The New Viticulture is now out, and I think it’s my best yet, with a video explaining the contents

Today I have launched my new book! I mentioned in Regenerative Viticulture that this was on the way: I said it was due to be published later this year (2022). Well, this was hopelessly ambitious, because the new book, titled The New Viticulture: the science of growing grapes for wine, is a big one, and took another year to complete.

There’s something very satisfying about putting a book together, but to do it well you need time. This is a book I knew I’d be writing many years before I sat down to begin to put it together, and that knowledge meant that I could do the sort of research that simply wouldn’t be possible for someone beginning the book with a one or two year deadline. I’m fortunate to travel extensively through the wine world, and this gives me a lot of opportunity for research. It also gives the sort of perspective that it’s hard to get from working in just one or two wine regions.

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There’s one question that some might be asking. Why are you, a wine journalist, writing this book, rather than a professional viticulturist? It’s a valid question. Someone spending all their time among vines really knows their stuff, but despite the existence of many viticulturists globally, no one has written this sort of book. There is a need for a readable, up-to-date and global book on growing grapes for wine, full of many practical examples, and as yet no one has written it. So I wanted to fill the gap. This isn’t a technical manual, or a reference work: it’s got plenty of detail, and a lot of science, but it is written for the wine trade more generally. Secondly, I have a lot of experience with lots of different scientific field gained from my time as a science editor, and prior to that in the lab doing a PhD in plant biology. This is really useful in terms of making sense of published science, but also for combining the experience of wine growers around the world (observational science) with the theoretical material.

What can you expect in this book? First of all, it is a big one. 450 pages and 160 000 words with 191 colour figures. It covers a wide range of the most interesting topics in viticulture (see the content list). There is stuff here you won’t find anywhere else. And it is curious and open-minded. It is also packed with examples from around the wine-growing world.

Of course, with a book project like this, it never really feels finished. With every trip I’m finding out things that I wish I could put in the book. And there are two chapters I’ve had to take out for space reasons that I thought were really interesting. But now it’s time to launch it.

One thing I am doing that is quite unusual, but I think worthwhile, is launching two versions of the book. The main version, in colour, is £34 or the equivalent in other currencies. This seems a lot to me, but it’s how the economics works. The titles in the Classic Wine Library series from Infinite Ideas cost the same and are smaller books. But I think that for some, £34 might be stretching their budget a little. So I will also be launching what I’m calling the ‘student edition’ at a lower price: £18. To hit this price it will have exactly the same text, but no illustrations, and it will be in black and white with a slight redesign to make the book shorter (in page count, but not content), which means it will cost less to print. I want to get this book out to as many people as possible. And because of carbon footprint issues I want to save weight, so both editions will be paperback, and they will be print-on-demand, which means they are printed in the country they are purchased in (in market), saving postage costs and reducing the environmental impact. The book will also be available electronically.