THE EMENDATION OF WINE: WINE RECIPES FROM BEINECKE MS 163
("THE WAGSTAFF MISCELLANY")
(Yale University Library Gazette, April 1990)
The recipes found in the Wagstaff Miscellany are not recipes for making wine but rather recipes for rectifying wine that has somehow gone wrong, either in its color or in its flavor. The response of the modern reader to the very idea of recipes such as these is usually one of disgust. How could people do that to their wine? And how could they bring themselves to drink the wine after they had adulterated it? But it bears asking whether these remedies are really repulsive. On some occasions most wine drinkers today drink some kind of wine concoction (or "sophisticated" wine, to use the proper term). Wines are fortified (sherry, port), flavored with herbs (Dubonnet, vermouth, May Wine) or fruit (sangria) or spices (wassail, mulled wine), or even "adulterated" with pitch (retsina). Although putting beaten eggs into wine may sound unappetizing, fining with albumen (egg) or casein (milk) or even protein (blood) remains perfectly common.1
The Wagstaff recipes were clearly designed to help the master or mistress of a substantial household to provide family and guests with wine that was appetizing and drinkable. This accords with the nature of the rest of the manuscript, which is both an encyclopedia and a book of household (or manorial) management covering a variety of problems--medical, equine, astrological, and so forth. It contains works on hawking, confession, dreams, and parliament, a list of kings, emperors, and archbishops, and more. The Wagstaff Miscellany is an unpretentious and eminently practical book. The language has been described as lying "somewhere between '"colourless" regional writing,' and 'writing with a regional basis which includes forms from Chancery Standard."'2 Spellings such as notte (not) and lytylle (little) support the external evidence locating the manuscript in the area of Wiltshire. The thirteen wine recipes, written in a cursive hand of the mid-fifteenth century, occupy folios 122v to l23v and are followed in the manuscript by two medical recipes, one for water retention and the other for poor hearing. The heading of each of the fifteen recipes is bordered on the left side and bottom by a red line. The last recipe is followed by a few lines of Latin verse.
The owner of the book, and the man who probably had it copied (and wrote his name in the margin), was John Whittocksmead (or Whitoxmede, 1410-?1482),3 and the household it was made for was probably that of the Old Manor House of the manor of Melksham Beanacre, Wiltshire.4 Whittocksmead was a local dignitary exceptionally active in local politics; he was the keeper of the peace for Wiltshire from the late 1440S to the late 1450S, and at various times an escheator, king's serjeant-at-arms, and bailiff of the Bishop of Salisbury. He was Knight of the Shire in 1450 and "sat in at least eight Parliaments, and for many different constituencies" stretching from Bath to Salisbury, serving for the last time as late as 1481.5 Whittocksmead was clearly a man of some importance, and the wine he served was probably drunk by all the local notables. There is no reason to think that the quality of the wine he bought or the condition in which it was served was anything but highly acceptable, nor that every tun of wine that entered his cellars needed to be doctored in some way. Under the right conditions, much of the wine from Gascony must have been altogether drinkable when it was served in England.
Recipes such as those in the Wagstaff Miscellany were necessary, however, because the problems in handling and caring for wine were very different from what they are today. From the eighteenth century, glass bottles gave wine a possibility of aging reliably that it had not enjoyed since the days of the Roman amphora. Medieval wine lived its life in wood, and although modern Bordeaux wines live many months in wood, modern wine-making methods have improved immeasurably the stability of the wine, produced with better sanitation, temperature control, and above all a clearer understanding of fermentation and wine chemistry. In the case of Whittocksmead wine was probably bought for the household by the tun from a wine merchant in Bristol who imported it from Gascony (an area including present-day Bordeaux but significantly larger). A shipping tun held 252 "old" English gallons (of 128 ounces), but even if Whittocksmead was using a smaller tun of 208 or 240 gallons, the amount of wine was clearly too great simply to dump if it became undrinkable.6 The luxury we enjoy of pouring down the sink a bottle of wine we dislike simply did not exist.
