Around the World in Eighty Wines

November 21, 2017

New book by Mike Veseth, emeritus professor, international political economy

TACOMA, Wash. – For both global adventurers it all started near St. James Square in Mayfair, London—and in both cases, the challenge ahead was a mighty one.

 Phileas Fogg, setting out from Mayfair’s Reform Club, had 80 days to make it round the world, or suffer the humiliation and financial ruin of a lost wager. Wine economist Mike Veseth, embarking from wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd in London, had to scout out 80 charismatic wines around the globe to write about, or see his dream of an ambitious new book fall apart.

Sure enough, just as Fogg came home victorious, Veseth’s new book, Around the World in Eighty Wines: Exploring Wine One Country at a Time (Rowman & Littlefield, Nov. 1, 2017), appeared this fall. The book consummated a several-year journey that took the University of Puget Sound emeritus professor and his wife through Europe, Syria, Georgia, Lebanon, and Algeria, and on to Bali, India, China, Australia, Chile, the United States, and elsewhere.

“Every glass of wine tells a story,” Veseth explains on his popular The Wine Economist blog. And the stories that appear in Around the World in Eighty Wines are often full of surprises. In war-torn Syria, where winemaking is an ancient tradition, the owners of one winery at times have to run their daily operations via cell phone and the Internet, because traveling is too dangerous. On the Indonesian island of Bali, a single winery makes a million bottles a year, because the equatorial sunshine affords three annual harvests. In China, wild fluctuations in temperature in the mountainous Ningxia region, at 3,000 feet, mean grapevines have to be buried each fall, then uncovered again in the spring.

Veseth believes that, collectively, the many stories about wine and the people who create and enjoy wine reveal a greater truth. Having observed how winemaking has inspired people to overcome natural, political, social, and personal odds, he arrives at this conclusion: “The power of wine … to transform how people think about food, how they think about themselves and the places that they live: It’s inspiring,” he writes. “Wine’s great truth is its ability to make us happy.”

Publishers Weekly wrote: “Veseth chooses the wines he profiles based on the ability of each to excite the palate, and the imagination. Reading his book is rather like attending a swanky cocktail party: It contains a vast and varied buffet, with loads of conversational tidbits.”

Forbes said in its review: “This nonfiction work takes readers on a rapid, engaging skip and skim around the globe … this is an entertaining smatter of the eclectic, a trove of stories and facts not found in other books about wine.”

Around the World in Eighty Wines, one of several books on wine published by Veseth, has been released in hardback, e-book, and audio book formats and is available through online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Mike Veseth '72 is an economist who studies global wine markets. He is the editor of the blog The Wine Economist and the author of more than a dozen books, including the bestselling Wine Wars (2011), Extreme Wine (2013), and Money, Taste & Wine (2015), which received the 2016 Gourmand International award for “Best in the World” wine writing. The Wine Economist was named 2015 “Best in the World” wine blog by Gourmand International. Veseth speaks frequently at national and international wine conferences. He is professor emeritus of international political economy at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash.

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Press photos of Mike Veseth and the book jacket can be downloaded from

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