Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wine Politics Book Review

Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, by Tyler Colman,  grew out of Colman's PhD dissertation and it shows. Definitely an academic framework, but, to me, that adds the necessary structure to this edifying book. A history of the modern wine trade using France and Napa Valley as primary examples, this not only hits the big items that many of us know about events that have happened, but fleshes them out with behind the scenes intrigue, machinations, and odd alliances.

Colman's stated goal is to illuminate "how distributors, mobsters, environmentalists, regulators, and critics all have a hand in producing, selling, and delivering the glass of wine we will drink tonight." He achieves this by not being judgmental, though it must have been difficult when writing about the Drys, the Fred Franzias of the wine world, and mostly about the roadblocks distributors have thrown up to consumers' enjoyment of whatever wine they like. Definitely a recommended read.

About the Author: Tyler Colman teaches wine classes at New York University and the University of Chicago and is the the author of the website He contributed to the third edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine and his articles have appeared in Food & Wine and Wine & Spirits.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of the University of California Press. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the book a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.

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