Wine was shipped from the Continent in tuns (mostly from Gascony until the late Middle Ages), and the voyage be long and rough. Although the trip to, say, Bristol normally took ten days, the ship might arrive, after weeks at sea, in midwinter, when it was difficult to remove the wine promptly to the manor, and the wine might sit on the dock in extreme cold for days. (These day wine is generally shipped from Bordeaux only in late spring or early summer, but in the late Middle Ages shipments customarily began in late November and in some cases did not end until late spring.) The trip home by oxcart would be slow and rough; the cellar at the manor might be ideal for storing wine or might not be (controlling the temperature of the cellar was impossible). And of course the growers in France (or Germany or farther afield) might have had to harvest the grapes under very wet conditions or while the grapes were still too green, resulting in a weak or sour product to begin with. Different wines from the same vintage could be blended, but blending wine from different years was forbidden. If the wine harvest of a given year was disastrous, it was therefore up to the buyer to make it drinkable. Sometimes the wine was not racked before shipping. And of course, before bottles, it was essential to drink the wine as young as possible (as with Beaujolais today); old wine was nearly always bad wine. Unless the wine was transferred at the manor into smaller casks (a procedure these recipes do not imply), to expose it to air as it was drawn off daily would expose it to the constant threat of invasion by hostile bacteria and yeasts. There were many reasons why the manager of a household needed to know how to "order" her wines.
These recipes are not unique to the Middle Ages, though it not hard to imagine why few have survived. Recipes for "amending" wine, written down (like the Wagstaff Miscellany) for the private use of those in charge of the wine of a fairly well-to-do medieval or Renaissance household, were probably common. Perhaps the best-known extant book of this kind is Le Menagier de Paris, written in the late fourteenth century by an older husband for his very young and inexperienced wife. Le Viandier de Taillevent (also fourteenth century) is a book of culinary recipes that also contains a section on rectifying wines. Two Italian treatises, known only from printed sources, are probably medieval in origin: one was appended to A Booke of Secrets, published in London in 1596; the other was conflated with the work of Arnald of Villanova (an early-fourteenth-century physician), translated from the Latin, and printed in a German version in 1478. It is difficult to ascertain the original context of either of these works, but their existence demonstrates that such recipes were not the special property of the English; they were probably passed down in oral or written form wherever wine was drunk. The Italians in fact have a special claim on the genre, since it was not unknown even to the ancient Romans. Other medieval manuscripts containing wine recipes in various languages probably exist but have not been recognized for what they are or have not been deemed important enough to publish. A later example of a household book containing wine recipes (and the latest one I know of) is Gervase Markham's The English Housewife, published in the early seventeenth century.7
The remedies for "sick" or "diseased" wine were in fact very few, and early writers knew it. Wine could be dyed if the color were too pale, or fined to remove suspended particles and (to a degree) off colors; more serious fining would reduce tannin.8 One reason fining was so necessary was that some of the remedies "cured" the wine for only a short time before a further deterioration took place. If the wine was to be used, it would then have to be fined rapidly and drunk in short order. Off flavors could be removed in some cases, but if all else failed they would have to be masked with spices, herbs, honey, or some combination of the three. This is not to say that half a dozen recipes would suffice for all occasions: if the kinds of problems affecting wine were few, the kinds and conditions of wine on which to practice the recipes were very many. Each condition, each season, each kind of wine might call for a different treatment, and just as a doctor might prescribe a different remedy if the first failed to work, so multiple solutions for a general problem affecting wine often circulated.9
It is not always easy to understand the precise problem a specific recipe was designed to solve. The recipes are generally cryptic, since they were usually written only to jog the memory. The problems were better understood and more easily recognized by those who dealt with them regularly, which rendered elaborate descriptions superfluous. Moreover, having been written down for use in a private household, these recipes might contain idiosyncratic ingredients that caught the fancy and pleased the palates of the Whittocksmeads and their guests. The surest way to decipher the recipes is to read a variety of other recipes, often of later date, which explain the materials or procedures in a slightly different way or use comparable ingredients (though not exactly the same ones) to effect a similar cure. For this purpose another of Beinecke's treasures serves very well: Walter Charleton's Of the Mysterie of Vintners (1669), written by a physician who sought to organize and present material he had gleaned from the vintners of his day, first for the Royal Society (the discourse was delivered as a lecture to the society on 26 November 1662) and then for the general public.10 Carefully organized, this book explains the function and procedure of each recipe more fully than books designed for private use or the trade.
