Photo of Rod Phillips

Rod Phillips

Professor - History of alcohol (especially wine), history of food, history of the family

Degrees:B.A. (Trent), M.A. (Otago, New Zealand), D.Phil. (University of Oxford, U.K.)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2824
Office:409 Paterson Hall

I am a historian of early modern and modern Europe, with a special focus on France and the French Revolution.  Thematically my interests are alcohol, food, and the family.

I started as a historian of the family. My doctoral dissertation was on marriage and divorce during the French Revolution and I later expanded my scope to the western world more broadly. I still do some work on the history of the family, and I am Editor of the Journal of Family History, the journal of record in the field. But in the late 1990s I turned to the history of wine (and alcohol more generally) and since then that has been the main focus of my research and publications.

Among my current projects is a book on wine during the French Revolution.  It is supported by a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant (2021-25).

In addition to writing on the history of alcohol, I write on wine for the wine media. I wrote a weekly wine column for the Ottawa Citizen for 15 years and I write the wine features for the print and on-line editions of NUVO Magazine (a luxury lifestyle quarterly) as well as for specialist media such The World of Fine Wine (UK) and (US). I am the Canada consultant to The World Atlas of Wine, and I also judge in wine competitions in Canada, the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

Over the years I have had research fellowships in the UK, France, Sweden, Australia, and US.  I have given academic papers in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, US, UK, France, Sweden, Spain, Germany, China, and Taiwan.

I’m available to supervise research in the history of food and drink, the French Revolution, and the history of the family.



Articles, chapters, entries

I have published many articles and book chapters on marriage and divorce and on wine and alcohol. My articles have appeared in journals such as Social History, Journal of Social History, French Historical Studies, Annales ESC, and Annales de Démographie Historique.  I have contributed many entries to volumes such as Oxford Bibliographies On-line, Encyclopedia of Alcohol and Temperance, Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, and Encyclopedia of Early Modern Europe.

I have also written the texts for three TED-Ed animated shorts, including this one on Prohibition:



Family Breakdown in Late-Eighteenth-Century France: Divorces in Rouen, 1792-1803 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980)

Divorce in New Zealand (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1981)

Putting Asunder: A History of Divorce in Western Society (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988)

Untying the Knot: Divorce in Western Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991; 6 foreign-language editions)

Society, State, and Nation in Twentieth-Century Europe (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1995)

A Short History of Wine (London: Penguin Books, 2000; New York: HarperCollins, 2001; 5 foreign-language editions)

Ontario Wine Country (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 2006)

Alcohol: A History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014; paperback, 2019; Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, 2015; 4 other foreign-language and international editions)

French Wine: A History (Sacramento: University of California Press, 2016; paperback, 2020)

9000 Years of Wine: A World History (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 2017)

The Wines of Canada (Oxford, UK: Infinite Ideas “Classic Wine Library,” 2017)

Wine: A Social and Cultural History of the Drink that Changed our Lives (Oxford, UK: Infinite Ideas, 2018)


Publications forthcoming

“Religion and Wine: Part II” chapter in Stephen Charters (ed.), Handbook of Wine and Culture (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2022)

(with Jean Bart) Un curé dans les vignes. François Delachère et les vins de Volnay au XVIIIe siècle (Dijon: Éditions Universitaires de Dijon, forthcoming 2022)

(Editor) Food in Early Modern Europe (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2023)