OCW4 background.jpeg

At last, a new, fourth edition of 

The Oxford Companion to Wine

edited by Jancis Robinson
and Julia Harding

Published by Oxford University Press, September 2015

Winner of TWO James Beard awards (2016 and 1995) and the OIV Grand Prix (2016)

Oxford Companion to wine 4th edition cover

"The greatest wine book ever published" Washington Post


About the book

Published in 1994 to worldwide acclaim, the first edition of Jancis Robinson's seminal volume immediately attained legendary status, winning every major wine book award including the Glenfiddich and Julia Child/IACP awards, as well as writer and woman of the year accolades for its editor on both sides of the Atlantic. Combining meticulously researched fact with refreshing opinion and wit, The Oxford Companion to Wine presents almost 4,000 entries on every wine-related topic imaginable, from regions and grape varieties to the owners, connoisseurs, growers, and tasters in wine through the ages; from viticulture and oenology to the history of wine, from its origins to the present day. The 187 esteemed contributors (including over 50 new to this edition) range from internationally renowned academics to some of the most famous wine writers and wine specialists in the world. 

Now exhaustively updated, this fourth edition incorporates the very latest international research to present 300 new entries on topics ranging from additives and wine apps to WSET and Zelen. Specific new keywords include wine apps, authentication, CellarTracker, concrete, counterfeit wine, films about wine, wine funds, ingredient labelling, ladybug taint, microbial terroir, minerality, Mtsvane, natural wine, optical sorting, orange wine, oxygen transmission rate (OTR), pet-nat, planting rights, plastic bottles, premature oxidation, proximal sensing, qvevri, Sauvignon Gris, smoke taint, social media, soil biota, Syrah decline, tasting notes language, urban wineries, vandalism and Vin de France. Over 60 per cent of all entries have been revised; and useful lists and statistics are appended, including a unique list of the world's controlled appellations and their permitted grape varieties, as well as vineyard area, wine production and consumption by country. For more about the new entries, see Nine years of new words.

Illustrated with almost 30 updated maps of every important wine region in the world, many useful charts and diagrams, and 16 stunning colour photographs, this Companion is unlike any other wine book, offering an understanding of wine in all of its wider contexts—notably historical, cultural, and scientific—and serving as a truly companionable point of reference into which any wine-lover can dip and browse.

  • Almost 4,000 A to Z entries on a breathtaking range of topics, from grape varieties and regions to viticulture, growers, and the history of wine
  • More than 60% of entries have been comprehensively revised and updated to include the very latest international research and opinion
  • 300 brand-new entries, including wine apps, aromatics, geosmin, Hong Kong, minerality, natural wine, social media, and tasting notes language
  • Edited by the award-winning online publisher and Financial Times wine correspondent, Jancis Robinson OBE, Master of Wine, and Julia Harding MW
  • 187 top local experts, including more than 50 new ones, contribute entries on their specialist regions, such as Huon Hooke on Australia, Michael Fridjhon on South Africa, David Schildknecht on Germany and Austria, Victor de la Serna on Spain, and Walter Speller on Italy
  • Beautiful new page design incorporating new colour photographs and black and white line drawings
  • All maps of wine regions have been updated for this edition

New to this edition

  • Comprehensively revised and updated throughout
  • 300 brand-new entries
  • Significant new updates on hundreds of topics such as China, screwcaps, and the origins of viniculture
  • Impressive global coverage of wine regions, including new entries on Alaska, Lesotho, Norway, and Tahiti
  • Includes brand-new colour photographs and black and white line drawings
  • Maps of wine regions have been updated

Click here to read more articles about the new edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine on JancisRobinson.com.

And click here to listen to Julia's full-length podcast, recorded by Qin Xie, on how she came to work for Jancis and further insights into the complex process of updating The Oxford Companion to Wine.

