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The Wine Bible Paperback – Feb 1 2000

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 910 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1st (first) edition (Feb. 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563054345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563054341
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Though it drinks deep of its subject, Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible deftly avoids two traps many wine books fall into: talking down to wine novices or talking up to more experienced enophiles. The book avoids these traps through MacNeil's obvious, and infectious, love of her subject, which comes out in almost every sentence of the book, and which lets her talk about wine in a way that combines the good teacher, the trusted friend, and the expert sommelier. As director of the wine program at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California, MacNeil is one of the world's true experts on wine. After reading a chapter on the Burgenland, for example, you've learned about the region's sweet wines while feeling like you're actually there, toasting a glass of Cuvee Suss with the author. It is this passion that leads to describing an Italian riservas as "mesmerizing" and a Cabernet Sauvignon as having "texture like cashmere."

The Wine Bible is broken into countries, hitting all of the major wine producers and most of the minor ones. Each section gives detailed descriptions of the country's wines (with chapters on individual regions when necessary), highlighting specific wine producers and individual wines, as well as talking about local foods, customs, and other tidbits that add to the reading experience. MacNeil begins her journey through the world's wine with an invaluable section on "Mastering Wine," which lets a reader get ready before uncorking separate sections. --A.J. Rathbun


"....sets a new standard and makes wine more accessible and user-friendly than it has ever been before." -- Anthony Dias Blue, Wine & Spirits Editor, Bon Appetit Magazine

"...the wine book bargain of the year....It's a remarkable price for such an encyclopedic book..." -- Wine Spectator

"...this is one reference that will have a long shelf life." -- Cooking Light

"...wonderful stream of wine stories, wine anecdotes and tips distributed liberally throughout the book." -- The New York Times

"If it's connoisseurship you aspire to, a great place to begin learning more is The Wine Bible..." -- REAL SIMPLE

"Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible may be the most valuable of this year's offerings." -- USA Today

"The Wine Bible is original and lively" -- The Chicago Tribune

"The Wine Bible is the perfect gift for wine enthusiasts of any level." -- Metropolitan Home

"Thorough, authoritative, and entertaining, this is the most complete wine book ever....It's a reference to turn to often. " -- Robert Mondavi

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Customer Reviews

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on June 28 2003
Format: Paperback
The spine on my worn copy of the Wine Bible is cracked and its pages are dog-eared, even though I think the book has several notable shortcomings. As I write this, I find myself in the unusual position of criticizing the thick volume even though I turn to it for information on a regular basis.
My biggest complaint is that I feel the book doesn't really know what it wants to be. On the one hand, it is a comprehensive reference book that in many areas goes into more depth than other general wine books. But it falls short as a reference book because it lacks the scope of books like The World Atlas of Wine or The Global Encyclopedia of Wine, which cover more up-and-coming wine producing countries, more specific producers and, especially in the case of The World Atlas of Wine, are enhanced by beautiful photographs and maps. Though the Wine Bible is substantial (it weighs in at a hefty 910 pages) its design is more compact than the other books I mentioned, and so might make a better travel companion for someone visiting multiple wine producing regions in a single trip. But the lack of good maps makes a supplemental book necessary.
Additionally, the book can feel like a disjointed collection of articles that ought to have been better integrated before publication. Often, the same information (referring to multiple or confusing names for grape varieties or regions, or quality standards in specific countries) is referred to parenthetically several times, often in quick succession -- something unnecessary, especially given the book's excellent glossary.
But despite these criticisms, I find myself referring to the book repeatedly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Sullivan on July 21 2003
Format: Paperback
The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil is the perfect introduction to wine for new wine drinkers or a springboard for those wanting to explore deeper into the fascinating world of wines! Ms. MacNeil takes you through the introductory levels of wine making, wine regions and wine procedures (ie temperature, pouring, glasses, storage, etc) in a friendly teacher tone, not a snobby looking down your glass tone so often found in wine books. Her writing style is light, relaxing and friendly throughout the whole book. Each chapter is sprinkled with excellent little tidbits on everything from information on the former owner of a vineyard to what may cause your wine to take on a offensive smell! After the introductory sections, Karen takes you into each of the world's major wine producing regions giving you the skinny on their history, their terrior, their wines and some of the better producers (in the recommendation section). I am stationed in Germany and have tried four of her German wine picks, all of them were perfect! Expand your knowledge of the worlds favorite drink, raise a glass and say "Cheers!" (or Slainte`) to Karen MacNeil's Wine Bible!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Randy Given on Dec 16 2002
Format: Paperback
I think "The Wine Bible" (TWB) should be the third book purchase for wine beginners (after "Wine for Dummies" and "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course"). TWB is full of good information. Of course, the first section is a must-read. Then, the sections are split into separate geographical areas and are very good and very detailed, while still being easy to read (the author's "education" background is readily apparent and helpful to the reader). I especially liked the depth of information that is presented in a friendly manner. For example, I wanted more in-depth information on Valpolicella. Most books given only a paragraph to it, if they give anything at all. Over several sections, this book probably had close to three pages (a lot of text on each page) which is about ten times the information of the competition. And no, this book is not lopsided in favor of information on Italy. That is just one example of why this book gets five stars. There are many other cases of information that other books do not contain or they gloss over. This book has a lot to offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Troyer on Dec 17 2001
Format: Paperback
Kudos to Karen MacNeil for completing a daunting educational task. Although this project was vast, Karen's amazing subject mastery and economic use of poetic language both informs and delights her reader. The Wine Bible is a perfect bedside book for both the serious and not-so-serious wine connoisseur because one can pick it up and start reading and learning from any page.
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Format: Paperback
So I'm a beer snob, and learning to be a (cheap) wine snob. This book was given me as a gift by my parents, and it is cool.
It won't tell you everything there is to know about wine; that only comes with further reading and lots of tasting. But it's a spectacular foundation to learning the history and traditions involved, and it does a remarkable job of covering its subject without prejudices. The history of recent (i.e. last couple of hundred years) of wine development is the focus -- if you're looking for information on ancient wines you won't find much of it here, but if you want to know how Chile or Australia became the wine-growing powerhouses they are today, this book will tell you everything you might wish to know.
I've no real complaints with the book. There are big holes in its coverage, but wine is a truly gigantic subject and MacNeil has done a great job covering as much ground as she can -- there's great information on most of the major wine-growing countries, starting with France and Italy and going from there. There's even a narrative of sorts, with heroes like Robert Mondavi and the Gallo Brothers who rebuilt the California wine industry with book knowledge when the traditions had been wiped out by Prohibition, and villains like the phylloxera aphid that nearly destroyed the wine industry worldwide before American botanists saved the day by grafting European vines onto American rootstocks. Ancient traditions in France, Germany, and Italy are placed alongside modern innovation in California, Australia, and South America, showing that either way is an effective method for creating a great wine. Champagne is mentioned alongside the humble Spanish cava and party-loving German sekt.
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