the essential guide, take two

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Word has come in from Don McIlraith, the Special Sales Manager at UC Press, that pre-orders for the new edition of my book may be placed at any time. The book is expected to start shipping in mid-August, so the expectation is that it will be available for tasting room sales before the summer tourist season wraps up, and will lead into fall pre-holiday and holiday sales with plenty of time to spare.

Though it has been just three years since the original edition of this book was published, it is not at all too soon for this update. As I write in the new Preface, “A tidal wave of change has rolled over the Washington wine industry in just the past few years. Essentially, this is far more than a revised edition; it’s almost a whole new book. Washington State wines have made their entrance upon the world stage, and no longer need to stand shyly in the corner while some marquee player from California hogs the spotlight. Those who most closely follow developments in the wine world – bloggers, sommeliers, distributors, retailers, and even (gasp!) the press – have been keeping their eyes on the nation’s second-largest wine-producing state. And they like what they see.”

I don’t wish to bang on my own drum too loudly, but the first edition sold quite well and garnered excellent reviews from the Wine Spectator, the Wine Enthusiast, the Wine Advocate, the New York Times, Fine Wine, and many readers (search Gregutt at Amazon for those). In deciding to do this revised edition, I wanted to retain and to build upon the parts of the book that readers seemed to find most valuable – updated of course. So you’ll find that there are twice as many winery and vineyard entries as previously, and those that are repeats have all been completely updated. The chapter on grapes has been expanded also, reflecting the ongoing interest in exploring new varietals; and there are many more recommended winery entries under each grape listed.

I’ve dropped sections of the book that could not be revised or improved, so the only chapter that has not changed significantly is the opening chapter on history. Overall, this is a much larger, and far more comprehensive book than the first one.

In some respects the most difficult decision I faced was whether or not to keep the unique numerical rating system that I devised for the original book. It proved a bit of a puzzler for some readers and reviewers, and most distressingly, a turn-off for many of the wineries whose praises I thought I was singing. Well, live and learn. The numerical ratings are gone this time around. I’ve kept the same criteria, but in place of all the complicated numbers, I’ve substituted stars.

Once again every winery that is reviewed and included is one that, in my view, has either the track record or the potential to be better than just good enough. These are wineries (and vineyards) that excel in one or more ways. In addition, there are close to 200 newcomers who have debuted in the past three years, and the quality bar continues to be raised across the board. I have included many of them, because I want this new book to be as inclusive as possible, while retaining a critical perspective.

I will be happy to arrange book signings for your tasting room or wine shop, as many as time and travel allow. Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like any further background information. It goes without saying that with a regional wine book such as this, bookstore and online sales must be supplemented by tasting room/wine shop sales in order to reach our goals. I hope you will consider ordering a book for yourself, your tasting room, or your retail outlet, and I very much look forward to your comments.

To pre-order, be sure to specify that you want the new, revised, second edition. Your contact is Don McIlraith. His phone is 510-642-6685. Fax is 510-643-7127. E-mail is


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the second edition, Paul!

Anonymous said...

cool :-)

K. Pogue said...

Congrats Paul! Can't wait to see it!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the updated book Paul. Looking forward to getting my hands on it. Did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend on WA wine? Would really like to hear your thoughts on it.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Please, please consider an iPad or Kindle version. Presently the only electronic version available is in Adobe Digital Editions format which in not compatible with any of the portable reading devices. Bought the Adobe version before my last vineyard trip and found that I had to lug my laptop in addition to my iPad. Total waste, I could have just brought the hard copy of the book and saved $28 to boot. That said, great book, I really appreciate your work.

Hal K.

PaulG said...

Hal, I was not aware of this limitation. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I will see what the publisher has planned for this new book.

Andy Plymale said...

Congratulations, and great cover shot!

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