About the authors

Editor Jancis Robinson, OBE and Master of Wine, is described by Decanter magazine as ‘the most respected wine critic and journalist in the world’. The first person outside the wine trade to have passed the notoriously tough Master of Wine exams, she writes daily for the award-winning JancisRobinson.com, weekly for The Financial Times, and bimonthly for a column syndicated around the world. The many books she has either written or co-authored include The World Atlas of Wine and Wine Grapes


Assistant editor Julia Harding, Master of Wine, studied modern languages at Cambridge before becoming a freelance book editor. She started work in the UK wine trade in 2001, came top of the Master of Wine exams in 2004, and has been Jancis Robinson’s full-time assistant and associate palate since 2005. Among all Masters of Wine she was selected for the Noval Award for Excellence in Communication in 2007 and was co-author of Wine Grapes, published in 2012 and winner of every major book award. 


Advisory editor, viticulture Richard E. Smart

Advisory editors, oenology Valérie Lavigne & Denis Dubourdieu


Sarah Ahmed, Hamish Aird, Professor Jean Aitchison, Mail Amanov, Kym Anderson, Alberto Antonini, Tony Aspler, Susy Atkins, Bill Baker, Dr John Barker, Dr Eveline Bartowsky, Nicolas Belfrage, Helen Bettinson, David Bird, Dr Linda Bisson, Dr Jeremy Black, Beverley Blanning, William Bolter, Dr Rob Bramley, Michael Broadbent, Dr Roger Brock, Stephen Brook, Larry Brooks, Nick Bulleid, Robin Butler, Bob Campbell, Dr Dimitra Capone, Alain Carbonneau, Tom Carson, Bruce Cass, Umay Çeviker, Dr Steve Charters, Dr Véronique Cheynier, Nodari Chkhartishvili, Professor Dr Monika Christmann, Elaine Chukan Brown, Dr Tyler Colman, Dr Michael Considine, Dr Bryan Coombe, Dr Peter Cousins, Dr Glen Creasy, Professor Barry Cunliffe, Tamlyn Currin, Dr Bob Dambergs, Dr Daniel Deckers, Li Demei , Dr Donald Dibbern, Barry Dick, Professor James Douglas, Dr Peter Dry, Dr Denis Dubourdieu, Anne Duggan, Abi Duhr, Margaret Emery, Marcel Essling, Nicholas Faith, Christopher Fielden, Michael Fridjhon, Doug Frost, Denis Gastin, Richard Gawel, Benny Génsbøl, Rosemary George, Dr Caroline Gilby, Dr John Gladstones, Sam Glaetzer, David Gleave, Wojciech Gogolinski, Howard G. Goldberg, Dr Jamie Goode, Robert Gorjak, Nayan Gowda, Paul Gregutt, Ronald de Groot, Lisa Shara Hall, James Halliday, Jake Hancock, Rosi Hanson, Julia Harding, Sam Harrop, David Harvey, Dr Judith Harvey, Maarten van Helden, Professor Paul A. Henschke, Dr Markus Herderich, Dr Hildegarde Heymann, Hans-Peter Hoehnen, Dr Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Huon Hooke, Alex Hunt, Dr Dan Johnson, Hugh Johnson, Russell Johnstone, Dr Gregory V. Jones, Dr Tony Jordan, Rupert Joy, Eva Kaluzynska, Michael Karam, Dr Philip Kennedy, John Kesby, Mel Knox, Dr Mark Krstic, Martin Lam, Miles Lambert-Gocs, Erica Landin, Dr Valérie Lavigne, Konstantinos Lazarakis, Professor Terry Lee, Cornelis (Kees) van Leeuwen, Harriet Lembeck, Peter Leske, Simon Loftus, Wink Lorch, Patrick E. McGovern, Edi Maletic, Alex Maltman, Jane Masters, Richard Mayson, Dr Gabriella Mészáros, Sven Moesgaard, Adam Sebag Montefiore, Jasper Morris, Lucie Morton, Linda Murphy, Igor Nykolyn, Dr Philip Norrie, Ken Ohashi, Jeremy Paterson, Wyatt H. Peabody, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Professor Gary Pickering , Professor Thomas Pinney, John Platter, Dr John Possingham, Dr Vladimir Pukish, , Pamela Vandkye Price, Alexander Purcell, Dr Jane Renfrew, Professor Pascal Ribéreau-Gayon, Jancis Robinson, Dr Gábor Rohály, Andrés Rosberg, Anthony Rose, Bjørn Tore Aastorp Ruud, Viacheslav Rybinstev, Dr Amanda Stewart, David Schildknecht, John Schreiner, Professor Hans Schultz, Michael Schuster, Tom Scott, Dr Mark Sefton, Victor de la Serna, Young Shi, Con Simos, Reva K. Singh, Stephen Skelton, Dr Richard Smart, Professor Barry C. Smith, Walter Speller, Richard Stávek, Patricia Stefanowicz, Tyson Stelzer, Creina Stockley, Lush Susaj, Dr Elisabeta Susaj, Keith Sutton, Michael Tabone, Patricio Tapia, Geoff Taylor, Rémi Teissier du Cros, Joelle Thomson, Dr Roy Thornton, Dr Steve Tyerman, Tim Unwin, Dr José Ramón Úrbez-Torres, Tim Vandergrift, Gido Van Imschoot, Kenneth Verosub, Dr Olivier Viret, Dr José Vouillamoz, Monty Waldin, Dr Bernard Watney, A. Dinsmoor Webb, Robert E. White, Dr Patrick Williams, Dr Hanneke Wilson, Nigel Wilson, Dr Tony Wolf, Steve Wratten, Bruce Zoecklein.

