cover image In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism

In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism

George M. Taber, . . Scribner, $30 (294pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-6243-6

In January 2008, acclaimed oenophile and wine writer Taber set out in search of Bacchus—the Roman god of wine and theater—by exploring wine tourism in 12 of the world's most important wine regions. For the next six months, he visited wineries in familiar locales—Napa Valley, Calif., and Bordeaux, France—and not-so-familiar places, such as Central Otago, New Zealand, and Kakheti, in the country of Georgia. Taber weaves the history of a winemaking region with the history of various wineries in the place. For example, after chronicling all the challenges that the South African wine industry has faced since the 1950s (although the first winery there, Constantia, dates to 1699), he points out that the heart of South African wine tourism is the region around Stellenbosch and the best example is Vergelegen, a 7,413-acre estate producing outstanding wines that compete in quality with any in the world. In Georgia, Taber discovers numerous wineries, including Teliani Valley, which has won awards at the London International Wine Fair and other competitions, and observes sadly that the present state of Russian-Georgian relations has prevented the Georgian wine industry from flourishing and getting the international recognition it deserves. In a valuable appendix, Taber lists five wines from each region, and their prices, for those armchair travelers who cannot follow in his peripatetic footsteps and visit each region themselves. (Oct.)