Here then are the remedies that were applied in John Whittocksmead's household.
 For wyne that begynneth to boyle a-gen:
Take benys the wyght [weight] of a quarteron of a pounde, and half a pounde of Myntez, and drye them in a novyn [an oven] and make powder of them and put hit in a bagge wyth-yn the barcok [?bung hole], but be wel war [very careful] of troubelying of the wyne.11
If wine shipped in winter were incompletely fermented, the cold might stop the fermentation before it was complete. What is more, the lack of precise methods must often have meant that a significant amount of residual sugar remained in the wine under the best conditions, waiting for the yeasts to be reactivated. With the return of warmer weather in the spring or summer the wine would begin to ferment again. The fermentation of wine (a process not really understood fully until the nineteenth century) was for many centuries a constant problem for the wine merchant and the customer.
Because they are basic, beans would reduce the acids naturally occurring in wine; if the pH were reduced sufficiently this would inhibit fermentation.l2 The beans would have a simultaneous fining effect. "For the Praeternatural, or sickly commotions incident to wines after their first Clarification," Walter Charleton advises the addition of "a large quantity of new Milk," which would have the same effect (f. 169). The Wagstaff recipe is the only one I have found that prescribes mints (usually in the plural); it is difficult to understand what this would contribute to the process.
 For wyne that is longe and Fatte in the mouthe, to make hit short
Take 1x eggis and breke hem in a Vessell and bete hem wel to-gede. Put thereto ij hanfulle [two handfuls] of white salt. Then take a pounde of coperore, small y-grounde, a quarteron of veregrese [verdigris], smalle y-grounde, and tempir alle thees to-geder a lange tyme, and thenne putte hit in the tonne [tun] of wyne and lete hym lye a good while tille he be shortte.
Wine that is longe is thick, turbid, or "ropy." Shorte wine is therefore not viscous. (Markham says of Gascon wine, "In any case, let it be short, for if it be long, then in no wise meddle with it" [p. 143].) The term "fat" is taken over from the French ("se le vin est gras," Le Menagier, p. 68), and "graisse" is a term still used of wine. In discussing a rich, sweet wine, "fat" is sometimes used as a term of approbation--Markham speaks of wines that are "deep coloured and pleasant, long, and sweet"--but in the recipe above, the quality is clearly not pleasant. Wine was often shipped unracked, a condition that could encourage the development of the kind of "flying lees" this wine is plagued with.l3 Fining is the usual prescription for this condition, and eggs and salt are one of the commonest combinations for carrying it out. The salt would combine with the precipitate and settle out, leaving behind no salty taste.l4 The effect of adding copper and verdigris is not so obvious. Copper acts as a catalyst in fermentation or oxidation and might therefore be expected to induce a fermentation that would rid the wine of the unwanted "mother."15 There would therefore be good reason to "lete hym lye a good while." The addition of so much copper to the wine would however do nothing good for the health of the person who drank it.
"To Correct wines faulty in Consistence, i.e. such as are lumpish, foul, or Ropy," Charleton reports that the vintners of his day use "the powders of burnt Alum, Lime, Chalk, Plaistre, Spanish White, Calcined Marble, bay Salt, and other the like bodies, which cause a precipitation of the gross and viscid parts of the wine then afloat." For white (Spanish) wine he suggests the use of "Bean-Flower, or powder of Rice" (ff. 178-79), but the principle is everywhere the same.l6
 For wyne that is to grene
Take ij [two] galons of puryd hony and temper [mix] hit wyth the same wyne and putte hit in to the same tonne.
The honey must be mixed with a quantity of wine before it is introduced into the tun, to keep it from settling to the bottom. Although it has long been recognized that there is no real "cure" for wine that is too young except to mask its sharp flavor by counteracting its acidity, in this case with honey, this is not necessarily all that is going on here. It is only very recently that malolactic, or secondary, fermentation has been understood (not to be confused with refermentation). Secondary fermentation may take place simultaneously with the primary fermentation or as late as a year after, and reduces the acidity in the wine by as much as fifty percent; if secondary fermentation had been long delayed the wine might be highly acidic, but it would have been impossible for the buyer of a tun of wine to know whether it had taken place. On the other hand the weather in France might simply have been very bad, producing grapes high in acid and deficient in sugar. Wine that is young and kept in wood is very susceptible to further fermentation, as many recipes demonstrate. Honey would provide sugar to feed the yeasts in the wine and therefore to encourage further fermentation, which might well result in a more drinkable wine. At the same time, the honey would aid in fining the wine.
