Idea of Wine Schedule

Schedule of classes, readings and assignments

Book abbreviations followed by chapter #; WMR: Wine Myths and Reality; WP: Wine Politics; WW: Wine Wars. Any other readings mentioned are available on Moodle (post reading notes on Moodle before class each day, unless otherwise noted).

Tue Jan 16

Welcome to The Idea of Wine!


Unit 1: Competing Ideas of Wine Production

Thu Jan 18

The geography of wine


Tue Jan 23

Viticulture basics: “Wine is made in the vineyard”

WMR 2; video: the life of a wine grape

Thu Jan 25

The idea of terroir


Tue Jan 30

The science of winemaking. WMR: 5; Optional (but useful!) additional resources (a video and a graphic): Commercial wine production in Oregon, part 1 and part 2. You may also enjoy this illustrated guide to how wine is made.

Thu Feb 1

Wine politics in France 1: the phylloxera crisis and the origin of French wine regulations

WP 2, pp7-22: start at beginning of chapter 2, and stop just before “Across the Atlantic: overcoming adversity”)

Unit 2: Old World versus New World

Tue Feb 6 :

Starting your research for IPE405.

Goal: At the end of today, you will email me a revised proposal and bibliography for feedback.

For this class, you must come with:

Your chosen wine region for paper 1

Five sources (even popular press) about the region

A 100 word preliminary description of what specific issues or controversies you want to explore.

Thu Feb 8

Watch this one hour long film online and post “reading” notes on Moodle about it:

It’s a great look inside the business of a top Bordeaux Chateau, one of those 1855 First Growths. In particular, pay attention to recognizing some of the themes you know (about growing, winemaking, the Bordeaux wine trade, etc), as well as the importance of the China connection.

Tue Feb 13: short essay due on Moodle by 23:59pm

Using what we have studied so far and the readings below (no outside research needed, but please cite the readings below and make a proper bibliography to practice) write a 400-500 word essay addressing the following prompt:

Should wine be labelled like food, with an ingredients’ list? Should winemakers disclose more of their practices? Your essay should be 400 minimum and 500 word maximum, excluding the bibliography. You can either take a side, or be more nuanced if you prefer. Make your thesis clear early in the essay, and structure the essay to defend it. Use concrete evidence. The best essays also manage to address potential counterarguments to make their point more effective.

Readings for this:

Review WMR 5 and read WMR 6 (stop just before “packaging the product” section). Then read these two short pieces 


Thu Feb 15

Wine politics in France 2: the political economy of French wine appellations

WP 3

Tue Feb 20

France 3: Champagne and luxury

WMR 19. Read two sections: “The joy of bubbles” and “Marketing Triumph” (pp505-513) + Watch Jancis Robinson’s “Grapes and Gas” episode at this link.

Thu Feb 22

Wine and Health (Reading on Moodle)

Friday Feb 23

Paper 1 due on Moodle by 23:59pm

Tue Feb 27

Wine politics in the US 1: beginnings, prohibition and repeal

WP 2: pp22- 36: From “Across the Atlantic: overcoming adversity” till end of chapter.

Thu Mar 1

Wine politics in the US 2: the political economy of American wine regulations

WP 4

Tue Mar 6

Wine and the environment

WP 6

Thu Mar 8

Idea of wine quiz 1

All class material since the beginning



Unit 3: Wine Wars

Tue Mar 20

Watch Mondovino, streaming on Moodle (parts 1 AND 2). Your reading notes today will be based on the movie. The trailer is here.

As part of your notes, write a 100-word (more if you want to) spiel of an issue raised by Mondovino you would like to explore in paper 2, so you can receive feedback.

Thu Mar 22

Globalization and The DaVino Code

WW 1, 2 and 3

Tue Mar 27

How globalization shapes the world of wine: Missionaries, migrants and market reforms

WW 4 + WMR: New Zealand section

Thu Mar 29

Retail models: the British wine market, the Germans, and Costco

WW 5, 6 and 7

Tue Apr 3

Paper 2 due on Moodle by 23:59pm

Thu Apr 5

How do consumers choose wine?

WW 8, 9, 10

Tue Apr 10

Did Yellow Tail’s global success crush Australian wine?

Watch these two brief videos as an introduction

Next, read this business analysis:

and the following short articles:

Thu Apr 12

The rise of Argentine Malbec (Movie trailer here)

Watch the movie (streaming on Moodle) “Boom Varietal: the rise of Argentine Malbec” (72 minutes)

Your “reading notes” today will be based on the movie.

Tue Apr 17

Wines of South Africa

Watch the movie here:

Thu Apr 19

The McWine conspiracy and the future of wine

WW 11 and 12

Tue Apr 24

The China syndrome

“Red Obsession” trailer here.

Your “reading notes” will be based on two sources:

Watch movie, streaming on Moodle: “Red Obsession” 80 minutes

Read WW 15

Thu Apr 26

Aperitif and Dessert Wines!

Reading: WMR start page 513 (Blending through the Solera), until page 546 (end of book)

Tue May 1

Idea of wine quiz 2; All class material since the beginning

Reading Period

Thursday May 10: Final project due by 6pm. This is the end of officially scheduled final exam (there’s no final exam, just the project/paper to turn in).