If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I love wine. I live in California, which is the biggest producer of wine in the United States, and basically grew up with the understanding that wine was a crucial element not just of our economy, but also of social life and culture in my state. I guarantee you that if you're an alcohol-drinking adult, at least 50% of your weekend activities will involve wine. When I saw this book available as an ARC, I clamored for a copy and was so, so happy to receive it, because it's a combination of my two favorite things: wine and books.
WINE FROM GRAPE TO GLASS exceeded my expectations. It is a gorgeous book filled with exceptionally beautiful photos of grapes, wines, and landscapes that inform the aforementioned's terroir. It's a hefty tome and the cover just glows. I am putting this on my coffee table, where I can admire it while drinking my favorite beverage-- wine. It's too gorgeous to be shut away or left to collect dust on a bookshelf.
This book is also incredibly informative and very broad in scope. I skimmed it because there was way too much to read in a single sitting, but I was incredibly impressed by the breadth of knowledge. Reading this book teaches you about all the ways wine can go wrong, either in the growing phase (pests, rot, climate change) or in the fermenting phase (unwanted bacteria and yeasts, cork rottage). It really makes you appreciate how many times wine goes right, considering how delicate the process is. This book also teaches you about the varieties that make up wines, where they come from, and at the end, regional trivia about all the major wine-making areas, including South America, China, and Eastern-Europe-- players you might not normally hear about in the mainstream winery scene.
There is also practical knowledge, such as wine pairings (including a special section about cheese), how to properly aerate and drink wine, a flavor notes wheel to aid you in tasting notes (very helpful), and a guide to the colors of various wines and what to look for when identifying. If that weren't helpful enough, there's also a section on how to open wine, the tools you need for opening various types of wine bottles (and why), what wines should be drunk in what glasses (and why), as well as a history section on some of the key wines in wine history. There's a chapter on bubbly for the champagne crowd, and a chapter on rose for those who like their rose all day, every day.
I really love this book. It made me appreciate wine even more than I already did (and it's not like I hated it before, come on, guys). I think this is a really great gift for someone who is new to wine and wants to learn more about it, especially if they're interested in pairings, wine glass etiquette, and key terms. It looks gorgeous on a coffee table, but also has a wealth of practical and technical knowledge that will appeal to serious hobbyists and dilettantes alike. I absolutely adored it, and celebrated finishing this book with-- you guessed it-- a lovely glass of wine.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
4.5 out of 5 stars