A Natural History of Wine Ian Tattersall, Rob DeSalle, Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrated by)

Publication date:
10 Nov 2015
Yale University Press
264 pages: 222 x 146 x 24mm
62 color illus.
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A captivating survey of the science of wine and winemaking for anyone who has ever wondered about the magic of the fermented grape

An excellent bottle of wine can be the spark that inspires a brainstorming session. Such was the case for Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, scientists who frequently collaborate on book and museum exhibition projects. When the conversation turned to wine one evening, it almost inevitably led the two—one a palaeoanthropologist, the other a molecular biologist—to begin exploring the many intersections between science and wine. This book presents their fascinating, freewheeling answers to the question “What can science tell us about wine?” And vice versa.
Conversational and accessible to everyone, this colorfully illustrated book embraces almost every imaginable area of the sciences, from microbiology and ecology (for an understanding of what creates this complex beverage) to physiology and neurobiology (for insight into the effects of wine on the mind and body). The authors draw on physics, chemistry, biochemistry, evolution, and climatology, and they expand the discussion to include insights from anthropology, primatology, entomology, Neolithic archaeology, and even classical history. The resulting volume is indispensible for anyone who wishes to appreciate wine to its fullest.

Ian Tattersall is curator emeritus in the Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York City. Rob DeSalle is curator of entomology in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, AMNH.

"A Natural History of Wine is modest in size, but not in scope. Co-authors Ian Tattersall, a paleoanthropologist, and Rob DeSalle, a molecular biologist, roam through the natural and social sciences to reveal vistas sure to surprise even well-versed wine buffs."—Peter Hellman, The Wall Street Journal

"Was science ever more intoxicating? This sparkling contribution to the science of wine draws on a staggering array of disciplines, from neurobiology to physics."—Nature

"Like the wine they both clearly love, a deeply rewarding pleasure."—David Williams, The World of Fine Wines

A Wall Street Journal Best Book for Wine Lovers

"A Natural History of Wine fills an important gap in our understanding of how the Eurasian grapevine evolved over millions of years to become the wine grape par excellence."—Patrick E. McGovern, author of Ancient Wine and Uncorking the Past

"An afflatus of the freshest air amid the smog of today's wine blather. Cuts through the unctuous astrology of so much oeno-sophism with, thank Dionysos, the balm of fact. A Lucretius for wine epicures."—William Fitch, Wine Director, Vinegar Hill House

"In this unique and most enjoyable work, the enthusiasm of these two wine-loving scholars is compelling as they examine in depth one of life's greatest pleasures."—Brian Flanagan, Director of Wine Education at Burgundy Wine Company

"Wine is art. Wine is ritual. Wine is culture. Wine is romance. But in the hands of Tattersall and DeSalle, who are boundlessly curious naturalists, we learn that wine is also science. And that enhanced awareness serves only to magnify your appreciation of this timeless beverage."—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist (& Wine Lover), American Museum of Natural History

"Tattersall and DeSalle have given us an original, in-depth yet accessible book which will excite wine lovers and wine professionals alike with new perspectives on the subject . . . A great addition to the literature."—Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier, Rouge Tomate Chelsea