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In Wine from Grape to Glass, Jens Priewe shares his in-depth knowledge of the great world of wine. In this fourth edition, the book now includes over 1,000 rich illustrations and maps. The photography in Wine from Grape to Glass matches what many would expect in a nice coffee table book, but the material here goes much deeper. Originally written in German, the translation is excellent. Priewe is detailed with the facts, direct with his opinions, and injects some dry humor along the way. Wine from Grape to Glass can act as a wine textbook, but it’s more entertaining to read than in the typical textbook sense. Priewe truly covers all aspects of wine, from production, to history, grape varieties, both common and rare, as well as wine regions through all corners of the world. Priewe’s wine books have been go-to publications for over twenty years with over a million copies sold.
Wine from Grape to Glass begins with Twenty Questions about Wine, a good ice breaker and introduction to Priewe’s style. It gives readers a feel for what they are in for through the rest of the 300-page book. Priewe then moves on to chapters on tasting and enjoying wine, covering lots of not only technical information, but plenty of practical information too.
Priewe then progresses to cover the grapevine. He shares the history of wine, grapevine physiology, and the effects of climates and soil on grapevines. The winegrowing chapter is an excellent introduction to viticulture, starting from planting through harvest. Grape varieties grown throughout the world are covered in detailed followed by the winemaking process. In thirty pages, Priewe gives one of the best winemaking introductions I’ve read, covering details missed in many other longer texts.
In the second half of the book, Priewe shares a detailed wine atlas, covering wine production and consumption throughout the entire world. Wine from Grape to Glass’s historical and cultural information gives a sense of context I haven’t seen in the many wine books I’ve read. This helps readers see how wine and its importance has developed throughout the world over the course of time. As one might expect, there is lots of information about the well-known Old World wine regions. Western Europe is well represented, but what I found more interesting was the historical coverage of Eastern European countries. New World wine regions are covered in a more abbreviated form but are still covered thoroughly. I found it entertaining to learn about American wine history from a German writer, then thirty pages later encounter details of the quickly growing wine industry in China. As a Texas wine enthusiast, it would have been nice to see more updated information on the Texas wine industry, maybe in the fifth edition.
Wine from Grape to Glass is written in a way that readers can learn from it over time. There’s simply too much information for one to absorb quickly. It’s good to know if I want to geek out on a wine region, it’s there to provide everything I need. This is a great book for those that are interested in pursuing an introductory or even intermediate wine class from one of the big wine organizations, but would prefer to learn at their own pace. I did really enjoy my first read and intend to make it a go-to reference.