Wine: The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade

Overview


The grape pre-dates humans, so it's hard to know who discovered wine. However, archeological and other discoveries have made it easier to find this out since wine was used to meet spiritual needs. At least, this is the story that is usually told. But when civilization began about 8,000 years ago it didn't take long for wine to move from an instrument of spirituality to a dominant economic power; all it took was the development of trade. Thereafter, the life and death of certain cultures often depended upon the ...
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Overview


The grape pre-dates humans, so it's hard to know who discovered wine. However, archeological and other discoveries have made it easier to find this out since wine was used to meet spiritual needs. At least, this is the story that is usually told. But when civilization began about 8,000 years ago it didn't take long for wine to move from an instrument of spirituality to a dominant economic power; all it took was the development of trade. Thereafter, the life and death of certain cultures often depended upon the fortunes of wine trading. Wine may have even sparked the earliest wars. Presenting its history from a commercial perspective, Wine reveals how the historically powerful wine trade has been a catalyst in many important developments throughout the ages such as sea mercantilism, early glass blowing, cooperage and cork production, trade fairs and festivals, advertising and promotion, the survival of civilization during the so-called Dark Ages, war financing, placating or pacifying troops, tranquilizing marauders, politics, literature and more.
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Editorial Reviews

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 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Pellechia has written about food and wine for 20 years; he is the author of numerous articles as well as the book Garlic, Wine and Olive Oil: Historical Anecdotes and Recipes. The author is also an experienced winemaker, educator, and seller. Pellechia lends his extensive knowledge to this well-researched book about the wine trade, which uniquely deviates from similar titles focusing on food pairings and consumer education. It is also global in coverage, charting the wine trade from ancient Mesopotamia to the current U.S. market. As a popular and respected expert on the subject, Pellechia offers a mixture of historical, geographical, and economic analysis. His love for the topic is evident in his depth of coverage and engaging tone. Readers with less interest in wine may find Pellechia's presentation of the geopolitical events surrounding the topic satisfying; for the causal reader, though, there may be more information than desired. Recommended for special libraries and public libraries with strong cookery collections.-Meagan Storey, Virginia Wesleyan Coll., Norfolk Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560258711
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/10/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Pellechia has been in the wine business for twenty years. In 1985, he founded a small boutique winery, Cana Vineyards, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. His articles on wine have appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, Wines & Vines, Slow Food International, Slow Wine International (Italy), and Decanter (UK). He lives in Upstate New York.
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Table of Contents

1 The discovery of wine 3
2 Of water, wine, and early civilization 9
3 The wine trade crosses the seas 17
4 Egypt 25
5 Classical Greece and Etruria 31
6 The rise 43
7 Into darkness 55
8 The French, Germans, and Hungarians 69
9 The Middle Ages 77
10 Exploration 95
11 Innovations 115
12 Going global 131
13 Disaster 143
14 Modernization 157
15 New rules and wars 169
16 The first half 185
17 The second half 211
Epilogue : the future 235
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    A fascinating history of the wine trade.

    Thomas Pellechia:'Wine: The Eight-Thousand-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade.' This book won my heart from the dedication page, and held it throughout. Pellechia dedicates the book to my nearby wine merchant, the one with a great selection and a pleasant, knowledgeable staff. Thomas believes, as I do, that establishing a good working relationship with an excellent wine merchant is essential to learning about the joys of wine. In his final chapter, he describes some of the changes in the US wine market that have made establishing such a relationship even easier. Of course, one has to exercise a degree of caution in dealing with any retailer. Today it's important to be sure your retailer is selling wines that have been shipped in refrigerated reefers to avoid spoilage from heat damage. George Washington gave similar advice to avoid other shipping problems: 'I should be glad in that case, to have it well secured against adulteration for I had rather lose the whole, than to have part taken out and the deficiency supplied with water, which is too common a practice with the river Shippers.' Letter to Lamar Hill Bisset on September 1, 1785. Wine merchants can be wonderful teachers as anyone following my recent notes on wines sent to me by Andrea Robinson can attest. Another example: Thomas George Shaw, a Scotman who was active in the London wine trade between 1830 and 1865, wrote a wonderful history of dealing with wine during those years, 'Wine, the Vine and the Cellar', 1864. He is particularly good on his successful efforts to reduce the import duty on wine, and quite interesting on the qualities of wines from various parts of the world. His advice to wine lovers rings true today: 'I have seen and tasted and drunk as much [wine], and have, probably, as good a taste as the generality of men but I know by long experience, that I often form a very erroneous opinion, and like a wine one day and dislike it the next: and every other wine merchant might make a similar statement.' Pellechia takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through the business of buying, transporting and selling wines through thousands of years. He illustrates his text with maps carefully keyed to his story, interesting quotes from sometimes unlikely sources, and footnote like facts sprinkled thorughout the text. I particularly enjoyed browsing through the bibliogrpahy. It contains some of the great wine reference books, of course, but also includes some very good history books, books that you might not think of as having anything to do with wine. Pellechia demonstrates that you would be wrong. As Robin Garr writes: 'If you believe, as I do, that the intriguing subject of wine appreciation is broad enough to encompass a more comprehensive range of vision than a mere scorecard, then you're going to love Thomas Pellechia's 'Wine: The Eight-Thousand-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade.' Pellechia, a respected wine educator and stylish wine writer, wine merchant and wine maker, brings that background to bear in this brisk, intelligent yet highly readable overview of the long and intriguing story of wine since its earliest recorded appearance in ancient Persia. Pellechia's experience uniquely qualifies him to outline the history of the wine trade, a business that may just be the real 'world's oldest profession.'' From the back cover. Strongly recommended for anyone intersted in the history of the wine trade. Regards, Bob

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