Books for Winos

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Do it NOW, damn it!!!

What?  You don't believe the stuff you read from the experts at WinoStuff?  You want to hear it from a "published" expert?  (As if being published somehow legitimizes one.)  Very nice.  WinoBob sacrifices his liver DAILY so that you can have the most up-to-date wine info and what does he get?  Just a low priority spot on the liver transplant waiting list.  

If you really must check other sources, try one or more of the following recommended books from the staff here at WinoStuff.  Just don't tell WinoBob.  You know, the alcohol, the depression, the suicide music downloads from Napster...  I just don't think he can take it.  

Andrea Immer's Wine Buying Guide for Everyone

ANDREA IMMER is one of only ten women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier.  She is the wine and spirits columnist for Esquire and is dean of wine studies at the French Culinary Institute.  Ms. Immer is the author of the critically acclaimed GREAT WINE MADE SIMPLE. 

This book boasts:

  • Immer Best Bets: Andrea Immer’s top picks for every major buying dilemma, from inexpensive crowd pleasers to blue-chip choices for business entertaining.  

  • “The Top Fifty Wines You’re Not Drinking”: These wines are less well known, but offer good availability and great value

  • Immersion Course: Quick and easy label-reading lessons to give you instant buying expertise

  • Kitchen Countertop (and Fridge) Survivor™ grades: How long will the wine keep after it’s opened? Now you’ll know the wines’ “freshness window” after opening.



The World Encyclopedia of Wine

First off, anything entitled, “The World…” is a book I must own.  This way I never miss out on something that might be happening in a region that would not be included in a book entitled, “The Northern Hemisphere...” or “East of the Time Meridian…” or “Countries Beginning with the Letter F…”.  Now I have everything in the world known to man  at my fingertips.

Secondly, this hard cover book makes a beautiful coffee table display.   Not being one to own a coffee table or to know what to do with a coffee table if I did own one, this book is perfect for the idea Kramer put forth of having a coffee table book that is large enough to be a coffee table. 

On the serious side, this book is a great foundation for the noble grapes, the regions they are produced in and an understanding of wine.

I submit to you the first in my series of wine books to build your library with that also help you stock your wine cellar.  WinoBob

The World Atlas of Wine - (Fifth Edition) - Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson

First published 30 years ago, this is a comprehensive book on all wine regions of the world.  Complete with 178 color maps, this book takes you to the places where wine is made and tells you about the major producers in each area.  Mr. Johnson has collaborated with British author/TV commentator Jancis Robinson to publish the fifth edition.  In the intro, Hugh refers to the 30 years since his first edition as “the most eventful and fruitful years in the whole history of wine.”  If there’s a single book that you should have in your wine library, it’s this one.  It’s not designed for browsing due to the voluminous information packed inside. 

Windows on the World Complete Wine Course - (Millenium Edition) - Kevin Zraly  

It was the author of this book that turned WinoBob's beer guzzling, unsophisticated palette, into the finely tuned instrument that it is today.   This book presents a terrific introduction into the world of wine.  The book does not go too deep, but clearly identifies the regions, grapes, and producers you should be aware of as you begin your journey into the enjoyment of wine, not as a beverage, but as a lifestyle.

It’s not the destination, but rather the journey that dreams are made from…

A cornerstone for any Wino in their unending quest for the perfect wine, this book is a great reference and looks snappy on your coffee table.  A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of this book will assist the families of those who passed away in the tragedy on September 11th. 


Bacchus & Me  Adventures in the Wine Cellar  - Jay McInerney

A compilation of articles appearing in Jay’s column for House & Garden Magazine, this well know novelist meets wine drinking head on.  Refreshing and witty, Jay approaches the high-society of wine with a down to Earth Attitude, as sited by his comments on Burgundies containing “ scents of lilac and violet as said to be found in the glass.  In the earthier Burgundies the nose tends more towards the barnyard, and even to the great raw material for the flower beds, namely horseshit.”  Mr. McInerney crafts eloquent anecdotes and witty analogies around the finest wines the world has to offer.  The difficulty for the everyday wino (namely ME) revolves around the need for a dictionary to get the joke, an art history masters to appreciate the analogies, a small fortune to afford the wines (1955 Lafite-Rothschild, 1949 Château d’Yquem) and a social elite guest pass to lunch with Helen Turley, Robert Parker, Henri Duboscq, Francois Mitjavile and everyone else that is in the top echelon of the wine world.  As a wino, this book left me thirsting for cash, social status and intellect.  I will be trying one of the McInerney recommendations, Lillet- a $14.00 aperitif from Bruno Borie’s Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux winery in Podensac.

