Book Review: Teach Yourself Choosing the Right Wine (Teach Yourself: Arts & Crafts)

Teach Yourself Choosing the Right Wine (Teach Yourself: Arts & Crafts)

I have read a few of the Teach Yourself books and really liked the approach.  The back cover states 70 years and 500 titles and I believe Teach Yourself can be a different experience than typical how-to books.  Why read a basic book on wine tasting? Teach Yourself was the answer.  I was hoping for something quite radical and innovating in teaching wine to the novice compared to the average basic wine books.  Did I find it? I don't know.  It is so packed with information I would not dare suggest it to any beginning wine enthusiast.  The field of wine may be dynamic and ever-changing but the core wine knowledge is finite.  If a person is taught about wine adequately today, and that person seeks no additional formal training but just be involved in wine, the knowledge will remain fairly accurate for many many years.  Two problems exist however:  A little wine knowledge is a dangerous thing.  That basically means one has to learn just about enough or will be missing very critical information.  In other words, if a person does not study wine at the level of a good professional certificate by any means possible (not necessarily take the course), that person will have inaccurate wine knowledge and can be wrong often enough to eventually resort to making up stuff about wine or just avoiding it intellectually.  Core wine knowledge may be finite and once learned at a specific level is enough to serve personal and professional needs adequately indefinitely but the level of knowledge needed is high compared to most avocations.  The second problem is the size of the field.  Wine has its roots in many countries and learning about wine may be finite but involves vocabulary, laws, regions, histories and great many more items from far and exotic places.  If a person seeks to improve wine knowledge by reading a book or a few, that person may find a diluted text of which too many are always in print or an accurate text such as Choosing the Right Wine which has so much cryptic information a novice would have great many problems deciphering.  I am confident my problem remains as before when suggesting a good basic wine text to a new wine enthusiast.  I was really counting on Teach Yourself to somehow communicate the necessary information without losing the reader.  I may find another text someday.  Choosing the Right Wine is great for what it is and I may someday read again for fun.

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