Sample pages

Learn about wine

These infographics use facts and figures taken from the fourth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine. Click on the image to see the full version.

Awards and reviews

4th edition


'a magnificent compilation of information about every aspect of wine production and trade worldwide'
'first published in 1994, [it] has gone from strength to strength with each new edition'
'No one interested in wine, whether in the trade of growing, making or selling wine, should be without it. The book is also just as interesting to the layman who drinks the odd glass or two ... And for anyone building up their own cellar - it is indispensable.' Joan Williamson, Reference Reviews, 30 (4), 2016.

'This hefty volume is certain not just to answer both broad and obscure questions on viniculture, but also to pique the interest of the reader who dips into its pages.'
'A solid update of a vital reference from a towering authority in the field'. Peter Hepburn, Library Journal, 1 March 2016.

'If there’s one book I recommend all wine enthusiasts possess – no matter their level of knowledge or interest in wine – it’s the Oxford Companion to Wine'.
'Yes, it’s an encyclopedia: bloody heavy and astonishingly comprehensive. It’s also fun to read, despite what you might expect from such a weighty tome. The entries are frequently entertaining reads in their own right, their academic rigour matched by a flair for incisive wit and even humour.'
'If you have any more than a passing interest in wine, buy this book. Even (especially!) if you’ve got the last edition'.
Mel Priestley, Vue Weekly, 4 February 2016. Read the review 

'The revisions for this new edition have been admirably and impeccably thorough.'
'There also is plenty of humor, a quality often lacking in reference works.'
Anne Krebiehl MW, World of Fine Wine, 30 December 2015. Read the review

'Now in its fourth incarnation, Jancis Robinson's book is the one to own if you have any sort of interest in wine. Read everything in here, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert. Plus, reading an encyclopedia is a nice way to go retro in today's online wiki world.' Louis Villard, Santa Barbara Independent, 21 December 2015.

'bonus points for new and massively improved maps'. Bill Ward, Minneapolis StarTribune, 16 December 2015. Read the review

'I can’t live without this book, and have purchased every version since it first came out. It's my go-to reference for research into current and historical grapes and wines.' Becky Sue Epstein, Palate Press, 15 December 2015. Read the review

'If you're a wine novice, this one volume could teach you more about wine than any other; and if you're a full-time wine professional, you will still find much in here that you didn't know.' Andrew Jefford, Decanter, 14 December 2014. Read the review

'the (weighty) gold standard when it comes to every region, grape, style and technical term to do with wine'. Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 December 2015.

'No detail goes un-scrutinized, clichés are exploded, and the list of over 180 contributors is a Who's Who of wine industry greats. 

'Besides hard copy, it is available as an e-book, and also may be found on Jancis' "Purple Pages" member-only section of her website. Membership is only a little more than the book's cost, so it's a no-brainer not to go that route. When you need something quickly, this enormous book is completely searchable on line.' Harriet Lembeck, Beverage Dynamics, Nov/Dec 2015.

