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Wine, Networks and Scales

Intermediation in the production, distribution and consumption of wine

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Edited By Stéphanie Lachaud-Martin, Corinne Marache, Julie McIntyre and Mikaël Pierre

Wine as a product arises from human connections in know-how and trade as much as from the natural environment in which grapes are grown. At each stage of decision-making about growing grapes, making wine, selling and drinking it, people with different roles are networked together into systems of production and distribution. The authors in this collection offer new studies of the individuals and groups who act as connectors in these networked systems, intermediating in the delivery of wine from growers’ vines to consumers’ glasses. These actors operate at multi-layered scales of geography or within multiple regimes of governance, all the while taking account of arbitrations of quality and taste. This collection highlights how intermediators in many different wine countries and periods of history are, and have been, significant agents of continuity and change in the wine industry.

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Overview of Current PhD Theses in Wine Studies

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Cultivating imperial networks: British colonial wine production at the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia, 1806-1910

CHELSEA DAVIS – GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

This dissertation focuses on the British Empire’s colonial wine industries at the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia from 1806-1910. The wine industries in South Africa and Australia are today some of the most well known and profitable in the world, yet their integration into the global market was a slow, stuttering process, one that started on British colonial foundations during the long 19th century. It is about investigating how the wine industries in the British colonies at the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia needed to invest in global networks of knowledge, communication, trade, and transport in order to transform into successful global enterprises. In a way, the history of Britain’s colonial wine industries is a microcosm of the story of globalisation. The need for an export market and the creation of ‘taste’ for wine ultimately required making connections to the outside world. This commodity history will be used to argue that a colonial industry can only succeed when it becomes tied to global trade and invests in networks of knowledge. This comparative history will provide more than dollars and cents to understanding colonial wine; it will show how commodities have social lives of their own.

The introduction, sustenance, and management of Britain’s colonial wine industries were contingent on the skills of local colonists, the availability of free or...

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