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Illustrated Book on Universal Ampelography

Posted: Saturday, 25 May 2013 18:09

Book Review: Illustrated Book on Universal Ampelography

May 25: ‘Ampelografia Universale Storica Illustrata’ is a hard-bound 3 volume reference book in Italian and English language with 551 grape varieties from around the world with their historical background that will serve as a guide book to anyone interested in winemaking or simply someone who is fascinated by grapes writes Subhash Arora reviewing the Book

Click For Large ViewAmpelography is the science of identifying, naming and classifying grape varieties through detailed analysis of the unique characteristics of the plant, its morphology and the different phases of its development. At the same time, the vine has its own extraordinary aesthetic and iconographic appeal.

A work of Pierre Viala and Victor Vermorel, the book is foremost a collection of art. For the first time, the editors of the book-Anna Schneider, Giusi Mainardi and Stefano Raimondi have assembled the most beautiful collections of old ampelographic plates. The Ampelographie - Traité général de viticulture by Pierre Viala and Victor Vermorel (1901-10) is the heart of this collection.

To this are added the works of Giorgio Gallesio’s Pomona Italiana (published between 1817 and 1839) and Ampelografia Italiana, published in 1882 by the Ampelographic Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Thus the work illustrates a total of 551 grape varieties, complete with entries describing each  and listing its synonyms (there are 24,000), complete with the history, the present day scenario, the areas where it is most commonly grown, the difficulty factors and the climate requirements-in short it provides all information regarding each cultivar.

For instance the cultivar of Sangiovese has been described as Sangiove to, San Giove to (Tuscany), Sanzove to, Sangiogheto, Sangineto (old Tuscany), Sangiove sa (Romagna), Prugnolo (Montepulciano), Pignolo (Sinalunga), Brunell o (Montalcino), Morellino (Province of Siena, Grosseto and Arezzo), Cala brese (Arezzo), Nerino Sanvicetro (Casentino, Arezzo), Uve tta (Pitigliano,Grosseto), Montep ulciano (Abruzzo, Marche, Puglia) and Uva tosca (?) (Modena).

Click For Large ViewThe exceptional convergence of the Authors’ scientific contributions and the dazzling splendour of the chromolithographs what makes the three volumes of this Illustrated Historical Universal Ampelography unique. The Italian-English simultaneous translation of each variety, on every page makes it handy for those who may not be conversant with Italian outside Italy and the Italians not very comfortable with English.

The book is a collector’s item and a pleasure to consult as a Reference Book. At €420 for the 1440-page book with pasteboard binding in 3 volumes may not be for everyone. But for connoisseurs of top quality wines, thirsting for more knowledge on the grapes that their glass contains, it will be a very satisfying book. Make sure you have a glass of your favourite wine when going through the book.

For more information, visit or contact the publishers L’Artistica Editrice in Piemonte at

Subhash Arora

Index of Illustrations


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