Imperial Wine

How the British Empire Made Wine's New World


"Historical insights and sharp commentary. A must-read for students of wine history."


Australian Financial Review
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University of California Press
23 x 15 cm



"Historical insights and sharp commentary. A must-read for students of wine history."


Australian Financial Review


"Imperial Wine teaches wine enthusiasts about the role of empire in shaping the wine world of the past, present, and probably the future, too. And it teaches students of imperialism that the influence of those forces continues even in something as seemingly simple as a glass of wine. Interesting. Well-written. Thought-provoking. I learned a lot."


Wine Economist

«As with any good history, Regan-Lefebvre’s book sparks more questions than it answers. . . . This is, however, not a shortcoming of the book but a strong point: like a glass of rich red wine, the topic of wine in the British Empire certainly has legs. These legs— and the ideas propounded in this book—will provide fertile ground for future discussion and scholarship in the years to come.»


«Informed readers will appreciate its extensive coverage and writing style, in which lively and uncomplicated prose is enlivened with numerous wry asides. . . . It tells a compelling story of how wines from the former Empire came to win over British palates, and capture a major share of the global market. It is the first book that succeeds in explaining how this unfolded over the course of more than two centuries.​»

Journal of Wine Economics

«Shows how the modern consumer’s​ ​choice of an alcoholic beverage rested on centuries of canny merchant​ ​schemes, land grabs, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples​. . . . ​This book clearly proves that good commercial wine is one of the​ ​ways that the system convinces players that the game is worth playing​.»

Journal of Interdisciplinary History

«Really fascinating . . . . Very accessible to the average reader who has any interest at all in the history of wine. Most important, however, is I think the author has contributed an original idea or at least fully fleshed out an idea concerning the significance and utility of the 'Old World' / 'New World' structure that has for so long now played a key role in discussions of wine history and the world wine marketplace.»

Fermentation newsletter

«Imperial Wine… [offers] a master class in historical storytelling. Carving out a space between academia and popular historical writing, it offers a compelling critique of the global forces underpinning the production, consumption, and circulation of wine across the British Empire.»

Social History of Alcohol and Drugs

«It's a brilliant book from start to finish. Academic rigour and discipline structures every page. The weight of detail is formidable. The subject is uncomfortable, even ugly. But Regan-Lefebvre has a gift – she knows how to curlicue dry facts just enough to make them intriguing without losing their accuracy. She’s delivered all this in what amounts to a cracking read. It is a fascinating book. A page-turner, even!»

«A novel approach. . . . Imperial Wine is the vinous equivalent of a rags-to-riches story. Based on an impressive amount of research, it springs the occasional surprise.»


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