Charleton counsels the following remedy "when . . . Rhenish Wines prick": "First rack them . . . then add to the wine 8 or 10 gallons of clarified Hony, with a gallon or two of skim-milk, and beating all together, leave them to settle" (f. 187). The Viandier suggests honey and saffron, together with wheat flour (p. 234 [p. 297 of transl.]). Other writers, including Charleton, counsel the use of various fruit juices or mashes to induce fermentation.
 For wyne that wolle notte hold colour
Take a potell [half gallon] of parchid benys and put them alle hote in-to the tonne.
The clear distinction now made between red and white wines was not always recognized in the Middle Ages. Wine makers mixed red and white wines when it was convenient, and red wine must often have been light in color. Moreover, grape must (or juice) destined to become white wine but left a little too long in contact with the skins becomes tinged with red. In the recipe above the wine is more likely a white wine that is oxidized. (Red wines would more likely be "improved" by being dyed.) Adjustment of the color of wine is the subject of many medieval and post-medieval recipes. In 1594 Sir Hugh Plat (or Platte) discussed the Englishman's attitude toward the color of his wine:
We are growne so nice in taste, that almost no wines vnlesse they be more pleasant than they can be of the grape wil content vs, nay no color unless it be perfect, fine and bright, will satisfie our wanton eyes, whereupon (as I have been creedibly enfourmed by some that have scene the practize in Spain) they are forced even there to interlace now and then a lay of Lime with the Sacke Grape in the expression, thereby to bring their Sacks to bee of a more white colour into England then is naturall vnto them, or then the Spaniardes themselues will brooke or endure, who will drinke no other Sackes then such as be of an Amber colour.17
As in the first recipe beans would have a fining effect, and with a little luck would also remove the particles that produced the off color. Charleton counsels, for "Yellow or Brownish" wines, "Milk, ... sometimes Milk and White Starch: by which they force the exalted Sulphur to separate from the liquor, and sink to the bottom; so reducing the wine to its former clearness and whiteness" (f. 176).
 For wyne that is Foysted:
Take half a pounde of powdyr of galynggale and melle [mix] hit wyth the18 same wyne and pute it vn-to the vessell, but a-ware [beware] the welle that thu meve [move] notte the wyne ne the vessell.
Wine that has become enfusté tastes of the barrel, or "fust." Galingale (Alpinia officinarum) is a pungent, aromatic herb (now used in vermouth); the alcohol in the wine would extract the herb's volatile oils to give the wine a better flavor. An Italian recipe suggests the same cure, with the addition of a handful each of sage and hops.19
 For wyne that sauoryth [smells] of the vessell, as it were rotyn:
Take ij vnce [two ounces] of Gyngir and ij vnce of seewale [turmuric] and pounde them and boyle in a potell of wyne and [put hem]20 alle y-fere [together] in-to the wessell and lete the vessel rest a gode while.
Probably intended as an alternative to the preceding recipe, this one is found in slightly more elaborate form in The Viandier. The French statement of the problem is almost exactly that of this manuscript: "Pour garir vin bouté ["fat" see recipe , above] ou qui sense le fust, le mugue [musty] ou le pourry [rotten]" (p. 236). The rotyn smell (and taste) may be one of moldiness or simply mustiness, perhaps caused by lactic bacteria spoilage.21 Ginger and turmeric would provide a spicy overlay of flavor. Both turmeric and members of the ginger family are still used to flavor vermouth.
