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An advertisement for Hungarian wines.
Hungarian wines imported by D.A. Mayer, the only house in the United States where Hungarian wines are sold which had been awarded for purity and superior quality, by the centennial commissioners. 1876. Prints and Photographs Division.

Exploring Wine Country through Cartography

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Occasionally, visitors to the Geography and Map Division have expressed interest in viewing maps that show the locations of vineyards. The requests are usually for 19th century maps of the wine regions in France. This led me to become interested in wine maps of all regions of the world. I have found a variety of vintage maps related to viticulture in our collections. I am sharing images of some of them in this post.

A 19th century world map showing the distribution of wine.
Distribution de vignes sur la surface du globe. H. Nicolet. 18–. Geography and Map Division.

The origins of wine can be traced to ancient times; however; detailed wine mapping did not begin until the initial production of topographical maps. During the 18th century César-François Cassini created a topographic series of France. The series took fifty years to complete and consisted of 181 sheets. Below is an example of a sheet from the series. This sheet covers the Champagne wine region in northeast France.

This is a topographical map of the Champagne wine region in northeast France.
Carte de France. César-François Cassini. 1756. Geography and Map Division.

Dr. Wilhelm Hamm, an expert in soil management and author of The Wine Book, designed the map below. The map, published in 1869, showed the annual wine production in Europe.

A map of the wine regions in Europe.
Weinkarte von Europa. Willhelm von Hamm. 1869. Geography and Map Division.

The next map was made by Charles Joseph Minard. Charles Minard was famous for creating flow maps that showed the transport of products across Europe. The map shows the circulation of wines and spirits in France by rail and waterways during the year 1857.

A flow map showing the distribution of wine by rail and water in France.
Carte figurative et approximative des tonnages des vins, spiritueux qui ont circulé en 1857 sur les voies d’eau et de fer de l’Empire français. Charles Joseph Minard. 1860. Geography and Map Division.

Joseph James Forrester, a British wine shipper, cartographer and watercolor artist created the map below. Forrester frequently traveled to the Douro wine region of Portugal. He published a brochure which criticized the practices of the Portuguese wine trade. The House of Commons ordered the map to be printed before a Select Committee on Imported Wines in 1852.

A map showing the wine region in the area of Douro Portugal.
The Portuguese Douro and the adjacent country : and so much of the river as can be made navigable in Spain = O Douro Portuguez e paiz adjacente : com tanto do rio quanto se pode tornar navegavel em Espanha. Joseph James Forrester. 1852. Geography and Map Division.

During the 17th century Hans Conrad Gyger created a topographic relief map of the Canton of Zurich. The map below shows the changes in the viticulture of northeast Switzerland since Gyger’s survey. The map was published in 1896 by the Swiss Topographical Bureau. The areas with the highest and lowest grape productivity are shown in red.

A map of northeast Switzerland showing the distribution of Vineyards.
Karte der Veranderungen in der Verbreitung des Reblandes der Nordostschweiz seil der Erstellung der Gygerkarte. Eidg. Topogr. Bureau. 1896. Geography and Map Division.

The origins of wine making in Algeria can be traced back to the ancient Phoenicians who shared their expertise in viticulture with the region. The following map shows the vineyards and wine processing plants of Algeria in 1926. During the late 19th century French colonists significantly increased the production of wine in Algeria after the phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards in France.

A map showing the vineyards and wine processing plants in Algeria in 1926.
Carte viti-vinicole de l’Algérie. Gouvernement général de l’Algerie, Direction de l’Agriculture du Commerce et de la Colonisation, Service cartographique. 1926. Geography and Map Division.

I have shared a few examples of vintage maps related to the productivity and distribution of wine. The Geography and Map Division also holds hundreds of wine maps that were published during the 20th and 21st centuries. I am unable to share images of recently published maps due to copyright restrictions. Please refer to the following atlases to learn more about the vineyards of the world.

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