Tag Archives: wine books

podcast

Winecast 48: 1 Wine Dude Joe Roberts and the Wine Taster’s Guide

joe roberts

Joe Roberts, 1 Wine Dude

1 Wine Dude Joe Roberts and his new book, the “Wine Tasters Guide”

Joe Roberts of 1 Wine Dude was of the first wine bloggers, and remains among the best-known and most successful. And why not? As he told me last week when we recorded the podcast, “If a wine doesn’t give you pleasure, what’s the point of drinking it, regardless of what I think about the wine?”

Hence his new book — and his first, the “Wine Taster’s Guide: Drink and Learn with 30 Wine Tastings ($14.99, Rockridge Press).” There is also a companion tasting journal ($10.99).

Joe’s goal? To make wine fun again by tasting it, and without the foolishness that passes for so much wine writing today. Joe is passionate about the failings of post-modern wine writing, and especially that we spend too much money on wine we may not like because we are too intimidated by the process.

We talked about how the book works, why Joe wrote it (given that he didn’t think the world needed another wine book), and how many times one checks the Amazon best-sellers page to see one’s book’s ranking. Click here to download or stream the podcast, which is about 15 minutes long and takes up 5 megabytes. Quality is good to very good (save for a few seconds at the beginning).

Winebits 651: Walmart, Grocery Outlet, neo-Prohibitionists

WalmartThis week’s wine news: Walmart will appeal take Texas liquor store case to Supreme court, plus blog favorite Grocery Outlet wins award and the neo-Prohibitionists strike again

Walmart appeal: Walmart, rebuffed twice by a federal appeals court, will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to be allowed to open liquor stores in Texas. We’ve followed this closely on the blog, since Walmart is trying to overturn a state law that forbids publicly-held or out of state companies from getting a retail liquor license (one of the WC’s favorite three-tier restrictions). Walmart won its case at the trial level, but was rebuffed twice by the the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. There’s no certainty the Supreme Court will take Walmart’s case. But if it does, expect some serious three-tier fireworks.

Award-winner: The Wine Enthusiast has named blog favorite Grocery Outlet as one of its 50 best U.S. wine retailers. This is a big deal, if only because Grocery Outlet — best known for its cheap wine — is still mostly on the West Coast. The award puts Grocery Outlet in the same class as Costco, perhaps the U.S. leader in what the magazine calls “value-driven” wine.

One glass of wine: An influential federal panel, reports Forbes, is recommending that men reduce alcohol intake to one drink per day, and that all Americans should cut back on added sugars. Who knew that a couple of glasses of wine were as deadly as that quart of vanilla ice cream? But that’s the finding from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which says that the extra glass of wine is associated with a “modest but meaningful increase” in death rates.

Winebits 650: Canned wine, wine advice, half bottles

canned wineThis week’s wine news: Will aluminum shortage slow canned wine’s growth? Plus, sensible advice in a new book and the popularity of half bottles

Canned wine: Two blog readers reported an absence of canned soft drinks during supermarket visits recently, which seemed odd. Who runs out of diet Coke? Turns out the pandemic has screwed up the aluminum supply chain, thanks to increasing demand for canned beer during the duration. Says one supplier for the wine business: “We have to ensure that we don’t get into a toilet paper situation.” In addition, some beer and wine producers have seen price gouging from can suppliers.

Keep it simple: A new wine book has given the WC reason for hope. “‘How to Drink Wine” (Clarkson Potter, $17), by Chris Stang and Grant Reynolds, wants to make wine as accessible as possible. Says Stang: “Wine can be intimidating for some people. Some might think they don’t have the time to ‘be into wine.” You can learn by just drinking wine with friends and talking about it.” Sound familiar? And lots more welcome than most of the “advice”” we get from the wine business?

Bring on the half bottles: The 375 ml bottle, not especially common before the pandemic, is enjoying a resurgence. Reports the Wine Enthusiast: “Easily shippable for virtual tastings and a sensible substitute for by-the-glass service, the small-format bottle is especially suited to pandemic life.” One East Coast retailer increased his half-bottle inventory by 60 percent, and several retailers have told me they can’t keep the smaller size in stock.

Winebits 618: Two wine best of lists and a 100-point wine

100-point wineThis week’s wine news: A hotel chain proclaims the U.S. the best wine region in the world and the best wine book in the world is ranked ninth. Plus, if you have $100, you can buy a glass of 100-point wine.

Best regions: One reason why the Wine Curmudgeon doesn’t care much for top 10 lists is that you don’t know who is behind them. As in: Why is the Accor hotel chain proclaiming the U.S. the best wine region in the world? What does that have to with inn keeping? But there it is – the U.S., followed by France, Italy, and New Zealand. The methodology is spotty (scores from a crowd site), which devalues the results — as if there could be legitimate results for something like this. And it still doesn’t answer why Accor felt the need to do this.

Best books: The two best wine books, in terms of understanding wine and figuring out who wine works, are porbably Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World and Wine for Dummies, by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing Milligan. So how do they fare in a ranking by something called BookAuthority? Ninth and 27th. And how authoritative is BookAuthority? ” BookAuthority identifies and rates the best books in the world, based on public mentions, recommendations, ratings and sentiment.” Taking quality into account would have have been nice, but one can’t expect much these days.

Bring out the c-notes: If you have $100, then a Dallas restaurant will sell you a glass of a Robert Parker 100-point wine, the 2012 Verite La Joie Bordeaux Blend. Veritie is a Sonoma producer; the current version of the La Joie costs $400 a bottle. Still, I’ll pass, even though the restaurant is throwing in a couple of Riedel glasses. For those of you who are intrigued, the 2012 “is an incredible glass of wine featuring exuberant notes of red currant, black plum and cherry framed by subtle French oak nuances like powdered cocoa and cedar with a balanced finish.”

writing about wine

$10 Hall of Fame book giveaway: “Wine for Dummies”

wine for dummiesWin a copy of the seventh edition of the classic, “Wine for Dummies”


The winner is Marty, who picked 469. The winning number was 410 (screen shot to the left).


Today, to mark the 12th annual $10 Wine Hall of Fame, we’re giving away a copy of the new and updated “Wine for Dummies,” written by Mary Ewing Mulligan and Ed McCarthy.  This has been one of the best wine books since its first publication in 2009. I’m happy to say I know the authors, both top quality wine people.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the book.

writing about wine

Almost middle of October book giveaway

book giveaway

Win an audio copy of “Corkscrew” in our book giveaway

And the winners are: Bobeica Ghenadie (15) and Irene Sterling (71). The winning number was 110 (box on right). 


Today, for no particular reason except that the Wine Curmudgeon likes to give things away, we’re giving away two audio copies of  – “Corkscrew,” Peter Stafford-Bow’s memoir as a professional wine buyer. Or, as one review put it: “A wholly inappropriate gift for any wine lover.”

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the two books.

book giveaway

$10 Wine Hall of Fame book giveaway

Hall of Fame book giveawayAnd the winner is: HASNYC, who selected 725 and got it exactly; screen shot to the right. Thanks to everyone who participated.


Today, to celebrate the 10th annual $10 Wine Hall of Fame, we’re giving away two books – “Corkscrew,” Peter Stafford-Bow’s memoir as a professional wine buyer, and an autographed copy of the cheap wine book.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the two books.