undiscovered)

A fantastic Christmas present for any wine geek, and one that will provide an endless source of fiendish questions for quiz-setters (Fiona Beckett Guardian)

A magnificent achievement: colossally informative, illuminating and intriguing (Andrew Jefford Decanter.com)

A phenomenal book in its detail and research ... the definitive guide to grape varieties ... an incredible piece of work, detailing 1,368 varieties (out of a possible 10,000 worldwide) with 80 beautiful colour plates - essential for all wine students, wine lovers, wine growers keen to experiment with new grapes - and anyone with a passing interest in grapes (Rose Murray Brown The Scotsman)

This has got to be the wine reference book to top all such guides (S Irene Virbila Los Angeles Times)

Definitely the WINE BOOK of the decade, if not the century! (Wine Appreciation Guild, San Francisco)

Even for the already knowledgeable and deeply well versed, the book offers countless new discoveries, surprises about grapes' true origins and kinships, and a plethora of varieties you've never even heard of (Michel Jamais LivetsGoda.se)

It is almost bible-like, which is perhaps quite fitting. I found the overall appearance quite beautiful. I was especially pleased to see many varieties have a description of the taste of their wines. From a drinker's perspective this must be the most important information (Steve Slatcher Winenous.co.uk)

Wine Grapes sets a new standard; it is a seminal new work (Joelle Thomson Dominion Post and Christchurch Press)

Oenophiles, you have here the ideal book to give others (and yourself!) this Christmas (Victor Franco Polakia.com)

Every wine lover MUST have this on their shelves (René Langdahl Jørgensen Gastro.dk)

Amazingly informative and insightful ... Wine Grapes is an essential reference that belongs on every wine lover's bookshelf, right up there next to The World Atlas of Wine. One of the biggest pleasures of wine is its diversity. Wine Grapes will inspire you to stick your nose and tongue into new aromas and flavors (Elin McCoy Business Week/Bloomberg.com)

There have been books on grapes before, but we were badly in need of a bang up-to-date properly researched book, and we indeed have it in the new Wine Grapes. To me it is already indispensable ... I can already see that this big fat book is a fabulous resource and essential for all serious wine lovers to own (Wink Lorch Winetravelmedia.com)

Wine Grapes is an invaluable resource destined to find a fascinated, albeit niche, audience (Anthony Rose anthonyrosewine.com)

What seemed at first like a prim reference tome to crack when I needed to sort out the 13 different varieties of Lambrusco has a more compelling mystery underneath ... The thoroughness (Listán Negro and Listán Prieto? Not the same thing, Canary Island fans) is matched by a sense of purpose, mostly because equal space is devoted to the esoteric (Grillo, Menu Pineau, Parellada) as to the obvious ... Along the way, it nullifies most simple homilies that litter the world of wine, instead offering a more complicated and interesting tale, one that reinforces wine as one of history's great culturing forces (Jon Bonné San Francisco Chronicle)

It is very rare for me to buy a wine book but I had no hesitation in buying it from Amazon for £78, and cheap for this amount of scholarship and research (Jim Budd, editor Circle [of Wine Writers] Update)

The ultimate reference work on wine grapes (LeVinPerdu.be)

I am impressed by the depth of scientifically justified and clearly formulated answers to a wide range of origin-related questions ... Wine Grapes gains an extra dimension for its attention to the diversity of grape-names ... With this book Jancis Robinson and her team have not only enriched our genetic knowledge of grape varieties, but also made it accessible to all wine enthusiasts who would like to know more about their names, ancestors and characteristics ... The most important wine book since The Oxford Companion to Wine has arrived, and with it Jancis Robinson has universally established her name as wine educator (John Bindels Wijnwijs.eu)

It will undoubtedly race to its place ahead of the few other 'must stock' books in any serious winey-person's library ... the book genuinely breaks new ground, which is (a) quite rare for wine books, and (b) always a joy to fact-nerds like myself. Its main premise is to genetically trace the origins and ancestors of these grape varieties, and there are some surprises here (Sally Easton MW Winewisdom.com)

