Retail Education: Holiday Books to Keep the Whole Year

New reference books can increase your knowledge and helpfulness to your customers. With these on your shelf, you will be ready to answer questions regarding important wine countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.


Wines of South America cover


Wines of South America

The Essential Guide


Evan Goldstein,
University of California Press, $39.95, 302 pages, hard cover


With increasing imports from Chile and Argentina, and Brazil and Uruguay not far behind, be prepared for this vinous influx. Goldstein, a Master Sommelier, gives you the history, grape varieties, and studies of the 10 S. American countries that make up that continent, with specific wineries and wines, as well as travel info when you are inspired to visit on your own, which you surely will be!


9780520260672-Braatz copy










Wine Atlas of Germany

Dieter Braatz, Ulrich Sauter, Ingo Swoboda,

University of California Press, $60, 302 pages, hard cover, Foreword
by Jancis Robinson


Here is the most comprehensive listing and topographical representation of German vineyards available today. Every one of the 2,658 vineyards in Germany is here, classified according to four quality standards: Exceptional, Superior, Good, and Vineyard without special distinction.

This Atlas also includes the most recent classifications that attempt to recognize excellent dry wines as well as sweet wines from the best parcels. Nothing ambiguous here.












Native Wine Grapes of Italy

Ian D’Agata, University of California Press, $50, 620 pages, hard cover


Here is a scholarly study, where you will find whatever native grape you are looking for, in depth. You can’t even skip over the Preface, and reading ‘How to Use This Book’ is a must. It illustrates the care, detail and effort that author D’Agata has put forward, describing each grape, its origins, color, flavor and cultivation.

In my first five minutes with this book, I learned that there is a difference between an ‘Ampelology’ and the more common, but often incorrectly used ‘Ampelography.’ There are even two indexes here, a general one, and a separate 10-page index just for grapes. You will be turning to this book more often that you think.












Barolo and Barbaresco

The King and Queen of Italian Wine

Kerin O’Keefe,

University of California Press, $39.95, 346 pages, hard cover


This book is a good read, with an in-depth look at the Langhe region, its geology, climate and history, along with cultivation of the Nebbiolo grape. Barolo and Barbaresco, lying on either side of the city of Alba, had suffered from conflicts in styles, use of oak and its size, age and source, and eventually arrived at coexistence of acceptable styles. Expansion of subzones is also discussed, as well as profiles of individual producers. Read this book before you visit those regions.












Tasting Whiskey

An Insider’s Guide

to the Unique Pleasures of the World’s Finest Spirits

Lew Bryson, Storey Publishing, $18.95, 256 pages, soft cover and e-book, Foreword by David Wondrich


Lew Bryson, managing editor and feature writer for Whisky Advocate, has written 15 chapters of practical information, from describing whiskey production, aging, tasting, and whiskey styles. There are specific chapters on Scotch, Irish, American, Canadian and Japanese whiskies, as well as food pairings for each of the styles, and even a guide for a whiskey dinner.

Collectors and aficionados are guided to the most collectable brands. Craft distilling, and recent controversies surrounding the term, is also sensibly discussed. Illustrations in color enliven the text.



Reclamation Etchworks

‘Upcycled’ Decanters

Local bar professionals salvage beautiful spirits bottles and deliver them to Reclamation Etchworks, where they are engraved after being scraped and sanitized. Laser engraving produces the name of a spirit type, and the cork-finished decanters may be personalized on the back.

The Variance Set uses differently shaped bottles, $199 for a set of 4. The Constance Decanter is a single cylindrical shape, engraved with different spirit names, $99, set of 4, or $39 single bottles. For more information visit


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here