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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
26 Oct 2016

I'm asked quite often how people can see the wine programmes we made for television in the 1990s and so we recently uploaded two series of them in full. 

We originally uploaded only a portion of each of the 10 half-hour episodes of the award-winning Jancis Robinson's Wine Course, the five-hour series we shot around the world in 1994 and 1995 for the BBC. But now you can see every minute, with subtitles where necessary, such as during my sessions with the late Henri Jayer in both vineyard and cellar. (We shot the Burgundy bits during the 1994 harvest so there is a lot of rain and low cloud.) 

Obviously everyone looks a lot younger, and it's sad to see how many of our protagonists are no longer with us. At that stage the wine world was obsessed by a handful of international grape varieties (which is why we chose one of them as the theme of most of the episodes), but of course the landscape, mores and rituals haven't changed much. When I was in Poland recently my hosts insisted on showing half of the introductory episode called Aperitif, so I found myself watching this ancient series for the first time in a decade or so, expecting to cringe with embarrassment.  But, thanks to the superb work of the production team, including the Wine Course being one of the BBC's last series shot on film rather than video, I found to my delight and surprise that it still looks pretty good (though would commend to you the recent Wine Show, presented by Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer, as an equally ambitious and excellent update). 

You can see them all here on YouTube (click on the Videos link at the top once you are on the YouTube page):

Episode 1 Aperitif (general introduction, how to taste, how wine is made, a wine writer's life and so on) 
Episode 2 Chardonnay (Burgundy including that famous Dominique Lafon episode, Geoff Merrill in Australia, etc)
Episode 3 Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux including Ch Margaux dinner, California)
Episode 4 Sauvignon Blanc (including the late Didier Dagueneau and his ground-breaking horse, Marlborough, Cloudy Bay story, Chile) 
Episode 5 Syrah/Shiraz (Michel Chapoutier treading grapes, Peter Lehmann in Barossa, an Aussie wine show)
Episode 6 Riesling (Ernie Loosen, helicopter, Alois Kracher in Austria and botrytis aplenty)
Episode 7 Pinot Noir (Henri Jayer, Lalou, Oregon, IPNC, James Halliday, David Lett, Stephen Browett, Williams & Selyem)
Episode 8 Merlot (Napa Valley with Francis Ford Coppola, the original owner of Screaming Eagle, the phylloxera crisis, Michel Rolland)
Episode 9 Grapes and gas (Champagne, fizzy adventures in Australia and California, a youthful Richard Geoffroy)
Episode 10 Grape invaders (at last we get to Italy and Spain! Conterno, Gaja, Alejandro Fernandez being outrageous)

And the other series we've recently uploaded, in response to popular demand, is our award-winning series Vintners' Tales, 10-minute profiles of some of the more colourful characters in and around the wine trade. These are the nine episodes we have managed to relocate and upload here on YouTube:

Episode 1 Harry Waugh
Episode 2 Bill Baker
Episode 3 Farr Vintners (a very long time ago)
Episode 4 Michael Broadbent MW
Episode 5 Carla Carlisle, English vigneron
Episode 6 Adam Brett-Smith of Corney & Barrow
Episode 7 Nigel Wilson of Lincoln College, Oxford
Episode 8 John Avery MW
Episode 9 Edmund Penning-Rowsell, my predecessor at the Financial Times

I do hope you enjoy these period pieces. If we find the few missing Vintners' Tales (I have had a request for the one on Richards Walford in which I throw a glass of wine at Roy Richards), we will upload those too.