'This valuable resource is recommended for public as well as academic and special libraries.' Becca Smith, Booklist, 15 December 2015.

'Written with authority, and sometimes a humour so sly you have to do a double take, this is still the best place to turn for answers to all your wine queries.' Henry Jeffreys, The Guardian, 2 December 2015. Read the review

'Any wine lover would surely love to receive this book as a gift - even if they have one of the previous editions.' Susan Jung, South China Morning Post, 29 November 2015. Read the review

'An essential piece for a wine lover's shelves.' Foodnetwork.com. Read the review

'If someone is to own just one wine book, Ms. Robinson’s mighty effort is the fail-safe proposition.' Peter Hellman, Wall Street Journal, 20 November 2015. Read the review

'... if you’re interested in wine, you simply can’t do without the Oxford Companion to the subject'. Tim James, Grape, 17 November 2015. Read the review

'weighty, authoritative, indispensable' ... 'new, must-have edition'. Elin McCoy, Bloomberg, 6 November 2015. Read the review

'... even more astonishing than the depth and breadth of revision is the degree of change that’s happened in the wide world of wine in the last 10 years to which this edition is testimonial. It’s a handy barometer on how the wine world is doing.' Georges Meekers, Times of Malta.com, 30 October 2015.

'... this 4th edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine is available for the first time as an e-book (and Kindle edition). It's now on my MacBook, iPhone, iPad mini, and with many dozens of new entries – (e.g. apical dominance, British Colombia, cellar rat, en rama, eucalyptus character, Glera, IGP, Judgement of Paris, lignification, minerality, orange wine, rotundone, Sideways, Tulbagh, viniculture) – as well as many revised ones, The Oxford Companion to Wine is more than ever the indispensable reference about the most complex alcoholic beverage on the planet. The new e-book and Kindle formats, as well as the traditional hardcover edition, now render this fount of vinous erudition even more accessible and eminently more portable.' Tim White, Financial Review, 29 October 2015. Read the review

'The Oxford Companion to Wine is perhaps the greatest book on the topic in English.' David Marcus, The Street, 24 October 2015. Read the review 

'It’s not always worth buying follow-on editions of classic books, but the fourth outing of the Oxford Companion to Wine … contains lots of new material. If you’re looking for a Christmas present for the wine lover in your life or just want to own a copy yourself, this is the most comprehensive wine tome on the market.' Woman and Home, December 2015.

'The logistics alone are daunting. But what’s more impressive is the book’s reception and esteem for its unsurpassed reliability.' Cathy Huyghe, Forbes, 21 October 2015. Read the review

'It also has semi-hidden pleasures amid the dry discourse. Look right past “fanleaf degeneration” to Robinson’s discussion of “fashion” – a pointed one-page condensation of millennia of aesthetic choices and tensions. These Easter eggs elevate Oxford from becoming an encyclopedic brain dump. They sum up wine, in its current state, with finesse.' Jon Bonné, Punch, 21 October 2015. Read the review

'Long considered the standard text of wine scholarship, I feel comfortable (as an admirer of both wine writing and Oxford companions) in observing that it also sets a standard for the Oxford series.' Aaron Maclean, The Washington Free Beacon, 9 October 2015. Read the review

'I asked the students to give me feedback about the various readings. When it came to the Oxford Companion there was nearly unanimous praise. Concise, detailed, informed, well-written — they liked everything about it.' Mike Veseth, The Wine Economist, 6 October 2015. Read the review

'It has authority running through it like the stripes in a tube of toothpaste.' Adam Lechmere, Food & Travel, October 2015

'There are few volumes of wine literature as venerable as The Oxford Companion to Wine.' Alder Yarrow, vinography.com, 3 October 2015. Read the review

'The mother of all reference books on wine.' Reva Singh, Sommelier India, 3 October 2015. Read the review

'The Oxford Companion is exhaustively researched and the inclusion of a grape or region in its pages lends a level of credibility that Wikipedia does not [have]. Every wine-lover’s house should have a well-thumbed copy.' Adam Lechmere, Le Pan, 28 September 2015. Read the review

'certainly the most definitive wine encyclopaedia ever written and by some distance the greatest wine reference book ever created' … 'the most complete and intuitive compilation of relevant wine facts and figures ever recorded' … 'the manner in which it is written is both educational and thoroughly enjoyable'. Ali Nicol, Wine Times Hong Kong, 22 September 2015. Read the review

'It may be the most essential wine book any enthusiast should possess - a fastidiously researched and well-crafted book on just about everything in wine from a-z.' Robert Parker, eRobertParker.com, September 2015.

