changes to the site include many important additions to the Library
February, 2004 ::
The Geoponic Authors
Making of Ancient Wine
:: in, Les xx. liures de Constantin
Cesar, ausquels sont traictés les bons enseignemens d'Agriculture:
traduicts en Francoys par M. Anthoine Pierre, Licentié en droict.
Poitiers, 1543 (1545)
:: The first translation into French
of the most important wine-making text to have survived from the ancient
world; ascribed to Constantine Porphyrogenitus, but in fact a Byzantine
anthology dedicated to him, of authors already described then as being
ancient, and about whom we otherwise know almost nothing.
The Liber de Vindemiis of Burgundio, which is the medieval translation
into Latin of this same text, available on the website of the invaluable
Thomas Gloning. TO
wines and wine-making in the 16th century
:: in, De Re Cibaria Libri XXII
| Omnium ciborum genera, omnium gentium moribus, & usu probata complectentes;
:: Extremely interesting discussions
of wine-making and the wines of France, from the earliest general
treatise on food and drink written by a French author, a text to all
intents and purposes unknown today. (in Latin)
Nicolas de Bonnefons
Parisien: Parisian wine-making in the 17th century
:: in, Les Délices
de la Campagne; Paris, 1654 (1665)
:: The only French wine-making
text of the seventeenth century known to me, and a unique memorial
to the lost world of Parisian wine-making. (in French)
faicte au Roy. Par le Syndic des Vignerons de Rueil, Suresne, Nanterre,
Coulombe, Argenteüil, & autres vignobles du plat pays proche de Paris,
Sur l'empeschement du commerce de la liberté de leurs vins.
:: An extremely rare little pamphlet,
reproduced here in its entirety, protesting the extraordinary (but only
to those who don't make wine) reality that no wine made from the vineyards
around Paris was allowed to be sold in Paris. A reality that continued
until, well, there were no longer any vineyards left around Paris. (in
Giovanni Battista Barpo (1584-1649)
of a personal gastronomy
:: in, Le Delitie, & Frutti dell'
Agricoltura, e della Villa, Libri Tre...di Mons. Gio: Battista Barpo Bellunese
:: Some wine, some cheese, a well-provisioned
Renaissance larder, even a few tarte alle herbette; the musings
of a spectacularly eccentric Italian priest and gourmand, who may well
have given up other pleasures, but certainly not those of the table. (in
:: in, L'Humore, Milan, 1564
:: a lyrical description of a Renaissance
vintage, and the wine-making instructions, from a book which rather startlingly
appears to be not only the first general monograph ever devoted to wine,
but even more startlingly, to be completely unrecognized as such some
440 years later. (in Italian)
February, 2003 ::
Angran de Rueneuve
Manière de Façonner les Vins
:: in, Observations sur l'Agriculture
et le Jardinage, pour servir d'Instruction à ceux qui desireront
s'y rendre habiles. Par M. Angran de Rueneuve. Conseiller du Roy en l'Election
d'Orleans; Paris, 1712.
:: A nearly unknown, remakably clear,
and very sympathetic evocation of what wine, to a counsellor of Louis
XIV, was, and was meant to be.
"M. Paguierre, ancien courtier de vin"
of Making the Wine / Manière de Faire le Vin
:: This little text, or bilingual pair
of texts, is rare, and intriguing for a number of reasons. The first is
that there is no earlier publication known to me that describes wine-making
in Bordeaux in comparable detail. The second, is that the wine-making
it describes is so startlingly different, in several key respects, from
anything we would now think of as traditional for that region.
:: Parallel texts, in English (1828)
and in French (1829).
Gabriel Alonso de Herrera (c.1475 - c.1540)
cozer el vino
:: in, Obra de Agricultura,
Alcalá de Henares, 1513 (Medina del Campo, 1584)
:: The instructions for an approach
to wine-making nearly unchanged since the fall of Rome, yet from a text
that was both the pioneering agricultural treatise of its era and only
the second work of its kind to have been written in any European language
for 1000 years.
December, 2002 ::
Pollio, born 1st century BC)
de bien bastir
The earliest detailed exposition known to me (thanks to Jean-Claude Martin)
of the influence of geological factors on the taste of wine, from the
most important treatise on architecture to have survived from the ancient
:: With further notes on how to build
a good architect; and on the miracle of literacy; and on the thought that
the measure of education is what saves you after a shipwreck; and finally,
on who cares about sports heroes & why so much.
:: From Architecture, ou Art de
bien bastir, de Marc Vitruue Pollion; Paris, 1547; thus, the first
translation into French of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio's De Architectura
les Plantes ne seroient-elles pas de véritables Animaux? -
or, Why aren't plants, really animals?
:: In, Charles-François Tiphaigne
de la Roche, Observations Physiques sur l'Agriculture, les Plantes,
les Minéraux & Végétaux, &c., [Paris],
examines whether plants have feelings, concludes that the answer clearly
is "yes", and wonders why we have so much trouble conceding this, which
of course we still do today.
:: By no means a text I've put up on
the internet solely to irritate the more self-congratulatory breed of
vegetarian - although, of course, it does have that to recommend it -
but more because it's a wonderful example of how ideas can be savored
as completely as wine; & this by the man who, by a similar savoring
of ideas, foresaw photography more than 79 years before its invention
que c'est que la Nature
:: Manuscript, apparently unpublished,
French, c. 1690.
