I rarely buy wine books, anymore. I have many books that have filled my library over the years, and they have helped me immensely with studying and learning about the wine world. But, today there is ever-changing information, and there is also the internet. If I have a question then I know I can always search the answer out with a few clicks on my phone or laptop, and I will probably have the most direct and up-to-date information, instantly.
But, one of the few publications that I do buy with regularity is the yearly edition of Hugh Jonson's Pocket Guide to Wine. I have editions going back to the early 1990s, and I do reference these on a fairly routine basis. Mainly from a shopping and buying point of view. I might not really go by the specific wines that are recommended in the pages (not all wines are available in all markets) - although I sometimes do. But, at the very least I take inspiration from what is listed in the pages and will seek out similar products and producers.
What I do rely on and enjoy most, is the annual introduction and insights to the status of the wine world. The thoughts in this section each year really do bring added thoughts and perspectives to what is a vast and complicated industry, filled with many opinions and commentary. This book though, traditionally written by the man himself, gave a perspective that was not only based in a classic approach to the wine world, but also a longterm perspective. This is so important to me as the changes that have occurred and potentially might impact the current thoughts on production, consumer style, climate or any host of ideas and thoughts is so important to put on a continuum. Only someone with the stretch that Hugh Johnson has had can really pull that kind of commentary together in this way.
For the 2023 edition, though, we have the introduction written by Margaret Rand, who in her own right does not lack perspective or tenure in the wine community. An accomplished writer, she has taken the helm from Mr. Johnson, who is retired from the wine writing world, and carries on with great commentary. The thing that really pulls me to this particular book each year is that the writing is Euro-based. As an American longing for European wine style, I am often not able to really get thoughtful insights without buying expensive magazines, newsletters, or access to critic blogs. The pocket guide gives us an inexpensive option while also delivering great content on wine. Margaret Rand's introduction to the 2023 edition is focused on how wine styles are changing and why we cannot avoid it, but also why it is not necessarily a bad thing, sort of. Good read and useful thoughts.
So in my humble opinion, this is one of the best written and best value books to pick-up on an annual basis. It costs less than what many people will spend on a bottle of wine (especially if you get the Kindle version), but delivers a year's worth of bargains and pleasure.
Find this item on Amazon using this link:
The hardcover copy will be released on Oct 11, 2022 in the US market, but you can access the Kindle version immediately.
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2023: Number 1 Best-selling Wine Guide
by Margaret Rand
Octopus Publishing Group Ltd
I have not been paid by or have any affiliation with the publishers of this book, but if you buy products using the retailer link above, we may earn a commission from those orders (pennies really - but every bit helps!).
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With 30 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.