• Godforsaken Grapes

  • A Slightly Tipsy Journey Through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine
  • By: Jason Wilson
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Horvath
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (113 ratings)

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Godforsaken Grapes

By: Jason Wilson
Narrated by: Jonathan Horvath
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Publisher's Summary

There are nearly 1,400 known varieties of wine grapes in the world - from altesse to zierfandler - but 80 percent of the wine we drink is made from only 20 grapes. In Godforsaken Grapes, Jason Wilson looks at how that came to be and embarks on a journey to discover what we miss. 

Stemming from his own growing obsession, Wilson moves far beyond the “noble grapes”, hunting down obscure and underappreciated wines from Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, France, Italy, the United States, and beyond. In the process, he looks at why these wines fell out of favor (or never gained it in the first place), what it means to be obscure, and how geopolitics, economics, and fashion have changed what we drink. A combination of travel memoir and epicurean adventure, Godforsaken Grapes is an entertaining love letter to wine.

©2018 Jason Wilson (P)2018 Abrams Press

What listeners say about Godforsaken Grapes

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An entertaining and informative listen

I'm in the wine business and I love books about wine, but a lot of times they are just not made for listening. They can be super dry--much better to read on the page. Godforsaken Grapes is definitely the exception to that. The narrator is wonderful, text is entertaining, and it is highly listenable. Learned a lot, but also just enjoyed the personal stories and the humorous flow of the book. Highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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Useful for a casual wine taster

I bought this book as a resource for investigating new wine regions for travels with my father, who is closer to being the true connoisseur. I think the book provided some good ideas for further study. The author has a personable style, though his reliance for pop culture references seems a strained effort to establish common man bona fides. And there are a lot of references to hipster sommeliers, seemingly without awareness of his own hipster-ish tendencies. But all in all, a likable trip through wines and vineyards, and assurances that you needn't be overly impressed by wine snobbery.

3 people found this helpful

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A great read/listen for wine geeks

Really enjoyed this book. The narrator also managed to keep a potentially difficult subject engaging.


(However, I will note that a lot of the pronunciations for grapes names and wine terminology was off. Given that this is a book likely to appeal to a lot of wine geeks, it would be good to provide better direction in this area for titles like these.)

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent! Entertaining and informative.

I loved listing to this book! I’m a Certified Somm and have advanced certification with the WSET. I’m a bit of a nerd so I loved that I learned so many fun facts and got to hear the names of grapes that I’ve barely even read about. I could really appreciate the authors journey of discovery and totally enjoyed the humor that he brought to what could have been a very dry subject. I laughed so hard that I was glad no one in traffic seemed to be paying attention to me! Highly recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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That Narrator Though, WOW

This book is alternatingly interesting, dry, infuriating, existentialism inducing and ultimately engaging. Fantastic narration.

1 person found this helpful

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This book was written for me

I love odd wine grapes, and Wilson covered most of my favorites. Plus I added a few to my must-try list.

1 person found this helpful

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Wine Nerd Heaven

I really enjoyed this book and have recommended it to several of my friends and colleagues. It’s geared towards wine enthusiasts who are looking to expand their palates, so I’m guessing casual wine drinkers would start yawning as soon as things like Chesselas come up. However, these ‘Godforsaken Grapes’ make some of the most fascinating wines you will ever drink. It’s just as much of a story about the unique places where these varietals hail from as it is about the wines themselves. If you dare to go off the beaten path and you will find some true gems. This book may not be for everyone, but I found it very entertaining and informative.

1 person found this helpful

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Get past author's rambling, good info here.

I loved the premise of this book, the author's quest to find rare, under-appreciated, under-represented grapes and their respective wines. The first couple of chapters were a bit rough for me, though and I got fairly close to putting it down. Stick with it, though.

The information on the grapes, wines and winemakers is great. When it deviates from that and gets into the author's personal life, thoughts, views, etc., that's where it got annoying for me. Granted, the "personal stuff" is in the pursuit of making points about the grapes, but still, if you're not in lock-step with the author's thoughts, they're just off-putting. They're not full-on tangents, but still obnoxious.

The author's rants against wine critic, Robert Parker, were especially annoying for me. I get that what the author is trying to do goes directly against that particular wine critic, but using him as a whipping post, off and on, throughout the book started to grate on my nerves. There's a vague "we're sticking it to the 'the man'" message, supposedly, by drinking these wines. But for me, that's not what I'm interested in, at all. I'm just genuinely interested in the grapes and the producers.

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One Man's Faith Journey

Not so much about the grapes or the appellations themselves, as to an underdogs (cocktail expert) transformation to a wine expert, believing in many underdogs (godforsaken grapes). He rails against the cultural despisers and offers an entertaining story. It made me interested in a lot of wines I have yet to taste.

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Great Fun

The reader was great fun. I had no idea there were so many grapes.

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  • Mark J Speakman
  • 08-24-19

An itinerant wine enthusiast

This is not a book for people who want basic wine facts but it’s a great read / listen for people who have some knowledge and want to know more about wines that aren’t the usual suspects i.e. cab sauv, chardonnay etc., it covers relatively known wines like grüner vetliner and obscure wines grown in very small areas. It’s well written and well delivered.

1 person found this helpful

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  • pamn65350
  • 04-21-22

Vive les cépages autochtones de Gaillac !

I have a personal interest in this book with a love of local grape varieties. Jason writes passionately and knowledgeably with plenty of humour.

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  • Blejowski
  • 10-02-18

Well written and well read, if a little meandering

Among the better wine books on audible, and I've listened to several of them. The author is likeable and a skilled writer. He's good at describing wines intricately and colourfully, without getting pompous or dry at all. The book feels as much a travelogue as a wine book, and sometimes he goes off on non-wine related tangents, like a prolonged section about blueberry risotto, for example. Other sections are also a bit undisciplined, like the Riesling section, where he hammers the same basic point (people think Riesling is too sweet, but it often isn't) for a good half hour. Overall, though, a good listen.