"To help Stinking wines," Charleton suggests, "the general Remedy is Racking them from their old and corrupt Lee. Besides which, some give them a fragrant smell or Flavor, by hanging in them little baggs of spices, such as Ginger, Zedoary,22 Cloves, Cinnamon, Orras roots, Cubbs [cubeb], Grains of Paradise, Spiknard, &c. Aromaticks" (f. 189). Later recipes repeatedly advise drawing the wine off the old lees to effect any real "cure" of wine with this sort of problem. That this procedure is not mentioned may mean that it was not employed, but since recipe  (below) counsels the use of a clene vessell for the wine, perhaps the procedure was thought too self-evident to require mention. Neither the Menagier nor the Viandier mentions racking "sick" wine, but the Italian treatise that accompanies Arnald's work on wine counsels that "every wine that smells badly needs to be drawn off into another cask before you apply any remedy" (p. 29).
 For wyne that wolle notte leve [stop] boylyng [fermenting]:
Take a panne fulle of wyne and make hit sethe [boil] ouer the fyre and alle sethyng, put hit in-to the vessell, and if hit [sethe] to fast wyth-drawe hit a lytyll by-nethe [beneath].
If a pan or kettle of boiling wine is added to something like 250 gallons of wine, the heat will clearly be far too little to stop the fermentation. A fermentation that is too leisurely harms the wine, so a good, brisk fermentation is desirable. If the weather (or the cellar is too cold, however, the fermentation may not be able to develop briskly. One way to warm the wine (since it would be unwise to start a fire under a wooden tun) would be to add a small amount of boiling wine, to raise the temperature of the wine in the tun a degree or two and get the fermentation going. Once under way the fermentation not likely to be stifled by the cold.
 For to eve a tonne of white wyne gode colour:
Take23 halfe a pounde of Grayne that men grayneth wyth scarlet ande pounde hym smale and medle [mix] hym of clene watir and put hit in-to a clene vessell and late hym lye viij of ix daies or that [before] thu drawe any wyne therof, and sone aftir he shalle [have]24 a fyne rose coloure.
One of the commonest recipes for improving wine is one for giving it a good red color. Most of the wine drunk in England was claret--that is, red wine from Gascony. The claret was probably paler, less alcoholic, and on the whole less stable than the modern bottled equivalent. It must even have been difficult at times to decide which kind of wine (red or white) was being served, and in an age when bottled and aged wine was unknown, making such a distinction would probably have been considered a bit pedantic. The wine had to look appetizing; the emphasis was decidedly not on preserving the character of a very particular wine from a tiny wine-growing area. The English seemed nevertheless to have preferred their red wine very red, just as they preferred their white wine very pale. The most common solution for the problem of pale red wine was to add the juice of some kind of fruit of berries (see recipe , below). The other method was to use some kind of dye, either vegetable or (as in this case) insectile. As late as the eighteenth century grayne or kermes was believed by northern Europeans to be a dried berry. It was imported from the Mediterranean and used to dye both cloth ("the kermes that people use to dye things scarlet with") and various drinks and confections. In fact kermes (or alkermes, or dyer's grain) is a dried insect gathered from the scarlet oak of southern Europe and known to the ancients as a dye source. This is the only use of kermes in wine that I have seen; the more usual dye for wine, and the one with which Charleton was familiar, was turnsole, a plant imported from the Mediterranean.
 For to make of roode wyne white:
Take a pounde of Almondez smale y-grounde [finely ground] and temper them wyth the same wyne, and ij hanfulle of salt, and medle alle y-fere [together], or els take a quarteryn of a pounde of Alum de glas [potash alum] and halfe a quarteron of a pounde of Alum de plum [aluminum sulphate (modern English plume alum)] and medle al thes y-fere and put it in to the tonne25 or vessell, but a-vent [expose to air] hym notte and ley vp ryght.
It is unlikely that the purpose of this recipe was simply the idle one of turning red wine into white wine. Any hint of an off color, be it yellow, tawny, or otherwise dark, was a condition requiring a remedy. The obvious remedy that comes to mind is fining. Almonds seem at first glance to be a flavoring agent, but The Viandier prescribes almonds and salt, just as this recipe does, "Pour esclarcir vin roux" ["russett," not "red"; p. 238].26 The use of roode in the heading may even indicate a less than careful translation from a wine recipe in French. Gervase Markham (like many after him) counsels the use of alum for "white wine that have lost his colour," but although the use of alum for fining is very common, no other recipe I have seen calls for two different kinds of alum.
