‘Wine Bible’ a comprehensive guide

By on November 23, 2015
The Wine Bible.

Karen MacNeil’s second edition of “The Wine Bible” will be a great holiday gift for wine lovers.

When Karen MacNeil published her first Wine Bible some 15 years ago, it was an astonishing accomplishment, a book that was as complete as any published about wine.

It’s a decade-and-a-half later, and much about the wine world has changed. The Southern Hemisphere, China, the Old World, the New World and, of course, the Pacific Northwest.

So it makes perfect sense that MacNeil would publish her second edition, a completely revised version of The Wine Bible. The new edition, published in October, is a rich, fact-dense volume. Thumb to any spot in The Wine Bible, and you’ll find a section that is difficult to put down without reading in full.

One measurement of a book that claims to comprehensively cover the world of wine is how much information it provides about your own region. In the case of the Pacific Northwest, MacNeil condenses Washington and Oregon into a little over 20 pages, doing a masterful job of capturing the essence of the area. Idaho gets a brief mention, and British Columbia is wrapped into the section on Canada.

Highlights of ‘The Wine Bible’

Karen MacNeil is the author of "The Wine Bible."

Karen MacNeil is the author of “The Wine Bible.” (Courtesy of Lowell Downey)

The richness of The Wine Bible is the many features throughout, including:

  • The sections on Old World regions are extensive and complete. Read through these and you’ll be an expert (compared with most) about France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Austria.
  • The New World is one of the most exciting areas of wine right now, and The Wine Bible provides extensive coverage of such regions as the United States, Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Mexico.
  • Since the first Wine Bible came out 15 years ago, one of the biggest areas of growth has been Asia, particularly China. MacNeil takes a solid dive into such regions as China, India and Japan.
  • The section on “Mastering Wine” includes tips on the history of wine, how it is made, food pairing and how to taste like a professional.
  • The section on wine laws explains how the legal system works, particularly in the Old World. For example, Portugal began setting up its wine laws in the 1750s by outlining the boundaries of the Douro River Valley.
  • The 40-page glossary section is rich with information about wine terms, particularly from the Old World.

The Wine Bible is a great gift for wine lovers at any level. In fact, anyone who receives this on Christmas morning will likely have their nose in it long after the eggnog is gone.

  • The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil, $25. Published by Workman Publishing, 996 pages, paperback.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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