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A Well Designed Wine Map of France

It's rare that my day job (design) and my night job (wine) overlap, but thanks to the Internets I occasionally get choice tidbits that nicely fill that little sliver of a venn diagram between two of my most important disciplines.

The latest intersection? This thing of beauty:

Click to make it bigger!

It's a subway-map-meets-wine-map that has some really clever design conventions that allow it to easily convey a lot of very complex, multi-variate information.

Specifically, it illustrates the wine regions, their appellations, the major towns and waterways near those appellations and the relative positioning of those appellations, and the primary grapes grown in each.

For any true oenophile, this map is but a curiosity, as it masks the true geography of the regions, and does not illustrate some of the more notable geographical aspects of French wine regions, such as their relative size, or topography.

However, for someone less concerned with exactitude and perhaps more concerned with some basic facts, it's a great learning device, since it reduces a number of factors to bare essentials, and removes a lot of the "noise" that can sometimes make it very difficult for people to get their heads around the complexity of French wine regions.

Now we need one for Germany, Austria, and Italy !

The map is published by Steve DeLong, a fellow wine blogger, as it turns out.

Thanks to Jack at Fork & Bottle for tipping me off to the blog post at bigthink.com about the map.

Comments (9)

10.12.11 at 2:07 AM

Beautiful. Don't forget Australia!

Alder, can I repost this on BoozeMonkey?

10.12.11 at 11:42 AM

Very cool. Interesting how the map in effect highlights the major historical trade routes for many of the regions. If you scaled the thickness of the "subway" lines to volume of production, you'd have yet another layer of data without cluttering the map.

"...it reduces a number of factors to bare essentials, and removes a lot of the "noise" that can sometimes make it very difficult for people to get their heads around the complexity of French wine regions." You sound like an Edward Tufte fan.

10.12.11 at 12:53 PM

Hi Alder,

Thanks so much for the complementary post - it means a lot coming from a fellow designer.

Still, most of the praise should go to the map's author, David Gissen (@100aocs on twitter). I helped firm it up for publishing, but it's his baby.

(you should have received your press copy but from the sounds of it you didn't - I'll check into it)

Todd wrote:
10.13.11 at 9:22 AM

Ooh la la! C'est tres magnifiques!
Great job by Mr. Delong. I will definitely pass this on.
A votre sante!

Carlos wrote:
10.13.11 at 10:01 AM

Hi Alder. Check out this online game of Wine Regions of France. It's very cool. http://www.jeux-geographiques.com/jeux-en-ligne-Vignobles-de-France-_pageid88.html

ark wrote:
10.14.11 at 3:48 AM

"im sorry dear, im going to be late, im stuck on the burgundy, the signal ahead is on "red" and so im going to have to change at lyon for provence and the district wine ;) oh...and my phone doesnt work down here, just going into a tunnel...

Wayne wrote:
10.15.11 at 9:15 PM

Love it, simple yet effective! It boils French wine regions down to their barest and simplest form, allowing even a novice with little or no knowledge of French geography to see which part of the country their French wine comes from.

Pamela wrote:
10.16.11 at 5:24 PM

What a wonderful tool! Thank you so much for sharing - it will serve me well in the next course I'll be taking as part of a certification program in wine education and management. Cheers!

Victoria wrote:
10.20.11 at 3:14 PM

And another one of Spain!!! Please!! It´s a nice curiosity! Makes anyone to get in the mood of moving to know every "region-stop"...

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