 For wyne that is jawndez:
Take a galon fulle of clene whete and lete hit [?soak] and than putte therto ij galons of tynte [vino tinto]. And if thu haue no tynte take a potell of blake27 beryes y-pownyd [crushed] and put them in a bagge and hang hem a lytylle [i.e., on a short cord] wyth-yn the vessell.
Wine that is jaundiced is yellow or yellow-brown, so it makes sense
that this recipe should follow the one to "make of roode wyne
white." The poor householder is probably dealing here with an oxidized red wine, perhaps a wine that was not very dark red to begin with. The standard method for giving wine a more robust color is to add some kind of berry juice or grape juice, or very dark red Mediterranean wine. Gervase Markham advises "alicant" for "Gascon wine that hath lost his colour" (p. 145); this recipe prescribes the same wine, calling it tynte.
It is difficult to see why the addition of wheat would have been necessary together with the tynte; it is probable that in the Middle Ages people were accustomed to adding a fining agent whenever they had to adjust the wine, "just to be sure." The copyist has omitted a word or phrase, perhaps because he could not read his exemplar, but he has left space so that the words could be added later. The wheat is probably soaked before being added to the wine, as it is in the French recipes, to prevent it from floating. Wheat, being a starch the barley, beans, rice, and other grains and pulses suggested elsewhere), would fine the wine, which would be necessary with the blackberries, since adding fresh juice would induce another fermentation that might leave the wine cloudy. Markham suggests using damson plums or wild plums; Charleton, elderberries (or alicant) others, sloes, or dark grapes,28 but this recipe holds with crushed blackberries.
 For wyne that hath lost his myght wyth travayle:
Take halff a vnce of Greynes of paradise [guinea grains] and the poyse of ij d of wyght [two penny-weight (cf. modern English "avoirdupois")] of Alome de plume and grynde them y-fere, and temper hit wyth the same wyne and putt hit in-to the tonne or vessell.
Wine that has traveled too much or too recently does not lose its alcohol content, but it may lose its character. The wine might recover if given enough time, but there might not always have been time, and there might have been other reasons why it had to be drunk quickly. This recipe was intended to make the wine palatable. Guinea grains [A(fra)momum melegaeta], imported from Africa as their name implies, were the forerunner in Europe of black pepper from the East Indies. A member of the ginger family (as so many of the aromatic spices used in these recipes are), guinea grains would, in the words of a modern herbal, "give strength to" wine. Alum, a fining agent would remove any bits of the spice remaining suspended in the wine.
 For to Amende wyne that is sowre:
Take a quarte of whete and temper [soak] hit29 iij daiez in clene welle water, and then putte hit in a bagge and hangge hit wyth a threde wyth-yn barcok [?bung hole], and when the wyne is amendyd30 cutte the threde.
Flavors are notoriously difficult to describe, as the proliferation of verbiage to describe the taste of wine proves. Sometimes it is the remedy that reveals that the problem is the same in two or more recipes. The Menagier of Paris uses grain to remedy a wine that has become aigri (p. 134). Charleton uses rice to remedy "an unpleasant taste" (p. 241). A later treatise suggests adding barley boiled in water "to correct a sour, or bitter taste in wine."31 The recipe above prescribes wheat for wine that is "sour." It is clear that starch was used to remove unpleasant or off flavors from the wine. "Sour" could also refer to a tannic property in the wine, which fining would reduce. As in recipe  the grain must first be soaked and then added to the wine.
 For wyne that wolle notte fyne:
Take lx eggez and breke them in a vessell wyth a hanfulle of grete [coarse] salt and bete them welle. Put thereto j d wyght [one penny-weight] of spykenard and put alle thees in-to the tonne, and he shalle be fyne a-none [at once].
Eggs and salt are standard and ubiquitous fining agents. Charleton describes the fining process as follows: "Wine coopers put into the Wine certain things to . . . help its Clarification; such as being of gross and viscous parts, may adhere to the floating Lee, and sinking carry it with them to the bottom; of which sort are Isinglass and the Whites of Eggs: or such as meeting with the grosser and earthly particles of the Lee, both dissociate, and sink them by their gravity; of which kind are the powders of Alabastre, calcin'd Flints, white Marble, Roch Alum, &c." Spikenard is added in a Latin recipe for fining wine, but it is difficult to understand what its effect would have been.32 Spiknard is mentioned as a flavoring agent by Charleton (see recipe ), but perhaps spikenard aids the fining process in some way unknown to us.
