Jancis Mary Robinson OBE, MW born in Cumbria on April 22, 1950
is a British wine critic, journalist and editor of wine literature. She currently
writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and writes for
her website www.jancisrobinson.com. She also provides advice forQueen Elizabeth II's wine cellar.
Robinson studied mathematics and philosophy at Oxford University and worked for
a travel company after leaving university. Robinson started her wine writing career
on December 1, 1975 when she became assistant editor for the trade magazine
Wine & Spirit. In 1984 she became the first person outside the
wine trade to become a Master of Wine. She also served as British Airways’s
wine consultant, she supervised the famous BA Concorde cellar.
As a wine writer, she has become one of the world’s leading writers of educational
and encyclopedic material on wine. The Oxford Companion to Wine,
edited by Robinson, is generally considered to be the most complete wine encyclopedia.
The first edition was published in 1994, and took five years to write after she
was signed on as editor in 1988. In addition, The World Atlas of Wine
by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is one of the leading wine atlases.
In 1995, Jancis Robinson appeared in a 10-episode wine course on BBC 2
television. This series has later been reissued on DVD. A book titled Jancis
Robinson's Wine Course was written to accompany the series and has
gone through several editions.
She has an honorary doctorate from the Open University, and was made an OBE
in 2003, among numerous other awards for her writing. Her accolades include multipleGlenfiddich Awards and André Simon Memorial Awards,
and Decanter's "1999 Woman of the Year".
Following a difference of opinion with Robert Parker over the 2003 vintage of Château
Pavie, the following media coverage frequently described a "war of words" between
the two critics. Less dramatic than the predominant press view, Robinson and Parker
have a cordial relationship.
Jancis Robinson is married to the food writer Nick Lander.
Vines, Grapes and Wines
by Jancis Robinson, ISBN 1-85732-999-6.
This was my first major reference book, written back in the mid 1980s when it was
obvious that grape varieties were going to become increasingly important. It's amazing
though to think that in certain (mainly French) quarters that cépage (French for
grape variety) was a dirty word. Funnily enough, when Hachette got round to publishing
it in French as Le Livre des Cépages, it was a big success for them - presumably
bought by growers rather than drinkers. The book is very pretty and still preferred
by many to the more up-to-date pocket alternative.
The Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd edition ed.)
by Jancis Robinson, ISBN 0-19-860990-6.
The Oxford Companion to Wine (Oxford University Press) is 'the greatest wine book
ever published' according to Michael Franz, Washington Post, which was jolly nice
of him. It is certainly my pride and joy, almost my fourth child, though it owes
much to about 100 eminent contributors (I was the long-suffering editor). The first
edition (1994) took five years of my life, this second one (1999) took another year
or two. Half of the original 3000 alphabetically listed entries were updated and
there are another 500 new ones. OUP and I are amazed by its success. I've spent
s significant proportion of 2004 and 2005 updating this second edition so that a
much-revised third edition, much-enhanced by input from Julia Harding MW, will be
published in sep 06.
It has been published in German (running in to two volumes with all those long words)
by Hallwag as Der Oxford Lexikon, in French by Hachette as L'Encyclopédie du Vin
and, amazingly, in Danish as Oxford Vin Leksikon by a wonderful woman who has had
to virtually create a Danish wine vocabulary.
Some unfortunate translators are currently hard at work on Japanese and Chinese editions
which I find totally thrilling.
by Jancis Robinson, ISBN 0-563-37098-X
DVD (2 discs / 300’)
Jancis Robinson's Wine Course rides again! I have toiled away to revise, update and
expand one of my most usueful books, the one I've come to call Oxford Lite - a full
colour, beautifully-designed, bells-and-whistles introduction to wine designed for
those who don't necessarily know anything at all about it - but all underpinned
by Master of Wine knowledge ie, very solid facts under all the, I hope, encouraging
prose. In this new edition are 32 more pages - an increase of 10 per cent, most
of the new space going to New World wine regions, plus a bit more on Italy. The
new, fully revised edition is also already available in German (Hallwag), Dutch
(Spectrum), Danish (Gyldendal), Polish (WIG Press), Hungarian (Alexandra) and Spanish
I wrote the original edition to go with our 10-part BBC TV series Jancis Robinson's
Wine Course when it was first shown in 1995. It was designed to be a complete introduction
to wine with the authority of the Oxford Companion but much more basic and with
lots of lovely pictures. It was a bestseller in the UK and also published in the
US, in Germany as Weinkurs and in France as Tout Apprendre sur le Vin. (It's the
ultimate compliment to a wine author to see their book translated into French.)
I revised the vintages and things for the paperback edition in 1999 but this new,
longer book is a full and complete update, revision and expansion.
I am, as any regular visitor to this site must know by now, a workaholic, so I have
gone through the original volume with a fine toothcomb and now believe it's as fine
a hardbacked introduction to the delicious subject of wine as you could hope to
Here's a comment on the first edition: 'a vintage volume... the most notable volume
of its kind since Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World wine course...Robinson makes
you want to sign up for the course.' Peter M Gianotti, Newsday
Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes
Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes is a deceptively compact, pocket guide to
the world's increasingly fascinating roster of relevant wine grape varieties. It
was written a decade later than Vines, Grapes and Wines so is much more au courant.
It appeared in Danish in 1995, entitled Vin og Druer. It has also been translated
into Italian as Guida ai Vitigni del Mondo by the admirable Slow Food movement (Slow
Food Guide to Wine), something in Japanese by WANDS, Guia de Castas in Portuguese
by Cotovia, and most spendidly in German by Hallwag with beautiful colour photographs
of all the vines as Rebsorten.
