Wine For Dummies: A Book Review

Wine for Dummies is in its 7th edition. Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan co-wrote the first edition back in 1995 and they have recently completed extensive updates to the 7th edition. We recently received this newest edition of Wine For Dummies for review consideration. This is the first edition of Wine For Dummies I have read.

"Wine For Dummies", 7th edition by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan
“Wine For Dummies”, 7th edition by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Both Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan are Certified Wine Educators and have written for a variety of wine publications. Ed is an authority on Champagne and Mary is a Master of Wine – the first American woman to earn the MW designation. In addition, she is President of the International Wine Center in New York City, which has been offering wine education since 1982.

There is so much information contained in this book it is hard to know where to start in reviewing it. Literally everything you need, or want, to know about wine is contained here. The authors recognize the overwhelming amount of information provided in their book, so they have made Wine for Dummies easy to read. 

Every section begins with a list of what you can expect to learn it the chapters of that section. Every chapter begins with a similar list. And explanations are not overly complex. The authors use a series of icons throughout the book that allow the reader to quickly identify the fundamentals, zero in on the technical stuff and take advantage of tips

I especially appreciate the worth the search icon that identifies things like the best wine glasses to choose and quality wine producers within a region. These lists make handy shopping lists, or at least a place to begin your investigation. 

The book begins with what wine is, how to taste it, a bit about grape varieties, reading and understanding wine labels and a look at the winemaking process. The next section moves into buying wine in a shop and choosing wine in a restaurant followed by how to serve wine and how to pair it with food. The progression is logical.

From here the authors take you on a tour of the world’s wine regions. These sections of the book are interesting reading. Read them one at a time, or use them as a reference. There are maps (I do wish there were more of them) and lists of important wineries in addition to their worth the search sections. These lists could serve as a guide to creating your own wine tasting by region – an excellent way to reinforce what you read.

Champagne, Sparkling wine, fortified and dessert wines are thoroughly explained next. Finally come sections on collecting wine, continuing your wine education and how to translate what you taste into words.

If at any time you are confused by the meaning of a word there is a lengthy glossary of wine terms to assist you and a helpful pronunciation guide. The book finishes with a Vintage Wine Chart, which is handy to have when considering wine purchases from older vintages.

As I read through Wine For Dummies I realized the more I learn about wine the more there is to know about wine. I’ve been learning about wine for at least 15 years. I am by no means a wine expert, but neither am I a complete dummy. Wine For Dummies is a wine book full of valuable information to me. I recommend it.

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One Comment

  1. Oh I totally need to check this out!!! I like easy!