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Wine, Networks and Scales

Intermediation in the production, distribution and consumption of wine


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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The Hunter Valley: Historicising a Multi-Form Wine-World in the Grape-Wine-Complex



The Hunter Valley in New South Wales is Australia’s oldest continually producing wine region. This riverine valley is adjacent to the plain and river valleys of the Sydney district, where early experiments with wine growing accompanied the British invasion of Aboriginal lands to establish the colony of New South Wales from 1788. A few bottles of wine were made in the Sydney district as early as 1792. Between 1788 and 1821 New South Wales operated primarily as a military garrison, with labour for cultivation and construction provided by English and Irish convicted felons transported from England for a range of crimes. In this time, small acreages of winegrape vineyards were planted under official imperial auspices and variously at two or three of the fewer than a dozen nascent private estates trialling crops of introduced Eurasian plants for luxury goods. Until the 1820s, piecemeal attempts to produce wine relied on land grants and the importation of vine stock by agents of the British colonial administration. A small number of winegrape plantings occurred in the Hunter Valley from the late 1820s due to a wave of settler land privatisation by British authorities to seed capital investment in the colony. Small-scale winemaking in the region began in 1832 and therefore, as winegrape cultivation has not for some years been viable in the Sydney district, the Hunter is Australia’s oldest wine region in continuous production1.

This chapter presents our interpretation of multidisciplinary sources to historicise...

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