Spring Book Review

April 16, 2010

Wine related books that I’ve read in the last few months, and would recommend, as a follow on to the holiday gift book episode last year. These reviews, will not themselves be masterpieces, but only attempt to point out some titles worth checking out.

and because of the YouTube time limit…

I have some written review notes, and will compile them here shortly for the titles:
Crush It! - A Wine Jedi’s professional take on personal branding and employing social media. Expect this book, not to normal be.

Having followed the escapades of Gary Vaynerchuk for some time, his book was in many ways what I expected, and in a few important ones, a revelation.  I figured that the book would be, fast, light, and a one sided conversation with a guy who has arguably been a poster child for self made success via the web.   I don’t mean the guys that run Google or Microsoft or Apple with their many zeros of wealth, I’m talking about a genius regular family guy, who has used the tools of nouveaux media to bring his family and crew, up a few big notches closer to their dreams…  That said, the audio version ( although I have not heard it ) is probably even more animated than the print version.  The concepts are where the value is, how to rethink the methodologies of branding, and taking the alchemy of the cloistered ad/pr agencies, and gutting it, blending it with common sense know how, using a scent for good tools and ideas, and what you get is  easily palatable, yet complex in the way it effectively challenges the presentation norm, and should leave you lingering with ripe ideas.  Not everyone may CRUSH IT! entirely, but I think anyone can gain insight and knowledge from this first vintage from Mr. Vaynerchuk.

Drink This - A beginners guide to tasting, a few varietals, and the economics of what comes in the bottle.

I picked this one up at the local bookstore, because I needed to fill out my list.  Mst of the book describes a systematized approach to familiarization with a handful of popular varietals.  If you already have any experience you will likely find this portion tiring….if however you are new to wine, this may be a fun and informative intoduction.  The real vale in th ebook, is the last two chapters ” Money, Money, money” which discusses the ecomics of wine production and pricing, while “Restaurant Confidential” takes us behind the two way swinging door, and explains how wine reaches our dinner table, and what we ought to expect from the experience.  High quality writing and learning in these lat two chapters means that the “experienced” wine drinker can read them and then pass the book to a friend that they want to convert.

Techniques in Home Winemaking - An invaluable resource for the garagiste or garagista.

I can’t say enough good things bout this book.  it is treated like a holy refreence manual and has been dog-eared in the process. If you love wine and are interested in the process of its creation, this is an ideal, human scale description of the process, with such detail, that information I have relayed to wine pros, has sometime been met with “What!?” or “Really!?”.  Great gift for the wine geek in your life…just watch out they may start placing orders for equipment over the internet

The Science of Wine - A well balanced and informative approach to the facts that face the vineyard manager and winemaker.

Cogent, interesting, informative…great book.  Only two complaints, the chapter on yeasts as way too short. Given the variety and research that has been done, more content would have been ideal, given the balance of the book. The second…I think the publisher of the US edition skimped on the the print, and went with a bluescale  image print rather than straight black and white, or better yet, color…the quality o fthe content deserved much more, so we’ll see what a second edition brings.  Known for his wineanorak.com presence, the author does an excellent job of shining light on both the role and the impact of science on the modern winemaking industry.

Been Doon So Long - The unique vinthology of writing that can both abduct you in a flying cigar, and damn you to the pits of hell.

Not much to say here, other than it has been a heck of a ride for Mr. Grahm.  The use of language is fun, the parody is jocular, the writing entwines itself around the inescapable subject of wine, but like a nice acidic white, keeps begging for another taste.  It’s taken him 30 years to compile the writings for his book, and like a fine wine, I believe the enjoyment of the book’s contents can last far into the future.  It should not be slammed down in one long reading binge, but should be tenderly enjoyed, again and again, so that the words can open up and reveal their many layers.


Comments (1)


  1. castello says:

    Good reviews. I think I’ll pick up the Doonster one. Thanks for the link.

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