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The History of Wine in 100 Bottles: From Bacchus to Bordeaux and Beyond

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Winemaking is as old as civilization itself and wine has always been more than just a drink. For thousands of years, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to its current status as a vast global industry, the history of wine has been directly related to major social, cultural, religious and economic changes. This fascinating and entertaining book takes a look at 100 bottles that mark a significant change in the evolution of wine and winemaking and captures the innovations and discoveries that have had the biggest impact on the history of ‘bottled poetry’. From goatskin to the German Ratskeller casks and invention of the glass wine bottle, from the short onion-shaped bottles of the 1720s to the tall cylindrical bottles of the 1780s, why Bordeaux, Burgundy and Hoch have their own distinctive bottle shape to the distinctive Paul Masson carafe of the 1970s. Other stories cover the first cork-topped bottles to screw caps, bag-in-box, cans and cartons, early wine labels once glue was strong enough, the first wine labels to be produced by a vineyard (and not a merchant as previously) and commissioned artwork by the 20th century’s most iconic artists for labels on high-end bottles; historically important and unique the oldest unopened, the most expensive sold at auction, the rarest; wines from the oldest vineyard in production, from the driest place on earth, from the highest and lowest vineyards and the most northern and southern. Oz Clarke also writes about the people who have influenced wine through the centuries, from the medieval Cistercian monks of Burgundy who first thought of place as an important aspect of wine’s identity, through scientists like Pasteur and Peynaud who improved key technical aspects of winemaking, to 20th-century giants like Robert Mondavi and Robert Parker Jr. Oz also talks about famous vintages, from the 1727 Rüdesheimer Apostelwein to the first Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in 1979 and today’s cult wines from Bordeaux and California. Word Count – 55,000

226 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 7, 2015

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Oz Clarke

173 books7 followers

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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
1,572 reviews1 follower
August 31, 2015
Clever idea. Maybe my expectations were off but this didn't have enough detail to engage me.
Profile Image for Leanne.
592 reviews50 followers
July 31, 2020
Fantastic and fun to read stories about epic wines... from bottle shapes to Hungarian Tokaji and Nazu Wines to Parker Points... highly opinionated fun!
99 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2020
Oz Clarke taps into a wealth of personal wine knowledge to present a concise, yet informative history of major moments in wine. Even if you are at the beginning of your wine tasting adventure, you will likely find many relatable moments. For instance, my first bottle of wine was a Yellow Tail Shiraz that I bought from a CVS. There is a moment talking about Austrailian Wines, and the no-nonsense consistent approach that allows for a fairly consistent, branded wine (and I still maintain to this day that you could do much worse at the price point). However, my favorite part of the read was definitely the beginning of the book, and learning a bit more about the role that wine played in the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Highly reccomend the read!
April 16, 2020
Many wine books, due to the nature of detail when talking about wine, are very dense, and almost encyclopedia-like and not in a bad way. This book is not one of those. It is organized and written in a very easy to read way, 1-2 pages on each wine/wine event/wine moment. This is a very engaging book and great for people who are not familiar with wine at all and want to start learning more or just be more informed. They put the whole wine business in context. It is multi-layered, you can find recommendations on wine, places to visit, wine regions. It is one of those books that I think is a classic and needs to be in any wine library. It is a good read!!!!
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
193 reviews5 followers
November 11, 2019
A must-read for wine enthusiasts. It's not the 100 "bottles" per se that matter - many of them are by the author's admission of dubious provenance or stand-ins for a larger theme. But it's basically a history of wine over the last 2,000+ years with various wines thrown in as exemplars of an event or idea (e.g. "labeling wine from a particular producer was a big deal" or "you can make good wine in South Africa," etc.) I wish I had bought the physical book rather than the Kindle version as the photos and layout do shine that way. Overall my favorite book about wine.
3 reviews1 follower
March 24, 2019
Fun read. This is my field of study so for me it was refreshing and not as dense as a reference book. I liked the framework of the book and thought it read as a well organized narrative take on wine history in small stories that kept a quick and engaging pace.
Profile Image for Tanya K.
157 reviews24 followers
November 12, 2022
A collection or charming stories about wine, each fitted into a short chapter. A good addition to any enthusiast at the start of their journey, but not completely new and exciting to most people who worked with wine before (can confirm).
Profile Image for Devin Bostick.
37 reviews
June 8, 2018
Really fun page stories on wines or styles you know most of if you’re s wine drinker - but facts you don’t. Interesting “how’s” and “why’s” to wine. Worth reading. He’s funny too!
Profile Image for Misha.
4 reviews
July 17, 2018
A great collection of historically important moments for wine. Most crucially accessible to people with not a lot of wine knowledge!
Profile Image for Dave.
141 reviews
January 25, 2022
A good throughline, but a bit freewheeling and light on detail right when it gets interesting. A nice place to start.
Profile Image for Svitlana.
98 reviews5 followers
April 12, 2019
A great book if you are interested in wine and want to know more about its history. Basically, it is a set of short stories about major names, discoveries or inventions in wine realm. Including photos:)

If words Chateau Margaux, Bordeaux left bank, Saint Emillion or Auslese are familiar to you but you want to know more about the story behind them - read this book. Otherwise, I would recommend to start first with some wine glossary or Wine folly first.

At times I got somewhat disturbed with too informal language, but consider it to be a great read anyway.
Profile Image for Owen.
237 reviews
May 16, 2016
My boss let me borrow his copy of this book, raving about Oz's writing style and the ease of picking up individual stories. And it is true! Oz Clarke takes what could be a dry subject and gives us many little vignettes across the many millenia of wine production and trade. The stories are light and ... I am sorry. I am not intending wine puns, but they just seem to ... flow from the subject. Please forgive me.

Anyway, it is easy to pick up this book and open to any random page and find something interesting and, yes, fun to read. Whether pontificating on the ancient Egyptians, or ruminating on more modern events such as wine in a box, Oz is engaging. He brings these stories to the people. And though I am no vinophile, I defintely learned a lot and enjoyed it.
46 reviews1 follower
May 2, 2016
Well done and illustrated.

I have been reading Oz Clarke books for several years now and they do not disappoint . Well-researched and full of timely information and trends. I always finish one of his books and find myself amazed at what I still learn . He's very entertaining in his writing style and honest in his opinions.
Profile Image for Burcu.
58 reviews
November 3, 2015
It is a fantastic book for a wine enthusiast, it gives a lot of information about the history of wine, the development of wine industry, starting point of the many wine companies of today. The idea of giving all these under 100 different titles is brilliant, it does not exhaust you and also gives you the chance to enjoy the book page by page in 100 days. I didn't want it to end.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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