The most important wine book in years ... I am presented with a tome that will garner my attention for the rest of my life, make me smarter and give me pause to reconsider every time I imagine I might have done something of significance ... this book could easily pass for any writer's proudest moment, the culmination of a life's work (Tom Wark Fermentation)

Wine Grapes - the new book from the @JancisRobinson team - incredible! Staggered by the detail. Seminal work, am speechless, thank you (Ronan Sayburn MS)

In 'Abbuoto to Zweigelt' describes the book as one 'that I think any wine-lover would want to own' (Fiona Beckett Guardian)

An extraordinary new book ... an impressive new encyclopedic doorstop (Eric Asimov New York Times)

Some things you know you just have to have ... What a book! (Actor Sam Neill @ TwoPaddocks)

[the] book is for me a sine qua Doon (Randall Grahm Bonny Doon Vinyard)

The most important event of the century so far... In its way this book is the equivalent to Diderot's Encyclopedie, Johnson's Dictionary or Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. (Robert Slotover Slotovino)

...a beautiful object and a work of scholarship... an essential Christmas present for wine lovers (Henry Jeffreys The Lady)

The grape book to end all grape books (Joanna Simon House & Garden)

The only important new standard work of recent times; revolutionary! (Stuart Pigott)

Despite its density, a page-turner... An epic book (Talia Baiocchi Eater.com)

In short, if you are only going to have one wine grape book, then this is it (Mark Greenaway Vinodiversity.com)

Setting aside the book's beauty and reference value, there's a lot of good reading here... Wine Grapes is awesome, a reference that anyone interested in wine, botany, culture and history should have on hand (Tara Q. Thomas Wine & Spirits: BEST BOOK OF 2012)

According to Wine Grapes, the Pinot family, Noir, Meunier, Gris and Blanc, are genetically identical. In fact more than one type of Pinot has been found in the same vine. It's one of the things I love most about wine is that just when you think you've grasped something, it slips out of your grasp. Buy this amazing work of scholarship and you'll realise quite how little you know. (Henry Jeffreys Henry's World of Booze)

The most complete guide ever to grapes, vines and the bottles they produce. A wine buff's bible (Sunday Telegraph, Stella magazine)

A masterly work ... not only timely, but overdue ... a must-have (Eric Asimov New York Times)

Graced with lavish color plates depicting dozens of important grape varieties, this trusty encyclopedia will inspire novel wine match-ups for favorite recipes and settle wine trivia debates around the dinner table. History buffs, like your reviewer, will absolutely love how the book examines the earliest written references to their favorite grapes; for example we learn that Cabernet grapes trace back to ancient Basque varieties in northeast Spain; who knew! (David Lincoln Ross Saveur)

For anyone serious about wine, this is an endlessly fascinating volume - and a beautifully designed one too (Andrew Neather Evening Standard)

The most magnum of magna opera ... with the authoritative text and lovely illustrations reminiscent of a great, scholarly botanical book of the 19th century with its full colour plates ... a timeless classic (Wine-Pages.com)

Best Wine, Beer and Spirits Book and winner of the Jane Grigson award (IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Awards 2014)

A wine book of the year, 2013 (The Times)

Faiveley International Wine Book of the Year 2013 (Roederer Awards)

Best Viticulture Book 2013 (OIV Awards)

Best Drink Book 2012 (Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards)

Best Beverage Book 2012 (James Beard Awards)

Best Drink Book 2012 (André Simon Awards)

Hall of Fame for Best Wine Book 2012 (Gourmand World Cookbook Awards)

Best Drinks Book 2012 (Wine & Spirits magazine)

About the Author

JANCIS ROBINSON is one of the world's best-known wine writers. In 1984 she was the first person outside the wine trade to qualify as a Master of Wine. The Financial Times wine writer, she is the author/editor of dozens of wine books, including two of the most respected and garlanded, The Oxford Companion to Wine (OUP) and The World Atlas of Wine (Mitchell Beazley). She is widely regarded by the wine-drinking public as an authority on vine varieties. Her award-winning website, www.JancisRobinson.com, has subscribers in 100 countries.