:: A sampling from a remarkable speculation
on existence, including chapters on the origins of the universe, the nature
of light, of aroma and taste, and the nature of nature itself; by an unknown
17th-century scientist & philosopher of science, very much worth our attention,
& clearly unafraid to tackle the larger issues.
Which is to say, those we dislike to consider, since we cannot answer
November, 2002 ::
[The following anthology of early texts on the discovery of fermentation
as a living process, when first posted in March of this year, significantly
lacked an opposing view; that is, it lacked the expression of a position
explicitly opposed to the idea that fermentation is the result of microbial
:: I'm pleased to be able to remedy
that lack now with an essentially unknown paper by Jean-Jacques Colin
(1784-1865), who worked with Gay-Lussac for many years, then became Professor
of Chemistry at St. Cyr and later at Dijon. It is called Nouveau Mémoire
sur la Fermentation, was first read before the Académie
des Sciences, and was then published separately as a 43 page pamphlet
ca. 1837, which is the edition from which this transcription was made.
:: I've been able to find no other
record of this text; my own copy is from Becquerel's library, so perhaps
it was only printed in a small private edition for distribution to colleagues
of the author.
:: In any case it is ideally suited
to its purpose here: it reflects scientific research carried out at the
same time and in the same place as the other papers presented; it is the
work of a competent and thorough scientist, clearly aware of the findings
of Cagniard-Latour and others, who uses much the same equipment and many
of the same procedures, but nonetheless comes to quite opposite conclusions.]
So, with additions as of November, 2002:
:: an anthology of early texts
crucial to the birth of microbiology and to the understanding of fermentation
as a microbial process, including,
: Charles Cagniard-Latour (1777-1859):
Mémoire sur la Fermentation vineuse. 1837(1838).
: Thénard, Becquerel, Turpin:
Rapport sur des observations et des expériences faites sur la
cause et les effets de la fermentation vineuse; par M. Cagniard-Latour.
: Pierre J.F. Turpin (1775-1840): Mémoire
sur la cause et les effets de la fermentation alcoolique et acéteuse.
Lu à l'Académie en sa séance de 20 août 1838.
: Jean-Jacques Colin (1784-1865): Nouveau
Mémoire sur la Fermentation. (ca. 1837).
: Louis Pasteur (1822-1895): Mémoire
sur la fermentation appelée lactique. (1857); and, Mémoire
sur la fermentation alcoolique (1857).
drawing of microbial life
as he saw it under his microscope at the Grande Brasserie du Luxembourg,
that long night in October, 1837.
as of August, 2002 ::
:: A startling Renaissance treatise
on the senses, and on the delectation of pleasure by humans, beasts, and
:: in, Girolamo Cardano, Les livres
de Hierome Cardanus medecin Milannois, intitulez de la Subtilité,
& subtiles inuentions, ensemble les causes occultes, & raisons d'icelles.
Traduis de Latin en Françoys, par Richard le Blanc (Paris,
Renaissance master, in a landscape of his own
The complete wine-making instructions from the most important
agricultural text of the Italian Renaissance, in its very rare first edition.
:: in, Agostino Gallo, Le Dieci
Giornate della vera Agricoltura, e Piaceri della Villa, (1565?) 1566.
:: and two images to
accompany the text,
of Agostino Gallo, and a woodcut of his design for a wine
as of June, 2002 ::
:: The earliest description of Swiss
wine-making known to me, contrasted with a composite text of only some
sixty years later - but an entire world apart - by members of the Société
conomique de Berne.
: Emanuel Koenig, Georgica Helvetica
Curiosa, das ist: Neu Curioses Eydgnossisch-Schweitzerisches Hauss-Buch,
: (unattributed) Traité complet
sur la maniere de planter, d'élever et de cultiver la vigne,
in 2 volumes, Yverdon, 1768.
: (unattributed) Encyclopédie
conomique, ou système général I. d'oeconomie
II. d'oeconomie domestique,
III. d'oeconomie politique,
in 16 volumes, Yverdon, 1770-1.
: (unattributed) Articles vignes,
raisins, vendanges et vins
tirés du grand Dictionnaire Encyclopédique,
as of February, 2002 ::
An extensive excerpt from Charles Estienne & Jean Liébault's
L'Agriculture et Maison Rustique, including
by far the most important and detailed early description of the wines
of France, added by Liébault ca. 1582 - a text also available on
this site in the wonderful Elizabethan translation of Richard Surflet,
The earliest account known to me of the viticulture and wine-making of
sherry in Xeres;
by a visiting Italian, ca. 1775.
The first of the two earliest printed descriptions known to me of the
viticulture of Bordeaux,
and one of the earliest descriptions of its wines; by a Bordelais
grower, ca. 1757.
The second of the two earliest accounts known to me of the viticulture
and the earliest printed account of its wine-making; by B.L. Reboul,
a visiting Provençal, ca. 1772.
A set of rare 19th-century texts on wine-making at Hermitage, thus called
emphasizing such points as, for example, the critical importance of new
And with many more soon to come.