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NEW YORK TIMES BEST WINE BOOK OF 2021
A stunning book on one of Europe's top wine-producing countries
Portugal’s rich wine culture dates back at least two millennia. Its vineyards teem with fascinating native grape varieties and its cellars harbor heritage wine styles and ancient techniques (including foot treading in stone troughs) that have died out elsewhere.
Foot Trodden is a book for everyone who loves a good story, wine, Portugal or modern social history—and for anyone who wants to dig deeper into Portuguese culture and the Portuguese soul. Written in an accessible, narrative style, this book is above all else about the people behind the wines: the challenges they faced, what drives them, and how they succeeded against the odds to put Portugal on the map.
With 80 specially commissioned photos, beautiful layout and design, Foot Trodden is crammed full of detail and depth about the wines and winemaking, but it’s emphatically not a text book or a Master of Wine study guide. You don’t need to be a wine geek or a history nut to enjoy it—this book is written for everyone.
Through eight chapters, Foot Trodden takes you on a journey from north to south, from the past to the future. The diversity of characters, landscapes and wines will have you salivating for your next bottle of Portuguese wine—and dreaming of the moment when you visit these historic winemaking regions.
About the Author
Simon is an award-winning English wine and drinks writer, currently clinging to mainland Europe in Amsterdam. He is somewhat obsessed with orange wines. Wine has been his muse for the last 20 years. Originally he just drunk the stuff, then started studying it. His writing career began with this site in 2011. He is the author of Amber Revolution, the world’s first book to tell the full history of orange wine.
Simon contributes regularly to Decanter and Meininger Wine Business International. He’s also written for Punch Drink, Jancis Robinson, timatkin.com, Palate Press, Harpers online and Catavino.net amongst others. There’s more detail in this interview by Wink Lorch, which first appeared in CWW quarterly.
“[A] delightful grape-filled tour of the country … and a deep dive into the ancient art of talha winemaking, where grapes are crushed by foot, then fermented in large clay vessels that are eventually sealed over with a paste made of resin, olive oil, and beeswax. For those curious about the wider world of wine, this sweeping history will bear fruit.” — Publishers Weekly
NEW YORK TIMES BEST WINE BOOK OF 2021
"'Foot Trodden: Portugal and the Wines That Time Forgot' by Simon J. Woolf and Ryan Opaz is an excellent introduction to the obscure history of Portuguese winemaking and its vitality and dynamic potential... a worthy project, beautifully done." — Eric Asimov, New York Times
Longlisted for the 2021 André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards
“A terrific trip to Portugal: Punchy, evocative, and filled with great stories … dressed with Ryan Opaz’s superb photography … the book taps into much that is beloved of Portuguese wine … The authors have written a great book that reinforces the importance of supporting independent wine producers, most especially those who are actively preserving traditional grapes and authentic local styles.” — The World of Fine Wine
“Exquisite … elegant design and layout … evocative, almost emotional photography by Ryan Opaz. It’s a clarion call. It’s an eloquent, heartfelt cry to the world to wake up and take action to support the ‘small guys’ who are sweating blood and tears, often putting their very living on the line, to turn the tide of industrial, placeless wine in Portugal.” — jancisrobinson.com
“If have to name my Wine Book of the Year, then there is only one real candidate … [Foot Trodden] is immaculately produced and special mention must be made of the brilliant photography of Opaz. Woolf is a compelling writer on any subject, able to blend a story with the required facts and analysis. But most of all, this is a wine book which is just right for the time. Always under-appreciated, Portugal seems finally to have gathered a critical mass of younger artisans who have a focus on their country’s traditions, whilst equally having learnt lessons from modern European wine. This is the perfect time for these stories to be told. I am sure that Foot Trodden will do the same for Portugal as Amber Revolution did for 'orange' wines.” — Wide World of Wine