Cover image for The Oxford companion to wine
The Oxford companion to wine
Robinson, Jancis.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxvii, 819 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), maps, portraits (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1994.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TP548 .O76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Hailed by Frank J. Prial in The New York Times as "a required reference for anyone who is serious about wine," and by Anthony Dias Blue as "one of the definitive reference books on the subject," The Oxford Companion to Wine won every major wine book award, including the Julia Child and the James Beard awards. Now, Jancis Robinson has completely revised this masterpiece, adding over 500 new entries and thoroughly updating most of the rest.
Lavishly illustrated, with over 200 black and white pictures, 31 full color plates, and 31 maps of every wine region in the world, the Companion is the only wine volume to combine science, history, geography, wine varieties, social and cultural information, and much more. Ranging from Abruzzi and armagnac to Zimbabwe and Zinfandel, from Dionysian revels in ancient Greece to today's leading wine research centers, its 3,400 alphabetically arranged entries explore all aspects of wine, including the latest advances in viticulture and enology. There are in-depth discussions of the climates and grape varieties of great wine regions of the world, and numerous biographies ranging from Dom Perignon to Robert Parker. The book discusses vintner's terms, business and legal aspects, and related topics such as distilled and fortified wines. All technical terms are fully explained, and the hundreds of useful drawings and photographs illustrate key processes. New features include a complete guide to geographical names, a vintage chart, an overview of recent wine prices and investment, and a navigation chart to the Companion.
The ultimate reference on wine and wine-making, The Oxford Companion to Wine is the perfect volume to enhance a lifetime's enjoyment of this intoxicating topic.

Author Notes

Jancis Robinson is a wine writer and broadcaster with an international reputation.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

First published in 1994, The Oxford Companion to Wine has become a mainstay of culinary reference collections. Author Robinson is one of the world’s leading authorities on wine and the first person outside the wine trade to pass the very difficult Master of Wine examinations. The third edition continues to offer definitive information on all aspects of wine, from growing grapes to tasting the end product. The new edition contains approximately 4,000 alphabetical entries on a wide variety of topics. Entries are clearly written, ranging in length from a few lines to several pages and including regions (Bordeaux, Chile); grape varieties (Bombino Bianco, Cabernet Sauvignon); viticulture and oenology terms (Cask ageing, Deacidification); history (Amphora, Ancient vine varieties); producers and brands (Mondavi, Yellow Tail); and the vocabulary of tasting (Nose, Oak flavour). There are more than 400 new entries covering subjects such as Brands, Co-fermentation, Globalization, and Precision viticulture. Entries for Omar Khayyam, medieval literature, and wine in English literature acknowledge the influence of wine on culture, while entries on individual countries that produce wine demonstrate its universality. The scientific and practical aspects appear also, with articles on mechanical harvesting, Louis Pasteur and pasteurization, and the health effects of wine consumption. Maps of the world’s important wine regions as well as charts, diagrams, and color photographs supplement the text. The fourth edition of The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia (DK, 2005) has more illustrations, pictures of wine labels, and a tasting primer; but The Oxford Companion to Wine covers the broader cultural, political, and historical aspects of wine. It also has an appendix with lists of controlled appellations and their grape varieties as well as statistics on wine production and consumption by country. The two works complement each other well. Reasonable prices will allow libraries to own both."--"Bibel, Barbara" Copyright 2007 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This essential addition to reference collections breaks new ground. Unlike the excellent works by Alexis Lichine (e.g., Alexis Lichine's Guide to the Wines and Vineyards of France, Knopf, 1989. 4th ed.) or Hugh Johnson (e.g., Vintage, S. & S., 1992), which are standard sources on the growing, buying, drinking, tasting, and enjoying of wine, this work broadens the discussion to "less obvious topics, such as animals (their function as vine pests), auctions, the specific influence of the British, and Australians, on the world of wine, fashion, fraud, global overproduction, wine in literature and art, and the role of water throughout wine production." About 3000 alphabetically arranged entries range from the most familiar topics, such as "California," to the quite obscure (e.g., "Xynisteri," a white grape grown on Cyprus). Yet those less interested in the esoterica of wine will surely find the information they seek, as about 70 percent of the book is concerned with specific wines and areas of wine production. There is also practical guidance on such matters as serving wine and matching the right wine with the right food. Editor Robinson, who writes regularly for the Wine Spectator, is widely respected for her taste and abilities. Here she assembles an international cast of over 70 experts. Since only a small number are from the United States and since many may be unfamiliar to the average American reader, this work is also valuable as a kind of directory of authorities on wine-related subjects. While erudite, this book is not dry; historical anecdotes abound. The text is complemented by over 250 fascinating illustrations, which include an aroma wheel, maps, a red wine-making chart, labels, a varietal geneaology, a wine-tasting sheet used by judges, and more. This book, which offers something for everyone, is highly recommended.-Wendy Miller, Lexington P.L., Ky. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

These two publications are welcome additions to the literature of wine, grape varieties, and factors relating to wine quality. Both are useful and beautiful, but the scope and quality of the two differ; the Larousse is of more general interest, and the Oxford is of greater academic value. In his foreword to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine, Foulkes describes the book's premise as a "balanced approach to wine." The editors of this attractive book took on the difficult task of describing the conditions, grape varieties, and wine production methods of all the world's wine-producing regions. The effort succeeds in most cases, but the size of the task means that some descriptions are superficial. A comment about manufacture is needed. It is also bothersome to find the term "microclimate" continuing to be incorrectly applied as a definition for site climate: the correct term is "mesoclimate." This mistake is not made by the editor of Oxford Companion to Wine, which is the best general book on grapes and wine that this reviewer has ever read. Robinson brings together more than 80 contributors whose names read like a who's who in viticulture and enology, and the result is at once erudite and beautiful. It is a joy to read clear and accurate commentary about such diverse subjects as "crop thinning," "malolactic fermentation," and "pearl glands" and to find accurate, unbiased descriptions of the potential value of "hybrids." (And, as mentioned above, the accurate description and usage of climatic terms is especially satisfying.) Though both these titles are suitable for public and undergraduate collections, libraries that can afford only one wine reference book should purchase The Oxford Companion to Wine, which will be an important addition to the library of anyone who is serious about grapes and wine and an essential purchase for academic collections at all levels. G. S. Howell; Michigan State University

Table of Contents

Mapsp. vi
Preface To The Second Editionp. vii
Preface to the First Editionp. viii
Contributorsp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xii
List of New Entriesp. xv
Complete List of Entries by Subjectp. xvii
Note to the Readerp. xxviii
Alphabetical Entriesp. 1
Appendix 1 Complete list of controlled appellations and their permitted grape varietiesp. 793
Appendix 2 Vineyard area, wine production, and per capita wine consumption by countryp. 803
Appendix 3 Fine wine investment in the 1990sp. 807
Appendix 4 Guide to vintagesp. 818
Picture creditsp. 820