The wine recipes of the Wagstaff Miscellany stand near the beginning of a genre that stretches from the Classical period into the nineteenth century. The numerous modern books on wine give no hint of the long tradition of "ordering" wines. Even a book with a title like Monks and Wine, which treats what were undoubtedly the primary producers of wine until the high Middle Ages, mentions the methods employed in the fifteenth century and later only in connection with the "Dark Ages," implying unmistakably that only poor, benighted souls would so tamper with the divine drink.33 Elitism, which governed so much historical writing in the last century and a half, has ensured that no one include much real information on the ordering of wines, and that where ordering is discussed at all it be called "adulteration" and decried.
The written tradition was not constant and unchanging. At least four different kinds of treatise contain recipes for ordering wine. The ancients included wine recipes in books on gardening and agriculture.34 In addition to the household book or "cookbook" of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, wine recipes also figure in various post-medieval how-to books, which usually contain all sorts of technical recipes and tricks; Valuable Secrets concerning Arts and Trades (1795) and A Booke of Secrets (1596) fall into this category. A third category includes books written for "the trade"--handbooks detailing sometimes legitimate, sometimes questionable means of making wine salable, such as The Vintner's, Brewer's, Spirit Merchant's, and licensed Victualler's Guide (1829). Books of this kind in turn called forth books on the adulteration of foods; these were intended to expose the nefarious winesellers' tricks, often by recounting wild, lurid stories of abuse and in some cases offering chemical formulas for testing food and drink for suspected adulteration (Frederick Accum, A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, exhibiting the fraudulent sophistications of bread, beer, wine . . . and other articles employed in domestic economy. and Methods of detecting them, l820). Works in this last category range from the emotional to the scientific.35 Recipes for use by the wine importer or seller and works exposing his villainous deeds died out in the nineteenth century. But wine recipes live on (think of making sangria out of a poor wine), and so does wine adulteration, as the scandal of the mid-1980's in Austria involving wine and "antifreeze" clearly demonstrates.
*The research for this article was carried out as part of the seminar in paleography and codicology sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and held at the Beinecke Library in the summer of 1989.
1. Various authors advised using eggs, salt, sand, crushed white stones, gesso, blood, isinglass, alum, honey, pistachios, milk, and diverse starches. In Michael Best's words, the effect of these fining agents "is to precipitate colloidal particles of opposite electrostatic charge." "The Mystery of Vintners," Agricultural History 50 (1976): 370 n. 18.
2. See Barbara Shailor, Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts (Binghamton, N.Y., 1984), 1:222.
3. Barbara Shailor has identified Whittocksmead as the author and reproduced two pages of the recipes (ff. 122v and 123r) in The Medieval Book (New Haven, 1988), 100-101. She discusses the dialect of the manuscript, and notes in her Catalogue, 1:222, Whittocksmead's "Explicit" at the end of several sections of the manuscript.
4. Victoria County History, Wiltshire, 7:98-99.
5. Victoria County History, Wiltshire, 5:31-34, 78; 6:28.
6. Ronald Edward Zupko, A Dictionary of English Weights and Measures from Anglo-Saxon Times to the Nineteenth Century (Madison and London, 1968), 175.
7. Le Menagier de Paris, ed. Georgine E. Brereton and Janet M. Ferrier (Oxford, 1981); trans. Eileen Power as The Goodman of Paris (London, 1928). The Viandier of Taillevent, ed. Terence Scully (Ottawa, 1988). A Booke of Secrets . . . Hereunto is annexed a lisle Treatise, intituled, Instructions for ordering of Wines: Shewing how to make Wine, That it may continue good and faint not, Neither become sower, nor loose colour And how you may remedie faint Wine, take away the hoariness . . .. trans. W. R (London, 1596). The Earliest Printed Book on Wine, by Arnald of Villanova, ed. Henry E. Sigerist (New York, 1943). The English Housewife, ed. Michael R. Best (Montreal, 1986). Cato (On Agriculture), Pliny (Natural History), and Columella (On Agriculture and Trees) all offered their readers wine recipes. In the fourth century Palladius included wine recipes in his Latin treatise on husbandry; to judge from surviving copies of Middle English translations and commentary, this work was read and admired in the late Middle Ages.
