‘Wine Folly’ book a fun way to learn about wine

By on November 16, 2015
Wine Folly is all about infographics.

Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack use infographics to help their readers learn more about wine in their new book. (Photo courtesy of Wine Folly)

It’s easy to tell that the team at Wine Folly loves to share its knowledge about wine in a fun and understandable way.

These days, it’s easy to walk into a wine store or community college wine program in the Seattle area and find Wine Folly posters on the walls explaining a region of the wine world.

That’s why the first book by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack should be welcomed by all wine lovers – from experts to newbies. No matter how much you know about wine, you’ll undoubtedly learn something new from Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine.

The book, which came out in September, is an extension of the Wine Folly blog, a website that launched in 2011 and has quickly turned into an Internet phenomenon.

Puckette is a Seattle-based graphic designer and a self-described visual person. So when she began Wine Folly, she focused on educating with maps, statistics and graphics. Her posts still include plenty of words, but they don’t get in the way of the visuals.

Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine follows that same route.

Wine Folly book takes on essentials

Wine Folly's new book is out.

Wine Folly’s first book came out in September and is a bestseller on Amazon.com. (Photo courtesy of Wine Folly)

The book is broken down into three sections:

Fundamentals: This includes how to taste wine, how to handle wine and how to pair wine and food. Puckette, a certified sommelier, uses her knowledge to help her readers understand the fundamentals, showing how to read a wine label, explaining the differences between wine glass styles and revealing how to store wine.

Wine styles: In this section, Puckette and Hammack break wine into nine styles, including sparkling, rosé, light-, medium- and full-bodied and dessert wines. Want to know the difference between Cava, Champagne, Lambrusco and Prosecco? You’ll find it here. While not a comprehensive listing of all varieties, they do give plenty of space and information on more than 50 varieties and styles of wine.

Wine regions: With extensive uses of maps and charts, Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine dives into a dozen different wine-producing countries that range from the Old World (France, Italy, Germany, etc.) to the New World (Argentina, the United States, Chile, South Africa, etc.). Within each country’s section, the authors provide greater detail on sub-regions. So, for example, you’ll learn about France, but you’ll also go in-depth on Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley.

Perhaps only those studying for the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier will not learn something from reading Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine – it’s packed with that much information in a fun and approachable format.

If you’re looking for a wine book that will be comprehensive and information-dense, just search Amazon for “Jancis Robinson” or “Hugh Johnson.” If you’re looking for something that is as approachable as a ripe Zinfandel yet as complex as a Port, then Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine could just be the right book for you.

Better yet, order a half-dozen copies and call your Christmas shopping “done.”

  • Wine Folly: the Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, $25. Published by Avery/Penguin Random House, 230 pages, softback.

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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