'The world's most useful wine book.' Huon Hooke, huonhooke.com, 23 September 2015. Read the review

'By some distance the greatest wine reference book ever created.' Ali Nicol, Wine Times Hong Kong, 22 September 2015. Read the review

'A handy barometer on how the wine world is doing.' Claire Adamson, Wine-Searcher.com, 21 September 2015. Read the review

'Why The Oxford Companion to Wine is so "awesomesauce".' David Williams, The Observer, 20 September 2015. Read the review

'If you find yourself embroiled in dinner-table debates about wine, the Oxford Companion is your final arbiter.' Dave McIntyre, The Washington Post, 19 September 2015. Read the review

'A comprehensive compendium that deserves a spot on every aficionado's shelf.' Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 16 September 2015. Read the review

'A must-have in any serious wine library. Even wine writers refer, and defer, to it.' Singapore's wine authority Ch'ng Poh Tiong, 16 September 2015. Read the review

'One of the most remarkable things about the Companion is how it stays relevant in the internet age.' Graham Holter, The Wine Merchant, 1 September 2015. Read the review

'As well as a huge weight of information, this wonderful book also manages to entertain and delight.' Stephen Brook, Decanter, September 2015. 




A selection from reviews of and awards for previous editions

  • ‘the one essential book for any wine lover’
    — Eric Asimov, New York Times
  • ‘has something most other wine books lack: a bit of attitude….you’ll sprain your wrists lifting it but this is a stunning book’
    — Warren Blass, Washington Post, Book World
  • ‘demystifies the grape in witty, straightforward language’
  • ‘unquestionably the world’s most comprehensive wine resource’
    Town & Country
  • ‘the third edition is as cheeky and irreverent as ever, and even more informative. It’s valuable reference book and great fun just to pick up and read’
    Washington Post
  • ‘easy to use, to-the-point and authoritative’
    — Dorothy J Gaiter and John Brecher, Wall Street Journal
  • ‘The wine world’s most scholarly A to Z’
    The Sunday Times
  • ‘No wine-lover’s bookshelves should be without it’
    Daily Telegraph
  • The Oxford Companion to Wine is still the pre-eminent basic resource for wine lovers’
    Wine Enthusiast Magazine
  • ‘the most useful book on wine ever written; it is also one of the most enjoyable’
    The Week
  • ‘a required reference for anyone who is serious about wine’
    The New York Times
  • ‘It is simply the most complete wine encyclopedia you can ever wish to buy’
    — Clive Platman, Birmingham Post
  • ‘beefed up with impressive scholarship by its assistant editor Julia Harding’
    The Times
  • ‘an overflowing goblet that would be central to any wine lovers’ library’
    — Bryan Miller, The Inquirer
  • ‘its level of detail and wit elevate it beyond a mere reference’
    — Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle
  • ‘without question the most useful wine book ever published’
    — Mike Steinberger, Slate

Buy the book


Buy from Oxford University Press (US)

Buy from Oxford University Press (US)

Buy from Amazon (US)

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Buy from Barnes and Noble

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UK and the rest of the world

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Buy from The Book Depository

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In addition to Amazon’s Kindle edition, an e-book version of the new, fourth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine is also available from the following retailers. Online versions will be published both on the Purple Pages of JancisRobinson.com and on OxfordReference.com in November.


  • Apple iBookstore
  • Barnes and Noble Nook store
  • Google Play
  • Ebooks.com
  • Kortext.com

Rest of the world (anywhere other than US, UK or the rest of Europe) 

  • txtr.com
  • Kobo.com
  • aNobii.com
  • Blackwell Learning


  • Flipkart.com