© 2013

The Politics of Wine in Britain

A New Cultural History

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    1. Charles Ludington
      Pages 1-12
  3. The Politicization of Wine

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Charles Ludington
      Pages 15-30
  4. Claret

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-59
    2. Charles Ludington
      Pages 82-103
    3. Charles Ludington
      Pages 104-118
  5. Port

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. Charles Ludington
      Pages 121-143
    3. Charles Ludington
      Pages 144-162
    4. Charles Ludington
      Pages 163-179
  6. Drunkenness, Sobriety, and Civilization?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 181-181
    2. Charles Ludington
      Pages 183-220
    3. Charles Ludington
      Pages 221-237
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 257-354

About this book


A unique look at the meaning of the taste for wine in Britain, from the establishment of a Commonwealth in 1649 to the Commercial Treaty between Britain and France in 1860 - this book provides an extraordinary window into the politics and culture of England and Scotland just as they were becoming the powerful British state.


cultural history England revolution Scotland

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryNorth Carolina State UniversityUSA

About the authors

Charles Ludington is Teaching Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University, USA. He has published widely on the history and political meanings of wine, and has won numerous teaching awards. He recently received a Marie Curie-Sklodowska Fellowship from the European Commission and will be researching the role of Irish merchants in the invention of luxury Bordeaux wines in the long-eighteenth century.

Bibliographic information


"...a superb contribution, not only to the growing field of food history but also to our deeper appreciation of the evolution of political and cultural life in England and Scotland." - David Hancock, The Journal of Modern History

"Great wine books, like great vintages, are often more hyperbole than reality. In fact, they are both rare. Charles Ludington's 2013 book, The Politics of Wine in Britain: A New Cultural History, is unlike anything that has come before in its depth of research and its particular focus. At the risk of taking the analogy too far, Ludington has written a wine book for the ages." - Kevin D. Goldberg, Journal of Wine Economics

"...this is a very different book on wine that's wholly entertaining and excellently researched, particularly if you're a student of the era or are fascinated by how wine was perceived and manipulated politically in previous centuries." - Paul O' Doherty, Jancis Robinson

"Ludington employs a rich variety of quantitative data, with careful attention to the strengths or weaknesses of official figures as smuggling ebbed and flowed in reaction to policies. A variety of methodologies are creatively employed to produce a book that will fascinate a range of historians, students, and wine-lovers. This volume intrigues, entertains, and illustrates the power of a single commodity to reveal new and significant insights into past societies." - Beverly Lemire, The American Historical Review

"...imaginative, ambitious and well-researched [...] Charles Ludington presents a provocative theory analyzing how changes in alcohol consumption constituted power, influence and legitimacy in politics over two centuries." - David Gutzke, Reviews in History