Wine Grapes – The Most Complete Guide to Vine Varieties and their Wines Ever

Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and Dr José Vouillamoz is due to be released for sale in the second half of October and is published by Allen Lane.

Many wine enthusiasts, myself included, have been eager to get their hands on a copy and the previews do not disappoint. This book is a thing of beauty – classic, well written and splendidly illustrated – and will be a point of reference for decades to come.

With 1,200 pages covering 1,368 vine varieties and weighing over 7lb the book took over 4 years to write. Not surprisingly it contains an awe inspiring amount of knowledge but is so elegantly put together it is easy to read as well as being pleasing on the eye.

The book explains where wine grapes come from and how vine varieties are related to each other; the historical background of each grape variety, where they are they grown, what sort of wines they make – and importantly, who makes the best wines from them and what their wines taste like.

With growing interest in lesser known and long forgotten grape varieties from distant parts of the globe as well as those discovered closer to home Wine Grapes offers an indispensable source of knowledge for wine lovers.

Its full-colour illustrations are from the Viala and Vermorel’s century-old Ampelography and the book has eight-page gatefolds that reveal unique and often astounding pedigree diagrams.

Wine Grapes uses cutting edge DNA analysis and charts the relationships between grape varieties – some of them are exclusive to the book, never having been published before – including many ground-breaking family trees.

Only yesterday I read that thanks to Dr José Vouillamoz’s DNA profiling of the mysterious Cabernet Gernischt from Ningxia in China has shown it to be identical to the Carmenère best known in Chile. I had been searching for the answer to the strange origins of this grape in China for nearly a year and am delighted that we know what it is – see my blog What is China’s Cabernet Gernischt?

You can pre-order Wine Grapes and communicate with Jancis and her co-authors Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz at

With Christmas coming it may well be worth considering as a present for those wine enthusiasts amongst your friends and family. I am going to put it on my list when I write to Santa that’s for sure!

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