- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: For Dummies; 5 edition (September 19, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1118288726
- ISBN-13: 978-1118288726
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 144 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wine For Dummies Paperback – August 31, 2012
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From the Back Cover
The fast and easy way to demystify and enjoy wine
Wine enthusiasts and novices, raise your glasses! The #1 wine book has been updated! If you're a connoisseur, Wine For Dummies will get you up to speed on what's "in" and help you take your hobby to the next level. If you're a newbie, it'll clue you in on what you've been missing and show you how to get started in the wonderful world of wine.
- Wine 101 discover which grapes are used in winemaking, the basic types of wine, how wines are named, and how to properly taste wine
- Pour your heart out find out how to shop for wine, decode restaurant wine lists, remove those stubborn corks, and pair wine with food
- Visit the old world take a tour of the major wine regions of Europe: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, and Greece
- Get in with the new adventure to Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa, and then take a look at the major wine areas in the United States
- Catch the wine bug get the lowdown on how to describe and rate wines, store wine properly, and pursue your love of wine
Open the book and find:
- How to decipher cryptic wine labels
- Hands-on info on how to pair wine with food
- How to open, aerate, and store wine
- Where to get deals on great wines
- Tips on choosing wines that please your palate
- How to taste and rate wine like a pro
- Plain-English explanations of wine terms
- Understand grape varieties and wine styles
- Decipher wine lists and wine labels
- Appreciate wines from around the world
- Select, store, open, pour, and enjoy wine
About the Author
Ed McCarthy, CWE, is a regular contributor to WineReviewOnline.com and Beverage Media. Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, is president of the International Wine Center in New York. Together, they are the authors of many For Dummies wine guides, including Italian Wine For Dummies.
Top customer reviews
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I have worked in fine dining restaurants as a server and captain for many years. Ordering wine at a restaurant and talking shop with the server or sommelier once you have some wine knowledge is a fun part of the experience for all who are involved. It is a shame that this book has the potential to ruin that for its readers by putting a negative spin on a lot of things that are just normal happenings with restaurant wine lists and dinner service. So I'm going to quickly address some of the points:
1. It starts by saying that it is infuriating that wine lists sometimes only tell you the name and price and that sometimes they won't have the wine you ordered in stock that night. Well, if a wine list with 500 bottles had an extra two lines describing each bottle, the list would be so overwhelming and take forever to get through. You could have 50 Cabernets in a row that all say "Notes of chocolate, leather, cassis and tannins". You're going to judge the wine by the familiarity with the producer, vintage, region and questions you ask your server.
The wine you ordered could be a bottle that customers rarely order, but randomly the previous night a large party ordered all the bottles in house and the restaurant had to place an order and wait 3 business days to get more. It happens no matter how nice and on top of things a restaurant is. It's not because they don't care, forgot to place an order, or just didn't bother to update the wine list, as the book suggests.
2. They also tell you to ask your server how long the bottle of wine has been opened if you decide to do wine by the glass. They say that no wine is fresh enough to serve the next day. Well, in reality all decent restaurants keep track of when their bottles were opened and gas their wines at night or have them hooked up to machines that air seal the wine. If it tastes old, you can ask your server about it. But don't automatically ask every single time you order a glass of wine. That's just tacky and a good way to kill rapport early on in the dining experience. If you do ask, ask them to check with the bartender on when the bottle was opened. Don't just expect them to know the exact time that all 22 wines by the glass were opened.
3. This chapter also tells you to be upset if only one wine list is presented to the table and demand more because that is an "outmoded convention". Wine lists are big books that restaurants don't have as many of as they do menus. Usually even though a discussion happens, one person decides on the bottle. The server isn't trying to be sexist or old-fashioned. You can ask for another list, but don't waste energy being negative over something that isn't insulting. You'll be annoyed every time you go out to eat before you even get water service if you expect your server to automatically assume everyone needs a copy of the wine list.
4. "Be aware of low to high pricing". This part tells you to be insulted by a wine list that presents the wines in ascending order from lowest to highest price. They say this is done to make you feel guilty and buy more expensive wine further down the list. That is a ridiculous assumption that has 0% base in reality. It's simply not true. People have a price range and a varietal in mind when they walk in. It makes it so much easier for them to look at different wines in their range right next to each other than to be flipping back and forth between pages trying to remember the wines in the same price range.
5. Wine prices versus retail. When you're going out to a nice restaurant, if you sit there and price out how much potatoes cost at Safeway versus your baked potato, a bottle of Absolut versus your two martinis, etc., you'll drive yourself crazy and not enjoy your meal. Yes, restaurants have higher price margins on their wine and liquor, but that is how the business model works, period. Keeping a restaurant profitable is very difficult and they're not doing it to gouge customers.
6. Wine service. There is a section that actually is called "Wine List Power Struggles". It tells you that servers often don't give you enough time before they come back to the table. You need to stand your ground and don't let the server bully you into making a hasty choice. Well, the server comes back to the table after a few minutes to see if you have any questions and then gives you more time. They don't do it to pressure you. Once again, this book is dangerously planting an idea in it's readers minds that could make a dining experience go south from the beginning. If servers always gave every guest 10 minutes to look at the wine list, they would have a lot more customers upset over slow service than they would happy guests who appreciate the extra time to look over the list. If you always expect 10 minutes of uninterrupted time and feel pressured if the server returns after a few minutes, you'll always be disappointed. But it's just standard service.
This part also encourages being insulted if women are poured first and if the server tries to refill your glasses instead of letting you pour yourself. If that really is something that bothers you, not just because you read it in the book, then politely tell your server you like to pour for yourself once the bottle is open. But don't wait for him/her to try and then act insulted because they tried to do something that is standard restaurant protocol.
Other than this chapter, it's a great book for touching the surface on all the basic aspects of wine knowledge. They just dropped the ball in the restaurant chapter.
I wonder if Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing knew that Mexico has the OLDEST wine company IN AMERICA (the Continent, OK?) which is located in Northern Mexico, in the state of Coahuila (border with Texas).
And, Mexico also has the second or third largest wine producer in the American continent, which is located in Northwestern Mexico, in the state of Baja California.
I'd make a correction in chapter 14's title, which is called "America, America". It should say "Wines from the United States of America". America is the whole Continent.
My book is the 5th Edition, hopefully the 6th, or the latest edition make mention of my country. Besides that, I enjoyed the book, great tips on everything by the way.
I suggest reading the other book first as a primer, and then reading Wine For Dummies, which is far more thorough. They really complement each other very well when read in that order. You will effectively be a wine expert after absorbing the info from these two books.