Ric’s Vinous Musings & Brain Droppings

“It’s a Learning Curve”



I am often asked how I learned about wine_ well, 46 years immersed in the trade and having avid mentors sure helped. Exposed to thousands of wines and wine ventures to the West Coast and many regions in Europe presented the great panoply of possibilities. There was also a lot of reading… which got me musing about the early, seminal books which guided me down this path.

One of the early instrumental books was Alexis Lichine’s “Encyclopedia of Wine and Spirits”. A harbinger of comprehensive wine books, I began to learn more of the terminology and delineation of wine types and their regional distinctions.

With more information and piqued curiosity I was lead to Hugh Johnson’s “The World Atlas of Wine”. Along with the concise and informative text, the detailed maps helped me organize my understanding of regional terroir with their identity and properties. Now in its 7th edition, Johnson has teamed-up with the noted Master of Wine Jancis Robinson adding more expansive and localized maps. I still find this book a valuable reference. (As a digression, Robinson, as editor of the 1988 “Oxford Companion to Wine” has won every accolade. This compendium includes almost 4000 entries, with 187 contributors providing background and context on their individual areas of expertise_ a massive and erudite reference.)

As a final note another formative book was Kermit Lynch’s 1988 “Adventures on the Wine Route” (updated in 2013). Advocating for the uniqueness and authenticity of more artisanal wine expressing the long traditions, terroir and singular winemaking of a close regional, familial context and heritage which reinforced my growing wine appreciation and proclivities.

Now there are thousands of new books addressing the most micro of topics and interests… happy reading.

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