JULIA HARDING passed the notoriously stiff Master of Wine exams at the first attempt, the top student of her year. She is Jancis Robinson's full-time researcher, co-ordinator and associate palate. In this book she has gathered the most up-to-date statistics about wine-grape plantings in every corner of the planet as well as unearthing recommended wine producers for almost every variety.

JOSÉ VOUILLAMOZ, who worked with Professor Carole Meredith and the ground-breaking team of grape geneticists at the University of California at Davis, is a botanist and grape geneticist with an international reputation and is currently based in his native Switzerland. He has discovered numerous unexpected relationships between grape varieties, many of which are exclusive to this book.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kostas Lonis on 8 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A huge book in every possible way one could look at it. Just the thought of the immense work that was required for it makes my had ache. The editing could have been a bit better, with my main concern being the diagrams that are not visible. Of course one could argue that I can download them for the web site (which I did) but that is not why I paid more than 100 euros for it (with the postage). The arguement about how thin are the pages and how small are the letters are valid, but on the other hand the alternative would be a book twice the size and weight. And I do like the fact that its one volume and not two.

This is a serious collective work, that requires a considerable amount of money and I strongly believe is only destined for those who are in the wine trade, wine students or just people that have a strong interest in wine. This is not something you would read casually sitting on the couch. The vast amount of information in this book, will be lost to someone who just drinks a glass of "(I don't care what) wine here and there".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hugh de Lacy on 27 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover
In 1986 Jancis Robinson broke new ground in popular wine writing when she published her book 'Vines Grapes and Wines', a comprehensive and very readable account of the characteristics, geographical areas, vinification techniques and lineage of many of the grape varieties grown around the world. This book is now out of print but is readily available on the second-hand market and is well worth reading if you have not already got a copy.

Like many others, when 'Wine Grapes' appeared three years ago I assumed that this was some form of updated version of the previous book. However this is a very different work, much more academic, covering a larger number of grape varieties and concentrating particularly on the lineage and history of the different varieties.

To write this new book Jancis Robinson teamed up with two co-authors: Julia Harding MW (one of Jancis Robinson key team members in the running of her website) and Dr José Vouillamoz, a Swiss grape geneticist with particular expertise in the DNA profiling of grape varieties. One of the outstanding features of the book is the use of original DNA research by Dr Vouillamoz to elucidate the provenance of many grape varieties whose origins were previously obscure. The results of this research form much of the core of the book and often make fascinating reading; to take one example, the book comprehensively puts to rest the Italian versus American argument about the provenance of the Primitivo / Zinfandel variety and which country has the right to make use of the name Zinfandel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arild Martinsen on 2 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fantastic book on wine grapes. If you are dedicated to wine, this is a must in your library. I was a little dissapointed because I belived it would be pictures of every wine grape in the book, that is by far not the case. But you must admire the incredible amount of work put into this book, and I do not regret buying it at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roel on 13 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is it - the one and only true wine grape reference book. If you're a wine geek or professional, don't hesitate! But don't expect a book which you can read from cover to cover. Instead, this is a reference that you will still use 10, 20, or even 40 years from now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a most valuable reference book which I will dip into for years to come. What a shame that photographs of the grape varieties are not included in the text. The paintings of grapes grouped together are neither useful to identify the grapes in situ or very in keeping with such a good reference work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the ultimate reference to wine grapes and should resolve a lot of arguments. Every winemaker wishing to deal with non-mainstream or "alternative varieties" should have this book in their library.

P.S. As far as I know, I am not related to Julia Harding ;-)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If there is only one book about grapes you should have that the one to have. Everything what you where ever wondering about in the grape world is hire, nice and concise a lot of discovery to be make so enjoy it....................LJK.
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By Fedor Bachmann on 26 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book represents years and years of research work, a fabulous enterprise in collaboration of 3 experts in the field of genetic variants of different grapes, of the history and of the culinary appreciation of wine.
Fedor B
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