Redding, Cyrus

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Redding, Cyrus (1785–1870), England’s answer to the great wine explorer of France, André jullien. Redding came from an old Cornish family and, after publishing several biographies and histories when working as a young journalist in London, was sent to Paris in 1814, where he was based for five years. It was during this time that he was introduced to wine regions and a wine-producing culture. Jullien’s book was published two years after his arrival in Paris and Redding’s most important work, A History and Description of Modern Wines, takes full account of both Jullien and chaptal’s previous publications, but Redding seems to have been independently inspired by the disparity between the wines then available in the British Isles and what he tasted in cellars all over Europe (see adulteration). Like Jullien, he was an intrepid traveller and his book includes observations not just on European wines but on those of Asia, Africa, and both North and South America. His emphasis on the word Modern owes much to his criticism of earlier writers such as Sir Edward Barry and Alexander henderson (see literature of wine), whose reverence for classical wines he felt was misplaced. The first edition of A History and Description of Modern Wines was written when Redding had returned to England in 1833; modern facsimile editions have also appeared, so useful, fresh, and unpretentious are Redding’s observations to this day.