Today's wine industry is characterized by regional differences not only in the wines themselves but also in the business models by which these wines are produced, marketed, and distributed. In Old World countries such as France, Spain, and Italy, small family vineyards and cooperative wineries abound. In New World regions like the United States and Australia, the industry is dominated by a handful of very large producers. This is the first book to trace the economic and historical forces that gave rise to very distinctive regional approaches to creating wine.
James Simpson shows how the wine industry was transformed in the decades leading up to the First World War. Population growth, rising wages, and the railways all contributed to soaring European consumption even as many vineyards were decimated by the vine disease phylloxera. At the same time, new technologies led to a major shift in production away from Europe's traditional winemaking regions. Small family producers in Europe developed institutions such as regional appellations and cooperatives to protect their commercial interests as large integrated companies built new markets in America and elsewhere. Simpson examines how Old and New World producers employed diverging strategies to adapt to the changing global wine industry.
Creating Wine includes chapters on Europe's cheap commodity wine industry; the markets for sherry, port, claret, and champagne; and the new wine industries in California, Australia, and Argentina.
James Simpson is professor of economic history and institutions at the Carlos III University of Madrid. He is the author of Spanish Agriculture: The Long Siesta, 1765-1965.
"[T]his book . . . has a decidedly, and fittingly, scholarly tone. . . . There are some fascinating historical facts, including the widespread nature of fraud in the wine business."--Lettie Teague, Wall Street Journal
"Anyone interested in the economic history of wine and drink should read this book."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"[T]here can be no doubt that wine buffs whose interest in what they drink stretches rather further than the supermarket price and the colour of the stuff in the bottle (why read the label?) will find this book fascinating."--Books4Spain.com
"In writing Creating Wine, James Simpson has done a great service to those who are interested in how a traditional industry inherited the modern, highly regulated, market structure we observe in places like France today. The book is important and carefully written. Anyone interested in wine or the interaction between markets and modern democratic states should buy it."--EH.Net Reviews
"Given Simpson's excellent job in describing the evolution of the industry, this book should find a large audience."--Choice
"Creating Wine draws on richly diverse primary sources from the New and Old World to explain how modern wine came into being during the first period of globalization in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Deftly written and immensely entertaining, it is hard to put down and is a must-read for anyone interested in the history or economics of wine and food. Bravo!"--James T. Lapsley, author of Bottled Poetry: Napa Winemaking from Prohibition to the Modern Era
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