Wine and Society

1st Edition

The Cultural and Social Context of a Drink

Authors: Steve Charters
Hardcover ISBN: 9780750666350
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 30th June 2006
Page Count: 384


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Wine is becoming increasingly popular in the Anglophone world and there are many books available which describe how and where it is made. However, none address the fundamental questions of different structures of production and how the consumer relates to the product – this book is the first to do just that.

Wine and Society: the cultural and social context of wine production and consumption looks at the relationship between wine production and marketing, focussing in consumer behaviour and cultural attitudes. Divided into four parts, it examines the context of wine production, the wine consumer and the social context of wine, discussing the following themes:

  • That the core of wine production and consumption is shaped by historical, geographical and cultural factors.
  • Wine production – European and new world looking at the different kinds of producer and how the varying background of each shapes their perspective on what they produce
  • Terroir and appellations: why demarcation and sense of place became important, how they are used to achieve marketing differentiation, and the 'benefits’ (or otherwise) to the customer.
  • The contemporary wine consumer and lifestyle factors – looking at wine clubs, tourism, education, culture and literature
  • The politics and economics of wine – from supporting rural industries in France to protecting customers from deception and health risks.

Suitable for third year and post-graduate students of hospitality, wine (both in production and marketing), wine tourism, gastronomy and related courses, it encourages students to think critically about the issues raised by using real life case studies and examples from around the world, also including press releases and marketing campaigns.

Key Features

  • Examines the relationship of wine to the cultures which produce and consume it, the meaning of wine consumption and its impact on society and lifestyles.
  • Looks behind the marketing of wine, and reveals what hidden messages are contained in wine advertising.
  • Uses a wide framework, exploring how these issues have been shaped by the past, and how they exist in different ways around the world, encouraging analysis and reflection.


High level academic – level 3 and postgraduate students of hospitality, wine (both in production and marketing), wine tourism and gastronomy. Applicable for courses such as – Gastronomy, Food & Drink in Society, The Business of Wine & Tourism, The Global Wine Trade, Licensed retailing management, Food and Consumer Policy. Some practitioners/members of key societies (see author’s connections/links)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1: Introduction; 2: The history of wine; 3: The nature of wine; 4: The structures of wine production; 5: Classifications, appellations and terroir; 6: Modern wines; 7: The motivation to drink wine; 8: The symbolic role of wine: Religion, sex, fertility and status; 9: Wine and the civilized life; 10: The contemporary wine consumer; 11: Wine and fraud; 12: Wine, health and abuse (Co-authored with Dr Patrick Farrell M.W.); 13: The enemies of wine; 14: The politics of wine; 15: Conclusion; Index


No. of pages:
© Butterworth-Heinemann 2006
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Author

Steve Charters

Steve Charters is Director of Research in the School of Wine and Spirits Business, ESC Dijon/Burgundy School of Business in Dijon, France. He was previously Professor of Champagne Management at Reims Management School and before that taught at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. He develops research projects and courses relevant to the wine business generally. His research interests include the relationship of wine to place, drinker perceptions of quality in wine, the mythology surrounding wine consumption, the motivation to drink, and the motivations and experience of the wine tourist. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Wine Research, the British Food Journal and the International Journal of Wine Business Research and is one of only 300 members, worldwide, of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director of Research, School of Wine and Spirits Business, ESC Dijon/Burgundy School of Business, Dijon, France and Member of the Institute of Masters of Wine, UK


Since this is a textbook, don't expect dreamy images of vineyards of photos of idyllic cellars. What you'll find instead is a discussion of how wine productions and comsumption are shaped by historical, geographical and cultural factors, along with an intellectual look at the mythology surrounding the making and drinking of wine. If wine appeals to your brain as much as to your palate, this book will provide a challenging and interesting take on the topic.-Wine Spectator, January 2007