'Robinson is to be congratulated for condensing so much information into such a tidy
package, and for giving us, finally, a manageable book on wine grapes. We shall
be using it often.' Quarterly Review of Wines
'lively, knowledgeable prose' Wine Spectator
Tasting Pleasure / Confessions of a Wine Lover
by Jancis Robinson , ISBN 0-14-023529-9.
I was very flattered when a very senior, wine-loving editor at Viking, New York,
asked me to write this 'professional memoir'. He called the US edition Tasting Pleasure;
the UK edition also, coincidentally, published by Viking/Penguin, was known by the
American subtitle, Confessions of a Wine Lover. It's the story of how I got into
wine, the people I've met, places I've been and, most of all, what I've eaten, drunk
and spat out. Some people said it made them feel rather queasy. It made me feel
'she writes about wine and the people who make it in a style both personable and
reporterly; she refuses to take herself too seriously; and she is something of a
gossip' Coleman Andrews, Saveur
'worth buying just for the sections on the secret world of the Gallo dynasty and
Robert Parker' Richard Neill, Daily Telegraph.
Jancis Robinson Tastes the Best Portuguese Table Wines
This particularly well designed pocket book is the result of summer 1999 spent tasting
250 of Portugal's best wines while on holiday in the Languedoc. The publisher drove
two sample bottles of each over the Pyrenees to our southern French hideaway, and
I had great fun catching up with the (red - most whites lag behind dreadfully) wine
revolution in Portugal. Many of the wines discussed are the vintages currently available
on export markets.
The book can be bought direct from the Portuguese publisher Fernanda Barros on firstname.lastname@example.org.
She can quote prices to various destinations to include postage and packing.
Cotovia have also published it in Portuguese, as well as Jancis Robinson's Wine Course
and Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes.
The Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America
This is the main Oxford Companion's firstborn, a long-overdue, serious consideration
of the world's fourth most important wine producer. Entries - on individual states,
regions and wineries - are again listed alphabetically and easily navigable cross-references
(how I have learnt to love cross-referencing!) make all the information easy to
access. Bruce and a quiver of local experts have done a great job and are so candid
that we started to receive letters from miffed producers several weeks before official
'an important book' Frank Prial, New York Times
'this is a solid, admirable reference book that belongs on the shelf of anyone who
is serious about wine' Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator
'impressive, 300-page tome. Its encyclopedic format is less daunting than it might
be, thanks to clear writing and the maps, color photographs and 15 signed essays'
William Rice, Chicago Herald Tribune
Jancis Robinson's Wine-Tasting Workbook / How To Taste
This is hot off the press, published and beautifully designed by Conran Octopus.
It should really be called JR's Wine Course (but that title was already taken) because
it's a way of learning about wine by a series of tasting exercises (not all of them
involving wine). This is a heavily revised version of a book I did in 1983 called
Masterglass which Mrs John Avery claims she used to teach her friends about wine.
Revising it (substituting Jacob's Creek for Hirondelle) taught me a lot about how
the world of wine has changed.
'clearly designed and commendably well written' Tim Atkin, The Observer, UK
'a thorough, no-nonsense approach to unlocking some of the mysteries of appreciating
and enjoying wine' Frank Prial, New York Times
'for those who want to learn how to taste wine, the Robinson approach is hard to
beat!' Gerald D Boyd, San Francisco Chronicle
'Robinson's reputation as a brilliant wine writer and expert, by anyone's definition,
doesn't get in the way of her presenting a thoroughly helpful book, approachable,
well-balanced and often fun' Bonnie Walker, San Antonio Express-News
Susy Atkins' pick of the bunch.
The US edition, called How to Taste is published by Simon & Schuster.
Jancis Robinson's Concise Wine Companion
Jancis Robinson's Concise Wine Companion (Oxford University Press) is brand new.
Basically it's the meatiest bits of the second edition of the Oxford Companion to
Wine condensed and packaged in a convenient (if thick) paperback. It was horribly
difficult to scrunch the OCW into a third the length - a job I couldn't even contemplate.
But fortunately an extremely good, wine-mad copy editor Julia Harding has achieved
this, with great rigour and sensitivity. We had to drop most of the history, all
of the brandy and some of the more detailed bits on science and fortified wines,
but it is a very high quality product! And has the most important appendices too.
'What a brilliantly simple and brilliantly obvious idea!...an absolute must-have.'
Tom Cannavan, www.wine-pages.com
The World Atlas of Wine (6th edition ed.)
by Hugh Johnson & Jancis Robinson, ISBN 1845333012.
Clever old Hugh Johnson has taken advantage of my advanced workaholism and managed
to persuade me to update his incomparable reference book. Two years of hard graft
has resulted in the 5th edition, with dramatically revised texts and brand new maps
- either the old ones made even clearer or new regions entirely.
For a taste of how this unique collaboration worked see World Atlas of Wine 5 - the
The most thorough revision yet of the classic World Atlas of Wine was published by
Mitchell Beazley in September 2001 in the UK, and October 2001 in the US.
The Atlas is due to be published in the following countries between September and
November 2002 (the name of the publisher is in brackets). France (Flammarion), Italy
(Arnoldo Mondadori), Germany (Hallwag - Graefe & Unzer), Russia (Zhigulsky), Hungary
(Park Kiado), Poland (Warsaw Investor's Group - WIG), Czech (Fortuna), Japan (Sancho
Shuppan), Norway (Schibsteds), Denmark (Lindhardt & Ringhof), Finland (Tammi), Holland
(Uitgeverij Het Spectrum)
'This is the best collaboration of two Brits since Lennon and McCartney', Ben Giliberti,
'If you want to know more about wine, make a resolution to look up every bottle you
have in this comprehensive book', Jill Dupleix, The Times (London)
'restores the Atlas to its position as the all-purpose go-to resource', Harvey Steiman,
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