Vizetelly, Henry

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Vizetelly, Henry (1820–94), prolific English wine writer whose detailed accounts of the history of port and champagne are particularly celebrated. Vizetelly came from a family of printers, and so it is particularly appropriate that today his influence is perhaps most marked in the continued, and increasingly imprecise, reproduction of the engravings which distinguished his many and various books about wine. He was introduced to wine in 1869 when he was sent to Paris to report on the French vintage for the Pall Mall Gazette, narrowly escaping execution during the Franco-Prussian War the next year. He spent much of the 1870s visiting the vineyards of France and Germany and in 1877 visited Portugal, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. Whereas jullien and redding provided global wine surveys for the specialist reader, Vizetelly managed both to delve more deeply into specific wine regions, and to produce books which appealed to a wider market. When based in France he was one of the first acknowledged wine ‘experts’ who was invited to serve as a judge of wines at the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions. On his eventual return to England, he became a publisher and as Zola’s English publisher, he was imprisoned and financially ruined.