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EIT researcher contributes chapter to significant book on wine and culture

May 24, 2022

EIT wine researcher Dr Rory Hill has had a chapter published in an influential British book on wine and culture.

An EIT wine lecturer’s research into wines from New Zealand and Burgundy, France, has been included as a chapter in an influential British book on wine and culture.

Dr Rory Hill, who is Coordinator of the EIT School of Viticulture and Wine Science’s Postgraduate Programmes, was invited to contribute to the book The Routledge Handbook of Wine and Culture along with a former colleague of his, Associate Professor Joanna Fountain from the Department of Tourism, Sport & Society at Lincoln University in Christchurch.

The book, which has been released by UK publishers, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, is a major compendium of research on wine and culture going back in history. Royalties from the book are being donated to the UK-based charity WaterAid, which works to provide access to clean drinking water and sanitation for vulnerable communities worldwide.

The book is aimed at researchers and students in the wine industry and across those academic disciplines where wine is taken as an object of study, including history, geography, tourism, sociology and business.

Rory says the book’s editor Steve Charters was aware of the research he and Joanna had done in New Zealand and Burgundy.

“He invited us to submit  a chapter based on that research. There are chapters on matters as diverse as the economics of wine, the Chinese wine market, wine in the media, and the religious aspects of wine.”

“There are over forty contributors from universities and research institutes around the world, including many leading lights from business, social science and natural science areas.”

Rory says their chapter examines how a sense of place is built by producers, and understood by consumers, in the antipodal wine regions of North Canterbury and Burgundy.

“If North Canterbury is an emergent region of the New World, Burgundy is a self-consciously old part of the Old World. The concept of terroir (a sense of place) is mobilised in both regions, but with different inflections, and in North Canterbury, it is just one of several terms employed to promote local distinctiveness.”

“The release of the documentary film A Seat at the Table in 2019 brought the concept of terroir and the idea of provenance-driven quality in New Zealand wine to the fore, in direct comparison with the Burgundian winemaking experience and tradition.

Rory says that the film reflects much wider conversations about the comparability of Old and New World wine regions competing and influencing each other at the global scale.

“In our chapter, we reveal some of the cultural rooting of expressions of sense of place in two very different contexts, as well as the cultural conditioning of wine tourism as an activity.”

EIT’s Head of the School of Viticulture and Wine Science Sue Blackmore says: “We are fortunate to have Rory on our staff as both research lead and coordinator for the Postgraduate Wine Business and Innovation programmes.”

“The School wants to congratulate him on the book contribution, as well as achieving the milestone of one year of coordinating our Postgraduate suite, that will see Josh Young become the first graduate in July.”