Book Review: The Hidden Vineyards of Paris by Geoffrey Finch

The Hidden Vineyards of Paris by Geoffrey Finch
The Hidden Vineyards of Paris by Geoffrey Finch

Geoffrey Finch, a Canadian born in Victoria, moved to Paris and has been sharing his passion for wine and gastronomy in France for over 40 years.  He operates a series of historic walks through Paris’s vineyards, both visible and open to the public, those closed to the public, and some open only for special occasions.  His love of wine led him to write, The Hidden Vineyards of Paris.  In this book, Geoffrey discusses the relatively unknown history of grape growing and winemaking in historical Paris, leads us on a tour of vineyards in production, non-producing vineyards, and a scattering of isolated vines that grow for shade and otherwise personal enjoyment.  There is a small sketch map showing the locations of these vineyards and vines widely spread across all areas of Paris.

This book begins with the origins of wine grapes in Paris, how the vines arrived, who brought them, and how wine helped grow the economy of Paris, which in the end also doomed the widespread vineyards.  At the peak of production, the clergy and aristocracy controlled production and wealth, which helped to build the great cathedrals in Paris and across France.  Turning from the past, Geoffrey then gets into challenges of modern winemaking in France, including its rules and regulations, and the growth of natural wines as an answer to these rules and regulations.

He then leads us into the vineyards of Paris today.  There is at least one page about each vineyard and a photograph of some aspect of the vineyard.  He provides the street address, the possible grape varieties grown, and some history of each vineyard.  Some vineyards have a long history, while others are quite recent and were encouraged by the local government or others.  One thing that I did to make these vineyards more alive was to type the vineyard address into Google Maps, and turn on the satellite image layer so that I could locate the vines.  Once I spotted the vines, I used Google’s StreetView to bring me down to the street level to admire them.  A future version of this book may benefit by adding a QR code to a Google Maps and/or a Google StreetView display of the vineyards. 

This book is quite easy to read and does give you a feel for the history of vineyards and winemaking in Paris.  If you travel to Paris, you may want to purchase this book and find a few vineyards.  Otherwise, Geoffrey does offer walking tours through his website.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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