Wine Book Review: The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wine and Wineries

by Charles Olken and Joseph Furstenthal

Charles Olken - Joseph Furstenthal - The New Connoisseurs' Guidebook to California Wine and WineriesAmazon USAmazon UK
The New Connoisseurs’ Guidebook to California Wine & Wineries is a useful reference manual for anyone wanting general information about the Californian wine industry. The original book debuted over 30 years ago and had been updated periodically since then. This new version has Olken joining forces with Joseph Furstenthal to completely revamp the book into something more appropriate for this day and age when most information can be found on the internet.

The first part of the book is a lesson on the history of Californian wine, the grapes found there, and the AVA’s. While other wine books (Matt Kramer’s New California Wine for one) include poignant insights from the author, this book generally sticks to the facts leaving it rather dry for the subject matter. The bulk of the book gives practical information on hundreds of wineries in California including contact details, maps, and whether or not they provide tastings. Each write up on the specific wineries typically details the acreage and varietals planted followed by a brief overview of quality. However these read more like a laundry list of wines and points rather than a compelling picture of what one could discover.

As a quick reference book on California wineries this wine book meets expectations being encompassing and factual. But if you are looking for something with more personality we recommend trying Matt Kramer who can be polarizing, but definitely is passionate.

Wine Book Summary

Verdict Bunch ColorBunch ColorBunch BWBunch BWBunch BW 2 out of 5 bunches
Proficiency Wine Glass ColorWine Glass BWWine Glass BWWine Glass BWWine Glass BW 1 out of 5 glasses