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Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio’s Nonfiction Bestseller About the Historical and Genetic Journey of European Grapevines Finally Published in English


The hardback edition of Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories (Positive Press, 2019) by vine geneticists Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio has been officially launched in the European market on October 17th, 2019, and is now available to purchase in Italian book shops and from Amazon Italy. For e-book lovers, the digital version is available through Amazon Kindle. The book is the English translation of the 2018 Italian nonfiction bestseller La Stirpe del Vino and brings readers on a historical, geographical, and genetic journey of discovery of European grapevines and their wines.

Co-author Attilio Scienza poses with a copy of the new English translation of his latest monograph on the history of Italian and European wine.

Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio’s wine history opus Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories is finally available in hardback, following its official launch in the European market on Thursday, October 17th, 2019. The publication, which is the English translation of Italian nonfiction bestseller La Stirpe del Vino (Sperling & Kupfer, 2018) can now be purchased in Italy and, through Amazon.it, also in Europe; the digital version is also widely available through Amazon Kindle. Focusing on a number of iconic vine varieties (Sangiovese, Lambrusco, Pinot, Chardonnay and others), the book reconstructs the lineage of wine by analyzing stories of migration, conquest, and cross-cultural exchange underpinning wine commerce and viticulture. It is a must-read for wine professionals and enology students, while wine lovers and the general public will be drawn into learning more about the topic by the authors’ accessible prose.

The book focuses on the history and ancestry of vines that are cultivated in Italy (e.g. Sangiovese, Ribolla, Primitivo, Traminer, and the many Moscato, Malvasia, and Lambrusco grapes), but also includes international varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot in the conversation, highlighting cross-currents and contamination: “What is certain is that research into the origin of the vine—as well as man in Europe, by a singular analogy—highlights a plurality of roots and matrices,” write Scienza and Imazio in the Introduction, “This is what happened in Italy […]: the variety of approaches demonstrates and confirms that our wine civilization is the result of a tormented hybridization of cultural contributions from the most diverse origins, ranging from Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to Central Asia. In this sense, the Italian case is archetypal for the whole of Europe: from the research on the identity of the vine in the different regions, emerges a continent without rigid borders, a continuous crossroads of migrations, interactions, hybridizations, contrasts and conflicts between peoples, which has drawn fundamental sap from the diversity of roots, on a cultural and political level.” (XXII)

Authors Scienza and Imazio have worked extensively on vine genetics. Scienza, who is Full Professor at the University of Milan, specializes in genetic improvement of the grapevine; he has published over 350 scientific articles and 15 books aimed at both academic and non-specialist audiences. He has also served on many national and international research committees and participated in the zoning of over 35 viticultural areas throughout Italy. A biologist by training, Imazio was a researcher in vine genetics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and at the Centro di Trasferimento Tecnologico dell’Emilia Romagna; she now works as a science writer for various outlets and has published books and articles on wine history, ampelography, and genetics. Thanks to both authors’ untiring curiosity for all-things vine, the book successfully blends together genetic research on grapes’ DNA, ampelography and botanical studies, anthropology, the history of ancient civilizations, linguistics and literary studies in a monograph which also critically expands on the notion of ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ grape: “…the word ‘autochthonous’ gradually loses its meaning: the vines are the result of an intense and ancient varietal circulation between areas sometimes even spanning great distances, often without geographical boundaries, so the term no longer refers to a place, but to a time, in which the vine is manifested in an optimal way through its production characteristics. The meaning of autochthonous can also be extended to the place where the vine gives its best, such as Sangiovese which, although of southern origin—as we shall see—expresses its DNA in the best way in Tuscany and Emilia, where it is now considered autochthonous” (Scienza and Imazio, XXV).

Authors Serena Imazio (left) and Attilio Scienza (center) with Stevie Kim (Vinitaly International) in 2018 during the presentation of Italian book La Stirpe del Vino, now finally available in English as Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories.

In the book’s Preface, Vinitaly International’s Managing Director Stevie Kim, who has been working with Scienza since 2018 on the Vinitaly International Academy project, comments on the educational value of this publication for the international community of professionals working in the beverage sector: “The English translation of La Stirpe del Vino (which literally translates ‘the lineage of wine’) is another powerful tool to assist wine professionals in their study of Italian wines. The revised title—Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories—aims to give prominence to iconic Italian grapes and wines that are well-known internationally. […] To our Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) community no glass of Italian wine will ever taste the same after reading Attilio and Serena’s Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories: this book […] will bring them closer than they have ever been to the wines that they taste, professionally assess, or drink for pleasure.”

Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories can be purchased on Amazon Italy for €18,90 and on Amazon Kindle for $9,99 (€ 9,02). Publisher Positive Press also provides shipping options. Additional information on the book can be requested by emailing [email protected].

Authors’ biographical note:

Attilio Scienza is Full Professor at the University of Milan, where he taught genetic improvement of the grapevine. His research interests include the genetic improvement of grape varieties and rootstocks by crossbreeding and clonal selection, the appraisal of old vines, and the study of interactions between the vine and the environment to enhance wine quality. He also worked on the preservation and enhancement of the Georgian germplasm. He is the author of 350 scientific publications and 15 books—both academic and of wider appeal—on topics related to the description of grape varieties as well as their relationship with the environment and historical origin. He also serves as the Chief Scientist of the Vinitaly International Academy, wine education provider specialized in teaching the diversity of Italian wine to international professionals.

After completing her degree in Biology in 2000, Serena Imazio begins her extraordinary journey into the wine world by pursuing doctoral studies on the origin and genetics of the grapevine. After her doctorate, she worked as a researcher at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and at the Centro di Trasferimento Tecnologico dell’Emilia Romagna, where she started to get in touch with the world of communication and scientific dissemination of knowledge to wider audiences. She considers herself very lucky since she managed to turn her unabashed curiosity for all things science and her love for the wine world into a fantastic job.

Praise for the book:

“The unique triumph of Scienza and Imazio’s new book on Italy’s viticultural heritage is how, rather addressing it in isolation, it successfully sets Italy’s story in a larger geographical, historical and scientific context. In so doing, the authors reinforce rather than diminish Italy’s importance, expertly demonstrating how the peninsula and its myriad peoples were often key connectors joining the dots of seemingly disparate traditions. Sweeping in its scope, but retaining the intimacy of a personal anecdote, this book is a must for anyone who would seek to truly know Italian wine.” Sarah Heller MW, Proprietor, Radix

“Wine grapes are the most human fruits. Wherever they are planted, if successful, they not only represent in their wines the societies that took care of their cultivation, but also mark the character of the lands in which they grow. Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio share a series of most exciting real stories about grapes travelling and transforming landscapes. Their angle—solidly based upon science and knowledge with as much global perspective as depth—is unique. They are like this book’s grapes, well traveled and exceptional. I have not seen many books so soundly structured and so easy to read, books that provide knowledge while stimulating the imagination of the reader. I enjoyed the Italian version first and then its English version masterfully translated by Joy Livingston. Thanks, Serena, Attilio for your contribution to the understanding of the world of fine Italian wine and, most of all, for giving to me (and I think that to many readers too) lovely hours of intellectual enjoyment.” Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, International Wine Judge

“To speak with Professor Scienza, to read his books, and to listen to him is always a great experience as well as a profound learning journey that we can teach us new notions which at times were overlooked. For decades, Attilio Scienza has stimulated and energized the production sector of the agronomic and enological world. I don’t think we would have reached today’s results without his scientific commitment. Even now, every time I meet him, I always feel the excitement and reverence of a student. Thank you Professor Scienza!” Lamberto Frescobaldi, President, Marchesi Frescobaldi

“Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio’s scholarly quest to understand the genetics of the vine and their passion to narrate their lineage weaving together anthropology, archaeology, sociology, and linguistics make this book a perfect learning tool for people who work in wine, but also for wine lovers at large.” Stevie Kim, Managing Director, Vinitaly International


Sangiovese, Lambrusco, and Other Vine Stories (Positive Press, 2019) is the English translation of Italian nonfiction bestseller about wine history La Stirpe del Vino (Sperling & Kupfer, 2018). In the book, vine genetics experts Attilio Scienza and Serena Imazio illuminate the interaction between human communities and vines, in a journey which will reveal the lineage of wine through stories of migration, conquest, and cross-cultural exchange. Using DNA analysis, archeology, anthropology, myth, and literary sources, authors discuss the origin and ancestry of vines such as Sangiovese, Ribolla, Primitivo, Traminer and the many Moscato, Malvasia, and Lambrusco grapes. Chapters also cover more widely planted varieties such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot, as well as the impact of the phylloxera epidemic in the nineteenth century. Maps and genealogical charts of vine families also grace the book. Available on Amazon for €18,90 and on Amazon Kindle for $9,99.