Drinking wine can be traced back 8,000 years, yet the wines we
drink today are radically different from those made in earlier
eras. While its basic chemistry remains largely the same, wine's
social roles have changed fundamentally, being invented and
reinvented many times over many centuries.
In Inventing Wine, Paul Lukacs tells the enticing story of
wine's transformation from a source of spiritual and bodily
nourishment to a foodstuff valued for the wide array of pleasures
it can provide. He chronicles how the prototypes of contemporary
wines first emerged when people began to have options of what to
drink, and he demonstrates that people selected wine for
dramatically different reasons than those expressed when doing so
was a necessity rather than a choice.
During wine's long history, men and women imbued wine with
different cultural meanings and invented different cultural roles
for it to play. The power of such invention belonged both to those
drinking wine and to those producing it. These included tastemakers
like the medieval Cistercian monks of Burgundy who first thought of
place as an important aspect of wine's identity; nineteenth-century
writers such as Grimod de la Reyniere and Cyrus Redding who strived
to give wine a rarefied aesthetic status; scientists like Louis
Pasteur and Emile Peynaud who worked to help winemakers take more
control over their craft; and a host of visionary vintners who
aimed to produce better, more distinctive-tasting wines, eventually
bringing high-quality wine to consumers around the globe.
By charting the changes in both wine's appreciation and its
production, Lukacs offers a fascinating new way to look at the
present as well as the past."
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