Oceans of Wine - Hancock, David - Yale University Press
  • Sep 22, 2009
    680 p., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
    57 b/w illus. & 16 color plates
    ISBN: 9780300136050
    Cloth: $100.00 tx

Social Science

Series Information
The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History

Oceans of Wine

Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade and Taste

  • David Hancock
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Winner of the 2009 Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the Best Book of European Wine category

Winner of the 2009-2010 Louis Gottschalk Prize sponsored by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

This innovative book examines how, between 1640 and 1815, the Portuguese Madeira wine trade shaped the Atlantic world and American society. David Hancock painstakingly reconstructs the lives of producers, distributors, and consumers, as well as the economic and social structures created by globalizing commerce, to reveal an intricate interplay between individuals and market forces. Wine lovers and Madeira enthusiasts will enjoy Oceans of Wine, as will historians interested in food, colonial trade, and the history of the Atlantic region.


Using voluminous archives pertaining to wine, many of them previously unexamined, Hancock offers a dramatic new perspective on the economic and social development of the Atlantic world by challenging traditional interpretations that have identified states and empires as the driving force behind trade. He demonstrates convincingly just how decentralized the early modern commercial system was, as well as how self-organized, a system that emerged from the actions of market participants working across imperial lines. The networks they formed began as commercial structures and expanded into social and political systems that were conduits not only for wine but also for ideas about reform, revolution, and independence.

David Hancock is professor of history, University of Michigan. He is the author of Citizens of the World: London Merchants and the Integration of the British Atlantic Community, 17351785, The Letters of William Freeman, 16781685, and History of World Trade since 1450.