Vine Atlas

~A Translator’s Eye View~

What is the book about?

Much of the content of the Vine Atlas of Spain and Portugal has remained inaccessible to the English-speaking world of wine until now.

This holds true for each of the four sections of the book:




IV AMPELOGRAPHY (Grapevine Variety Profiles)

  • This volume brings together detailed articles written by key Spanish and Portuguese researchers and authorities at the forefront of their respective fields.
  • The varied authorship has nevertheless been presented in a style that is both consistent and concise, and provides an holistic overview of current issues in Iberian viticulture, which are also of broader, international relevance.
  • Some articles were written specifically for this book, whilst others are published here for the first time.
  • The English version of the Ampelography has a uniformity that was difficult to achieve given the diverse sources of information in both Spain and Portugal. The Ampelography, prepared in line with OIV guidelines, is in itself the product of countless collaborations over a number of years by Hans Jörg Bohm, the collaborating authors, and the many vitivinicultural institutes they collectively represent.
  • The multifaceted perspectives of the Vine Atlas of Spain and Portugal narrative combine seamlessly with a wealth of illustration and excellent photography throughout.
Title Verso
I have the author’s permission to publish excerpts such as these.


This work is a translation from the German Rebsortenatlas Spanien Portugal – Geschichte – Terroir – Ampelographie (© 2011, 288 Seiten, 250 farbige Abbildungen, Maße: 31 cm, Gebunden, Deutsch. ULMER EUGEN ISBN-10: 3800176823 ISBN-13: 9783800176823).

Separate hard cover German and Portuguese versions were launched in Portugal In September 2011. Lack of funding has meant that the completely edited and marked up English translation is currently seeking a publisher.

Table of contents
Being a German to English translator does not always mean translating from German to English.

I translated one article on “Intravarietal Genetic Variability in Grapevine Varieties” and the book jacket directly from the Portuguese. I edited a second article written in English by a Spanish scientist entitled, “Genetic Origin of Iberian Peninsula Grapevine Cultivars”.

Collaborating Authors
Inside front of jacket

Knowledge of Portuguese has proven to be an important tool in the translation of this work encompassing a broad range of subject matters, as it did when dealing with layout and design staff in the final revision stage.

Somewhat tangentially, I wrote a non serious take on this and aspects related to the translation process called The Vine Book, and one other which turns out to be its precursor, Lucky Number Seven.

At the book launch: Allison Wright (Translator), Hans Jörg Böhm (Author)
Note to translators in hindsight: Less coffee and more sleep is the wiser choice – advice I did not follow.

I was fortunate to have close collaboration with the author and coordinator, Hans Jörg Böhm, as I was to meet a good many of the collaborating authors at the launch.

I include here a link (In Portuguese) of an account of the book launch by the IVV – Instituto da Vinha e do Vinho [Institute of Vine and Wine] – which I attended and which took place on 15 September 2011 at the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa [Academy of Sciences of Lisbon].

Hans Jörg Böhm making his speech at the book launch in the Salão Nobre da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa [Great Hall of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon] in which he referred to me as “uma tradutora apaixonante” (a passionate translator).

The oddity of being the German-English translator of the as yet unpublished English translation attending a book launch conducted entirely in Portuguese ought to be noted somewhere. Fortunately, my Portuguese is improving all the time, and I managed to be just as sociable as I usually am at such affairs.

Abstract from,
“The Vine Atlas of Spain and Portugal – History, Terroir and Ampelography”

The jacket blurb detailing the many achievements of Mr Böhm in the world of vitiviniculture makes very interesting reading. I translated it from the Portuguese. To this day, I have not had sight of the German. C’est la vie.


Hans Jörg Böhm

Author and Coordinator Hans Jörg Böhm was born on 1 July 1938 in the German town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße. He holds a degree in Economics and has many years’ experience in the international wine trade. In the early 1980s he made the decision to take a further course of study at the Geisenheim Research Center with a view to preparing himself for the challenge of creating a company in Portugal which would be the first of its kind with the objective of improving the nation’s viticultural stock. At roughly the same time he established Plansel SA, a breeding nursery and estate for selected grapevine varieties, thereby initiating an innovative project involving the collection of specific grapevine varieties and viticultural breeding programmes. This was made possible by his instrumental role in facilitating protocols of cooperation between the Geisenheim Research Center’s grapevine breeding department, the University of Évora and the Portuguese National Agricultural Research Station’s plant pathology department. The project gained recognition as a technology transfer initiative of direct benefit to Portugal and as such received sponsorship from KfW (Kredietanstalt für Wiederaufbau), the German government-owned bank based in Frankfurt. The project’s clonal selection resulted not only in clones of grapevine varieties and rootstocks being officially recognised but also in two new fungus-resistant varieties being created in accordance with the regulations contained in the UPOV Convention (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants). Hans Jörg Böhm was the founder and a director of VITICERT, the association of viticultural plant breeders in Portugal, member of a CIP (Confederation of Portuguese Industry) delegation to a European Federation of Nurserymen conference held in Geneva, President of the former International Association of Grapevine Breeders based in San Michele (Italy) as well as a member of other viticultural organisations. Plansel SA has participated in many innovation projects and technology transfer projects (KfW, JNICT, NATO, EC initiatives and INIA and ADI programmes) side by side with international partners such as BfA Geilweilerhof, Geisenheim Research Center, LALEFO Neustadt, the Frauenhofer-Institut, Aachen, the University of Bari (Italy), ENTAV (France), Cornell University (USA) and Foundation Plant Services, University of California, Davis (USA) and has thus achieved concrete results in the quest to improve quality in viticulture. In 2001, Hans Jörg Böhm retired from active involvement in his company, Plansel SA. Shortly thereafter, he became a member of the Porter Cluster. After facilitating some seven different symposia and workshops, he devoted himself to his task as Convenor of the first International Symposium on Grapevine Growing, Commerce and Research held in Portugal under the aegis of the ISHS. During the period of Portugal’s accession to the European Union, he began to collate data gathered in Portugal on grapevine varieties, and participated in events relating to Portuguese grapevine varieties at many congresses, including those of the OIV (Mainz), ISHS, FPS University of California, Davis and ADI (Rio de Janeiro). He is co-author and coordinator of O Grande Livro das Castas – Portugal Vitícola (Chaves Ferreira – Publicações, 2007), the precursor to this volume. In 2009, he published a book in Portuguese on the Marquis of Montemor. In 2006 the President of the Portuguese Republic, Dr. Jorge Sampaio, bestowed on him the distinction of Comendador da Ordem de Mérito Agrícola (Commander of the Order of Merit for Agriculture) in recognition of his achievements.


Since completion of the above:

In May 2012, I wrote a guest blog on Catherine Translates entitled, “Translating a 125,000-word book: connections and corrections” about my experience.

The trilingual BETA version of the Vine to Wine Circle portal was launched on 3 January 2013. It contains the Vine Atlas of Spain and Portugal, and its German and Portuguese counterparts, substantial content from O Grande Livro das Castas (in all three languages), and an extra section on the wine regions of Portugal drafted especially for this portal.

In other words, “the vine book” has been published.

Vine to Wine Circle


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