8. Fining agents often had secondary effects on the wine, and the huge variety of fining agents used implies that people were aware of how different agents solved diverse, complex problems.
9. The use of the many known fining agents, for instance, depended on the kind of wine the degree of the problem, and the raw materials at hand. W. P. counsels: "It will be better, if both the remedies [for "hoariness"] be vsed one after the other, that is, the second after the first" (A Booke of Secrets).
10. Two Discourses, The Mysterie of Vintners; or, A Brief Discourse concerning the various sicknesses of Wines, and their respective Remedies, at this Day commonly used (London, 1669). "The Emendation of Wine" is a phrase borrowed from Charleton, f. 184. Charleton (1619-1707) was appointed physician to Charles II at the age of twenty-four and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1662; although not famed for his skills as a physician, he became a prolific writer of the period on physiology and related subjects.
11. I have transcribed the recipes exactly as they appear, with these exceptions: I have added punctuation (and hyphenation to regularize word division), expanded abbreviation marks, and replaced the Middle English thorn with th and yogh with z.
12.1 am very grateful to Ken Heinrich, who put his extensive knowledge of wine at my disposal and provided essential bibliographical assistance, and to Stephen Parks of the Beinecke Library, who shared a number of useful books on wine from his library.
j3. Lees that refuse to settle can be caused by the action of some of the malolactic group of organisms, by decomposed cellulose, or by a number of other chemical interactions.
14. Salt "dissolves the globulin and helps to give a more rapid fining" (Best, "Mystery of Vintners," 370). In fact salt was used by the ancients to age wine artificially. The Roman Apicius recommends bean meal and the whites of eggs to clarify muddy wine (vinum ex atro candidum facies); the Torinus edition of the work (Basle, 1541) suggests adding white salt as well (Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, ed. and trans. Joseph Dommers Vehling [New York, 1977]).
15. M. A. Amerine, H. W. Berg, and W. V. Cruess, The Technology of Wine Making, 2d ed. (Westport, Conn., 1967), 213.
16. Only in this recipe and in recipe  does the word vessell seem to be used for a container other than a tonne (cf. recipe : tonne or vessell).
17. The Jewell House of Art and Nature (London, 1594, 1653),65-66.
18. The manuscript reads the the.
19. Earliest Printed Book on Wine, ed. Sigerist, 29.
20. [put hem] inadvertently omitted.
21. Amerine, Berg, and Creuss, Technology of Wine Making, 561.
22. Turmeric; "zedoary" is another form of the word seewale, Chaucer's cetewale (Miller's Tale, 1. 3207; Sir Thopas, 1. 1951).
23. The word Take is followed by an erasure.
24. [have] inadvertently omitted.
25. The word tonne is followed by an erasure.
26. Almonds are also used in Arnald of Villanova's text to improve "cloud and weak wine" (p. 28). Salt is still used to remove fresh red wine stains--that is, to remove the color from red wine.
27. The word brake is followed by an erasure.
28. Markham, English Housewife, ed. Best, 144; Charleton, Of the Mysterie of Vintners, f. 176.
29. The manuscript reads hit and temper him.
30. The manuscript reads amendyd le.
31. Valuable Secrets concerning Arts and Trades (Norwich, 1795), 162.
32. "Ad clarificandum vinum turbidum, accipe duas uncias spice nardi." Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria, 382.
33. Desmond Seward, Monks and Wine (London, 1979), 25-26.
34. Columella casts his information in the form of advice to the wife of the bailiff of an estate, advice that sounds very much like that of Gervase Markham to the English housewife many centuries later.
35. The history of these last two types of recipe book has been traced by Michael Best in "The Mystery of Vintners." Other types of treatises on wine exist, of course but only the medical treatises among them might contain some reference to wine "additives," and then primarily to caution against their ill effects.
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