By James Simpson
Princeton University Press, 344 pages. $39.50

The Economics of Wine

James Simpson is a professor of economics in Madrid and his newest book, Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World Industry, 1840-1914 is part of The Princeton Economic History of the Western World series. In this book Simpson examines wine’s business practices, including production, marketing and distribution in such countries as France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Argentina and the United States. Simpson’s ultimate goal is to understand the ways these regions have and continue to operate in the global wine industry. Part I focuses on the Old World between the years of 1840 and 1914. Simpson discusses how changes in technology and organizations led to changes in the wine business. Topics include the vine disease phylloseva, railways and viti-viniculture. Part II is about exportation. In Part III, Simpson discusses classifications and branding of wines. Chapters cover claret, champagne, port, sherry and Spanish wine. Part IV shifts to the New World and the wine industry of the United States (specifically California), Australia and Argentina. The author’s use of graphs, tables and maps complements the text and will be helpful to readers. This is a very academic and scholarly book for people interested in economics and business concepts. Wine enthusiast looking for light reading should search elsewhere.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin