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Saturday, May 2, 2009


WINEWISE; your complete guide to understanding, selecting, and
enjoying wine. (John Wiley and Sons, 2008, 360 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-
77064-0, $29.95 US hard covers) is by Steven Kolpan, Brian Smith and
Michael Weiss – all professors of wine at the Culinary Institute of
America. It is meant as both a textbook for hospitality students,
especially those at the CIA, and for the informed consumer who wishes
to pursue his vinous knowledge. It is a fairly complete basic guide
within two covers at a very decent price. There are over 300 colour
photos and 32 maps (in colour, and with sufficient detail). The authors
aim to prepare the basic consumer to appreciate wines, to select and
buy the best bottles in both stores and restaurants, and to pair wines
with foods (and vice versa). They begin coverage with material on the
major white and red varietals. They continue with profiles of the major
wine regions in the world. Here, Canada is lumped with Greece in a
separate chapter labeled as "up and coming". Ok, I can handle
that…There are a few errors in the Ontario section (Pelham is spelled
Pellham; there is no mention of Prince Edward County as a wine growing
region). Additional material concerns lists of value wines.
Audience and level of use: basic consumer level, hospitality schools
especially the CIA.
Some interesting or unusual facts: As for restaurant pricing policies,
the authors say "the wine should never cost double its retail price on
the wine list." With a straight face, I can say that for Ontario, the
wine should ALWAYS cost quadruple its retail price…A $10 bottle from
the consignment warehouse is regularly priced in the $40 to $50 range.
The downside to this book: I wished they had some more details on some
of the minor grapes. We do not really know which will be the next
The upside to this book: there is a good list of bargain wines, most of
which can be also found in Ontario, PQ and BC, unfortunately not as
Quality/Price Rating: for this price, try 96.

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