First Edition of Alexis Lichine's Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits; Signed by Him
Alexis Lichine’s Encyclopedia of Wines & Spirits.
Item Number: 75083
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.
First edition of this comprehensive guide to wines and spirits. Quarto, original half cloth. Boldly signed by Alexis Lichine on the half-title page. Near fine in a very good price-clipped dust jacket. Jacket design by Ronald Clyne. Illustrated with 52 specially prepared maps.
Alexis Lichine was a wine writer and entrepreneur. He played a key role in promoting varietal labelling of wine, was a masterful salesman of wine, and owned Château Prieuré-Lichine and a share of Château Lascombes in the Médoc. Starting around 1940, Lichine and Schoonmaker promoted the idea that California producers should label their wines by the grape variety or varieties from which they were made. The standard practice among New World producers was to give their wines semi-generic labels. That is, they named them after the regions whose wines they resembled. For example, full-bodied red varieties might be labeled "Burgundy", whereas crisp whites might be labeled "Chablis". California's Wente Vineyards was the first winery to adopt the practice. After calling its Sauvignon blanc by its varietal name rather than labeling it "Graves," Lichine and Schoonmaker found its sales volume to increase several-fold. More important, they were able to sell it in the important east coast U.S. market. Others, such as Robert Mondavi, soon adopted the practice, which has become the standard for New World (and, increasingly, some Old World) wines.