PREFACE TO THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION
his first English edition is a translation of the seventh French edition of "Précis de Viticulture", published in 2000. Certain modifications have been made for non-French audiences.
When the first French edition appeared in 1970, I wrote that "no recent viticulture textbook summarises the knowledge acquired in this field over the last 100 years. The late 19th century saw profound crises in European grape growing, caused primarily by the introduction or spread of various grapevine parasites. These crises were followed in the mid-20th century by the progressive mechanisation of viticultural practices and, in the last 15 years, by the incredible growth in the use of chemicals- fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, growth hormones and fumigants-and of plastic materials- ties, films, pipes, anti-hail and anti-bird netting."
As in the previous French editions, my primary concern has been to provide precise definitions for common technical terms in order to facilitate comprehension.
I have tried to describe how viticultural techniques have changed in recent years. These changes have resulted from the decreased availability of farm labour, the almost complete mechanisation of vineyard practices and all other attempts to decrease production costs while maintaining sufficient grape and wine quality to prevent consumers from turning towards other fruits or alcoholic beverages. This book also includes an examination of trends in world-wide consumption of grapevine products over the years.
Since 1970, several viticultural texts have been published in French, and I have been pleased to note the large number of works written by graduates of the Ecole de Montpellier: Champagnol, Crespy, Huglin and Reynier in France, Simon and Mischler in Switzerland and Csepregi in Hungary. Special mention must also go to Professor Branas for his work in this field.
Similarly, numerous articles have appeared since the first French edition and have been referred to in this edition: Bayonove, Boidron, Boubals, Bouquet, Carbonneau, Cordonnier, Durquéty, Fallot, Guillon, Lafon, Lavie, Levadoux, Marcelin, Nigond, Pouget, Torregrossa, Valat and Vidal in France as well as Daris, Krimbas, Nedeltcheff and Garcia de Lujan in other countries.
All of these researchers have been ardent proponents of quality grape growing and have helped to disseminate the teachings of the Ecole de Montpellier, each of course adding a personal touch.
The objective of this English translation is to present an overview of current French knowledge in the field of viticulture to a wider, non-French-speaking audience. Viticultural theories and techniques in the New World countries, such as Australia, the United States, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile, have been, and in many cases remain, quite different from those in the traditional wine countries of Europe. The sharing of this knowledge would thus seem to be of interest.
The bibliography has deliberately been limited to the works cited in the text, in order to avoid excessively increasing the price of this volume.
The present text does not include a study of grape varieties or of grapevine diseases and disorders. For a detailed examination of French grape varieties and North American rootstock species, the reader can refer to my two-volume study of ampelography (in French): "Cépages et Vignobles de France" (volume 1: "Les Vignes Américaines"  and volume 2: "L'Ampélographie Française" ). Numerous colour plates and other visual aids are included to assist in grapevine identification.
These two volumes have been summarised in a single book to include the main grape and rootstock varieties used throughout the world. An English-language version exists: "Grape Varieties and Rootstock Varieties", again with numerous colour plates.
I have also covered the subject of grapevine diseases and parasites in a French-language monograph entitled "Précis de Pathologie Viticole" (1991), with 200 colour illustrations to facilitate identification in the vineyard. An English translation was published in 1998 under the title "Grape Diseases". For specialists, I have published a two-volume work, "Les Maladies and les Parasites de la Vigne".
I would like to thank Mr. Bayonove and Mr. Günata for very helpfully providing me with information on grape aroma compounds and Mr. Martin for documentation about the 1988 French vineyard survey. André Bernard kindly accepted the difficult task of rereading the French manuscript and provided many useful comments, as well as several photos that have been included in this edition.