True to our Roots- Fermenting a Business Revolution - Paul Dolan, President of Fetzer Vineyards

A book about the business aspects of sustaining a wine brand in today’s economy piqued my personal interests.  As a look into the business side of wine, I found it full of good lessons and interesting anecdotes.  However, that is where I part company with Mr. Dolan for the following reasons.  As a business philosophy book, I found it a bit shallow, though Mr. Dolan references an author I deeply value and a must read for any CEO- Jim Collins' Good to Great (not about wine but riveting for the business world).  Fetzer does seem to have a strong corporate culture and empowers their employees but we never really get the sense of struggle it took to achieve this.  There were too many gaps from a statement to implementation for me to learn how to move a company in his image.

The bigger problem I have with the book deals with the cornerstone of his philosophy - To define a sustainable company you first must live by the fact that your business is part of a larger system.  On the surface that is fine, but the supporting details have me at odds.  His insistence on everyone moving to electric cars, alternative energy, organic farming and a 100 per cent recyclable waste stream is great for the larger system of the planet, but it completely devastated the existing supply chain which, in turn, affected the bottom line of  other companies.  His vision addresses the natural resources of the earth but negatively impacts the human resources of the economy that once hauled their garbage, recycled their waste, manufactured their barrels, and fueled their tractors.  The impact of this book could have been so much better had he addressed the number of lost jobs as he changed the way Fetzer does business. 

More Wine Books

Champagne for Dummies – Ed McCarthy
French Wine for Dummies – Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing Mulligan
Italian Wine for Dummies – Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing Mulligan

Don’t let your ego get in the way of buying these titles.  Both authors are very qualified wine writers and provide an excellent education on the topic.

Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine – translated from the original written in French.  Dominated by references to French wines.

The Wine Bible – Karen MacNeil

On Wine – Doug Frost – great choice for the anti-wine snob

Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America’s Complete Guide to Wines of the World, 2nd Edition – Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith, Michael Weiss – 800 pages

Wine Essentials – Le Cordon Bleu – this text is aimed at restaurateurs or aspiring sommeliers

Napa Stories: Profiles, Reflection & Recipes for Napa – Michael Chiarello

Oz Clarke’s Encyclopedia of Grapes – Oz Clarke and Margaret Rand

How to Taste – Jancis Robinson

Wine: An Introduction – Joanne Simon

The New Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia – handy resource for serious shoppers

Decantations:  Reflections on Wine – Frank J. Prial

Red and White:  Wine Made Simple – Max Allen

Roots of the Present:  Napa Valley 1900 to 1950 – Lin Weber

Vintage Wine:  Fifty Years of Tasting Three Centuries of Wines by Michael Broadbent (Harcourt, 2002) $50 - In 1952, British writer Michael Broadbent began keeping notes on wines that he tasted in a little red book.  He recently finished book number 134.  Broadbent was trained as an architect, but encouraged by his mother to enter the wine trade after he failed the architecture exam in England.  His specialty is the classic wine regions of Europe: Bordeaux, the Loire and Germany are his special passions.  He’s also a leader of the ABC movement (Anything But Chardonnay).


Wine Cook Books

The Perfect Match:  Pairing Delicious Recipes with Great Wine – Brian St. Pierre

Magic in the Kitchen – Jan Bartelsman

Mustard’s Grill Napa Valley Cookbook – Cindy Pawlcyn with Brigid Callinan

Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen – Lidia Bastianick

Sweet Seasons: Fabulous Restaurant Desserts Made Simple – Richard Leach

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