Vintage Crime: A Short History of Wine Fraud (Hardcover)
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“This slim yet insightful and entertaining volume documents the many instances where wine drinkers did not get what they paid for, sometimes with deadly consequences.”—New York Times, Best Wine Books of 2023
How fakes, fraudsters, and grape crusaders have shaped the world of wine.
This novel take on the history of wine reveals that, whether by adding toxic sweeteners or passing off counterfeit bottles, wine fraud is abundant—and as old as wine itself. Vintage Crime will intrigue even the most sated of wine drinkers with its juicy tales of deception, raising interesting questions along the way: what counts as wine, why do we drink it, and what makes a wine truly authentic?
The world of wine prides itself on its aura of respectability, but it has always had a murky side. Packed with engaging vignettes, Vintage Crime brings to life famous enthusiasts and crafty con artists from ancient Rome to modern-day California. It also introduces us to lesser-known industry figures: the scrupulous merchants, honest growers, and cutting-edge scientists who have led the fight against fraudsters. Author Rebecca Gibb holds the rare, sought-after distinction of Master of Wine, yet she writes in an engaging style that doesn’t require any prior wine knowledge, skillfully synthesizing popular wine histories for amateur sleuths and armchair sommeliers alike.
A portion of book royalties will be donated by the author towards finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
About the Author
Rebecca Gibb is an award-winning wine journalist, the author of The Wines of New Zealand, and a Master of Wine.
"What’s most impressive is that Gibb has managed to maintain a lively, well-paced, humorous, deliciously gossipy, slyly acerbic narrative. While she’s got a good grip on the events and is adept at teasing out the threads that come together to shape the course of history, it’s her ability to bring people to life that underpins her storytelling."
"Takes the reader on a highly entertaining tour of wine fraud from ancient times up to the present day. . . . The book is full of brilliant details."
— The Spectator UK
"[An] entertaining gallop through wine fraud down the ages."
— Daily Mail
"Triumphs in the way in which it combines a history of wine and the wine trade with some very detailed and well-researched examples of cunning crookery. Gibb writes well and can weave together convincing and authoritative tales of wine concoctions that would even make the three witches in Macbeth opt to go on the wagon."
— Business Day
"The British master of wine Rebecca Gibb has great fun picking through the skulduggery in an entertaining read that romps around the vineyards of the world." - Best Cookbooks and Food Writing of 2023
— The Times
"This slim yet insightful and entertaining volume documents the many instances where wine drinkers did not get what they paid for, sometimes with deadly consequences." - Best Wine Books of 2023
— The New York Times
"What a brilliant idea this is for a book. . . . No wine lover should be without a copy of Vintage Crime, though in future it might make you sniff a little more suspiciously when handed a glass of fine wine." - Best Wine Books for Christmas
— Club Oenologique