Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Everything Guide to Wine, by By Peter Alig

Wow, what a claim! The Everything Guide to Wine. Does this new publication live up to that expansive title? Well, yes and no. It certainly covers a lot of territory. This is a book that is very wide, but not particularly deep.

The book is in an easy to read format similar to the “Dummy’s Guide To…” series. That means the text gets right to the point with clear section headings and interesting facts in highlighted boxes.

When I first started reading the book I noticed that it left out my favorite red grape variety: Cabernet Franc. “This book can’t be very good,” I thought to myself. But as I continued reading, I was pleasantly surprised with what was included.

For example, there is an explanation of the three-tier wine distribution system, a summary of emerging wine growing regions in China and India, a nice section on matching wine with cheese and a chapter on careers in the wine industry. My opinion of the book rebounded in a big way when I saw the reference to Konstantin Frank, the wine pioneer who introduced vinifera grapes to the Finger Lakes region. (The guy’s a hero!)

The book is updated with new references. I was pleased to see a section on Hardy Wallace and his selection as Lifestyle Correspondent for Murphy-Goode Winery. This was a high profile position that created a national buzz. The winery offered a six-month position at $10,000 a month to blog, use Facebook and Twitter to create an image of a cutting edge winery. Since that time many wineries have hired social media coordinators.

The book is billed as “your one-stop shop for conquering the world of wine-one grape at a time.” The book is published by Adams Media and lists for $16.95. This isn’t designed to be a detailed wine encyclopedia but it is a wide-reaching book that is enjoyable to read a sip at a time.

Author Peter Alig is a Wine Educator at the world-famous Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, California. There he has hosted and developed relationships with key figures in national and international wine trade and press/media. He also helped launch Robert Mondavi Winery's social media campaign utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and other applications. He studied wine and food at The Culinary Institute of America-Greystone and has a wine certification from the Society of Wine Educators in Washington, D.C. He is currently studying wine marketing at Napa Valley College.

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Full disclosure: We received a review copy of this book.

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