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Wine for Dummies - Food Gypsy

Wine For Dummies – Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

Want the straight dope on the complicated subject of wine in an easy-to-read format that you can come back to time after time?  There’s a book for that, it’s called ‘Wine For Dummies‘.

There are shelves upon shelves of wine books at your local book store, from hard cover to paperback, from snooty to saucy.  Many are so incredibly daunting in both girth and technical jargon, they take all the fun out of a topic filled with hedonistic pleasure.

If you’re a newbie wine lover, enamored by shiny bottles, wandering through racks of waiting product without a clue, this is the book for you.  And if you’re a long-time wine lover, surprisingly, this might be a book for you too.

In this, the 5th Edition of Wine For Dummies, authors Ed McCarthy & Mary Ewing-Mulligan take you into the world of wine in an easy to read format that could improve your wine knowledge, overnight.   I should know, Wine For Dummies (first published in 1995),  was among the first wine books I ever read.   It gave a framework to the experience, and helped me to feel comfortable discussing wine with those more educated on the topic than myself.

McCarthy & Ewing-Mulligan expertly walk you through the maze that is a world of taste and temptation; galloping from continent to continent, highlighting great grapes, good buys and wines to watch.  If you use the handy side-bar icons (Real Deal, Remember, Snob Alert, Technical Stuff, Tip, Warning and Worth The Search), you can easily decipher what you want to read now and what you might want to come back to later.

Many bottles later, as I read the 5th edition, I’m surprised how far I’ve come, how much richer I am for the ever deepening experience that wine is for me, and how much more there is to learn.   Even the self-professed wine-snob-chef in my life, my fiance Chef B (Benoit Gelinotte), raised on the food and wine of Burgundy, give Wine For Dummies his stamp approval as a solid reference book and wine tutorial.  (After a snort of reproach, followed by a couple of raised eyebrows, and a surprised look.)

Wine For Dummies offers wine lovers of any level strategies on buying wine, plus a how-tos on opening, pouring, serving and enjoying wine along with a vocabulary to communicate your experiences to others.  It decodes the cryptic wine label, makes sense of tasting notes and helps you decide, for yourself, what kind of wine you like.   It will walk you though the process of wine making, step-by-step and gives you handy tips to select a wine from a restaurant wine list.  Wine For Dummies is your wine primer.

For the more experienced wine lover; dive into the chapters on collecting and continued education and get tips on rating, and describing the wines you recommend to others.  If you’re taking a little trip and want to quickly brush up on what’s new (or old) on the vine, Wine For Dummies makes an excellent resource.  The wine industry is constantly changing, there are good years and bad, progress and foolish decisions, let the experts help you to keep up with the wine buzz.

In chapter 11 you dive into the heart of Italy with it’s Chanti Classicos and Brunello di Montalcinos; it is a wine language all it’s own.  You can tour Spain, Germany, the USA, New Zealand, Australia,  Chile, Argentina and South Africa.  Chapter 10 is dedicated entirely to ‘Doing France’.  If you were say… heading to Dijon, France with your fiancé this Christmas (and didn’t want to look like a total rube), reading the section on ‘Burgundy: The Other Great French Wine’, might be a good idea.  (If only it helped my French…)

On this Wino Wednesday, as a little thank you, we’re offering a copy of ‘Wine For Dummies’ to one lucky Food Gypsy fan. 

Just comment on the post, below, before Friday  December 7th, 2012.  We’ll make our draw that evening, and let you know via e-mail.  So be sure to fill in the email line of our reader registration so we can contact you and get your copy in the mail.

(Happy Holidays.  May the wine flow where you are.)

Wine For Dummies - Food Gypsy

My one criticism of Wine For Dummies is the lack of mention of Canadian wines.  McCarthy & Ewing-Mulligan mention regulations and terminology applicable in Canada but not a word (not even so much as an ice wine footnote), about the world class wines we grow in Canada that might be worth exploring.   It’s as if the continent ends at the 49th parallel which makes me ask, in the politest way possible, ‘what gives’?

In 1995, when Wine For Dummies first rolled off the printing press – and Canada’s wine industry was still building – I can understand.  But now, with both Ontario’s Niagra-On-The-Lake and BC’s Okanagan Valley producing some truly exceptional, award winning vintages (not to mention the boutique wineries of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley & Ontario’s Prince Edward Country; which is my pick for the next Canadian wine region to watch), I am at a loss.

Why, oh why have McCarthy & Ewing-Mulligan forsaken their neighbor to the north?!  Perhaps it is a question of export and availability?   Is it market perception, a simple oversight, or being above their publisher’s prescribed page-count?  I cannot tell, though I did voice my wounded sense of national pride, and pose the question to John Nixon, Publicity Coordinator for Wiley Canada, who sent us this copy for our review.  John was kind enough to reply:

“That is a very good question as to why Canadian wine is left out [of Wine For Dummies].  I wouldn’t know the answer, but I’ll happily pass it along to the authors.  I can’t imagine it would be left out due to quality and market perception because I know (with limited wine knowledge) our wines are in a better place critically than ever before. “

Here, here!  I’ll drink to that and hereby extend an invitation to McCarthy & Ewing-Mulligan to head north a few hours from their home in New York, to savour the sweet grape of Canada.  I have a few friends (in liquid form), I’d love to introduce you to.

Maybe we’ll make the 6th edition.  (I’ll drink to that too.)





Cori Horton

Fearlessly cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, food marketing consultant, recipe developer and sustainability advocate. A Cordon Bleu trained chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and now shares all things delicious - right here.

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